Elizabeth is an experienced traveler and writer with bylines in several popular travel publications. She currently co-owns a small digital travel publication and spends her free time writing, taking photos, and traveling.
Few things are more annoying than booking the trip of your dreams only to realize you have a long layover between connecting flights.
While typically annoying and exhausting, there are ways you can turn those idle hours into epic adventures. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to help you turn layover limbo into an exhilarating escapade.
Explore Nearby Attractions
Don’t let a long layover confine you to airport walls. Check if your stopover city offers some attractions nearby and venture out for some quick sightseeing. Snap selfies in front of iconic landmarks, explore quirky neighborhoods, and make the most of every moment on the ground. Most airports offer luggage storage you can use to store your carry-on bags while you venture outside.
Feast on Local Delights
Why settle for airport snacks when you can embark on a culinary adventure? Savor the flavors of your layover destination by sampling local delicacies. Head to nearby restaurants or food markets to taste mouthwatering dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Who knows — you might discover your new favorite food.
Create an Airport Challenge
Who says layovers can’t be fun? Turn your wait time into an exhilarating game by organizing an airport challenge with fellow travelers or others in your group. From fun card games (pack a deck of UNO cards) to terminal trivia, these games will keep everyone entertained and forge unforgettable bonds before the adventure even starts.
Unleash Your Inner Shopaholic
Indulge in some retail therapy during your long layover. Explore duty-free shopping or browse the airport’s boutiques for unique souvenirs and fashion finds. Treat yourself to something special, and those layover blues will be a distant memory.
Indulge in Airport Lounge Luxuries
Escape the hustle and bustle of the airport by gaining access to an exclusive airport lounge. Pamper yourself with complimentary snacks and beverages, sink into plush seating, and take advantage of the provided amenities. At lounges, it’s easy to enjoy the luxurious side of travel — even during a layover.
Embark on a Photo Safari
Capture memories and showcase your creativity with a layover photo safari. Discover hidden corners within the airport or venture into the city for stunning backdrops. If you’re traveling with kids, you can create a photo safari checklist before your trip and turn it into a scavenger hunt to pass the time.
Find Your Zen
Long layovers can leave you feeling restless and stiff. Seek out airport yoga rooms or meditation areas to stretch, relax, and find your inner zen. These tranquil spaces will help you maintain your serenity amidst the travel chaos.
Discover Local Culture
Immerse yourself in the layover city’s culture and heritage. Visit museums, art galleries, or attend local events to get a taste of the city’s soul. Most cities offer day trip tours these days, with some lasting only a few hours. If your layover is really long, you’ll have plenty of time to head out for a walking tour, bicycle tour, or foodie feast.
Take a Shower
Most larger international airports these days have showers you can use for free. This includes airports in cities like Istanbul and Melbourne (which we’ve personally tried ourselves and can recommend). If the airport doesn’t have public showers available, it might be worth treating yourself to a day pass at an airport lounge to enjoy a hot shower, a quick nap, and some drinks.
Plan Your Next Trip
Use your layover downtime wisely by planning your next adventure. Research dream destinations, create itineraries, and let your wanderlust guide you to your next incredible journey. If you’re not sure where to go next, ask other travelers waiting to board their flights, too!
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