Layovers at airports can be a source of dread for many travelers. Whether you’re stuck for six hours at LaGuardia or a full day at Heathrow, airports can be uncomfortable, boring and, at times, a bit overwhelming. But, with a little bit of planning, an airport layover can be an enjoyable experience. This blog is designed to help you understand, prepare for and make the most out of your next layover.
Understanding Airport Layovers
A layover is a pause between flights that occurs when a traveler has to switch planes to reach a destination. It can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the connecting flight. Generally, layovers longer than six hours are considered long layovers, while those under six hours are considered short layovers.
The time between flights is often spent in the airport, but some airlines offer the option of leaving the airport and exploring the area. This is referred to as an “extended layover” or “stopover.” For example, if you are flying from New York to Paris, you could choose to spend a few days in London on your layover.
Preparing for Your Layover
The best way to make the most out of your layover is to plan ahead. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
- Check for airport amenities: Look for a list of amenities at the airport before you arrive. Knowing what services and shops are available will help you plan what to do during your layover.
- Pack snacks: Airport food can be expensive, and long lines can be inconvenient. Packing snacks will help you stay energized and save money.
- Bring entertainment: Bring along a book, magazine, or electronic device to help you pass the time.
- Check for layover deals: Many airlines offer discounts and special offers for layover passengers. Check your airline’s website for deals.
Making the Most Out of Your Time in the Airport
Once you have arrived at the airport, it’s time to make the most out of your layover. Here are a few ideas:
- Take a tour: Many airports offer guided tours of the facility. This is a great way to learn more about the airport and get a better understanding of how it works.
- Relax: Take some time to relax and recharge. Many airports have massage chairs, yoga studios and spas.
- Explore: Take a walk around the airport and explore. You never know what you might find!
- Shop: If you’re looking for souvenirs or gifts, airports are a great place to shop.
Benefits of an Airport Layover
Layovers can be a great opportunity to explore a new city or take a short break from a long journey. Here are a few of the benefits of an airport layover:
- Explore new cities: One of the biggest benefits of an extended layover is the opportunity to explore a new city. Whether you’re looking to sightsee or just relax, this can be a great way to break up a long journey.
- Save money: Layovers can be a great way to save money. Many airlines offer discounts for layover passengers, and you can often find cheaper hotels in the city.
- Rest: If you’re feeling tired, a layover can be a great time to get some rest. Many airports have comfortable seating areas and quiet spaces where you can relax.
Staying Entertained During a Layover
When you’re stuck in an airport, keeping yourself entertained can be a challenge. Here are a few ideas for staying entertained during a layover:
- People watch: Looking around an airport can be an entertaining pastime. People watching can help you pass the time and you never know what interesting stories you might find.
- Get creative: Take out a sketchbook or notebook and get creative. Drawing, writing, or playing around with photography can be a great way to stay entertained.
- Check out the airport art: Many airports have art galleries and exhibitions that are worth exploring.
Layovers can be a dreaded part of air travel, but they don’t have to be. With a little bit of planning and preparation, an airport layover can be an enjoyable experience. By understanding the different types of layovers, preparing for your layover, and making the most out of your time in the airport, you can make the most out of your next layover.