Encountering a lengthy layover at the airport is inevitable—we all experience it at some point in time. So next time you find yourself with an extended period of free time between flights, here are a few ways you can use it to your advantage:
Take time to dine. A typical airport meal is rarely relaxing. Most of the time we’re grabbing fast food to bring to the gate or onto the plane. So having time to actually sit down at a restaurant and not be can be a nice change of pace. If there aren’t good options for a sit-down restaurant at your layover airport—and you don’t mind going back through security—check out the surrounding airport hotels for restaurants and take their shuttle over for dinner.
Play catch-up. Take advantage of your extra time by catching up with family and friends—make phone calls, write a few emails, or see what’s happening on social media. Most airports now offer WiFi for easy connectivity during your time there.
Explore. If time allows, grab a cab or a bus to explore the city. Check out the classic landmarks or discover the locals’ favorite spots. Make sure you allow plenty of time to get back, considering traffic, security lines and the walk to your gate. Planned accordingly, exploring the city could be much more fun than waiting around at the airport! (If you’re in an international city, don’t forget to check if a transit visa is required.)
Grab some Zzz’s. Many common layover airports offer transit hotels. Instead of trying to get some rest on the dreaded airport chair, check into a short-term room at a transit hotel. These are a great place to rest, freshen up and catch some sleep. Transit hotels are usually inside the terminal and a contain bed and shower. The rooms can be rented hourly for the duration of your layover. Click here to see a list CNN put together of transit hotels around the world.
Indulge in a lounge pass. If your layover is too short to justify a transit hotel but long enough to dread sitting in the general areas, consider purchasing a day pass to your airline’s lounge. Generally a one-day pass runs about $50, depending on their airline. By accessing the lounge, you can avoid the busy airport terminals and wait for your flight in comfort. Light snacks, beverages, WiFi, televisions and personal flight assistance are typical services offered in lounges.