Unfortunately, there comes a time in every traveler’s life where you’re stuck with that long layover. Whether it’s because you booked the cheapest flight available or there’s no other way to make your flights work out, these layovers are a fact of living—for all that we may wish it otherwise. Instead of twiddling your thumbs on your next layover, here are some things to try instead:
Install the GateGuru App
If you’re hungry or you’re traveling with bored children or…well, there’s a lot of reasons why the GateGuru app can be useful to you. Airports know that you’re not going to be too happy when you have to pass the time on a long layover, and they also know that you’re less likely to be grumpy and obnoxious around the airport and on your flights if you’re a bit happier on your layover. You can use this app to find everything from restaurants to play areas to other fun activities in the airport.
Turn It Into a Mini-vacation
Rather than having a short stopover that you have to kill in the airport, if you’ve got some flexibility in your travel plans, why not schedule a longer layover that will allow you to get out and explore the city? Even if your layover is just for a day, you’ll be able to see something of the city and try some of the local food. Just make sure you have the appropriate visa (if necessary) and that you leave yourself enough time to get back through security!
Play a Game of Airport Bingo
Especially if you’re traveling with others, printing off some airport bingo sheets ahead of time can make passing time in the airport into a game. Your boxes can range from anything from “the parent who can’t control their child” to “someone who missed a flight.” Don’t have time to make up your own cards? There are plenty of free ones already floating around out there.
Chill Out With A Movie
These days, plenty of airports offer free WiFi access, but that won’t help you if you want to do certain things, such as access Netflix while you’re traveling abroad. The problem is, many sites are only accessible from your home country because of copyright restrictions and contract agreements. This can be annoying when you have one of those hours-long layovers and have nothing to do, but fortunately, you can get around these location restrictions. See, the way Netflix or another site knows where you are is by reading the location off your internet server. But a VPN will re-route all your information through a remote server, meaning you can trick the site into thinking that you’re actually located back home rather than in some foreign airport.
Get Into a VIP Lounge
If you’re traveling a lot, look into getting into one of the nicer parts of the airport. In the United States, you can get into the airport USO with your military ID or dependent ID card if you have one. Airlines also offer their own VIP lounges around the world. Although it may seem frivolous to pay for these, they often offer food, comfortable seating, book exchanges, and other perks that can make that long layover a lot more bearable. You could also book a room at the airport hotel, so you can catch up on some sleep during your layover.
Drink Plenty of Water
This may seem like a strange thing to put on this list, but you’ll actually notice a huge difference in how pleasant your air travel becomes (and how much easier managing jetlag becomes) if you really keep yourself hydrated. The problem is, airplanes and airports are naturally dehydrating to our bodies, so you actually need to drink more water when you’re traveling than you normally might. Not willing to shell out the $5 for a small bottle of water at the airport? Most times you can get away with carrying an empty bottle with you through security and then can fill that up at the water fountains located around the airport.
Although layovers generally aren’t the best part of a trip, it’s definitely possible to keep yourself occupied so that the time flies by.
Travelers, what’s the worst layover you’ve ever had to deal with? How did you cope? Tell us your tales below!
About the author: Jess Signet has been traveling from a young age and loves to explore the world. Currently on a quick break from her travels, she is hoping to hit the road again soon. You can keep up with Jess on Twitter at @JessTravels
Clay: Hey guys, today we have a special treat on the blog and you’ll be able to escape from my voice for a post. Please welcome John Sykes who writes for Citystay UK as he points out some tempting reasons to visit Cambridge, England. Enter John.
Steeped in history and tradition, Cambridge boasts a myriad of world-class attractions to choose from. Here are ten of our favourites:
1. University of Cambridge
No mention of Cambridge could be made without including its famous university. It may be a prestigious place of learning but many of Cambridge University’s colleges, which each have their own architectural style and quirky customs, welcome visitors. Trinity College is one of Cambridge’s biggest and most attractive, having been established in 1546 by Henry VIII, while St John’s College is the alma mater of six prime ministers and three saints.
2. Famous pubs.
The Eagle is Cambridge’s most well-known pub, having been the watering hole of choice for many a renowned academic, including Nobel Prize-winning scientists Crick and Watson, credited with discovering DNA. Or try the Granta, which sits in a pretty setting, with a terrace overhanging a mill pond. Fort St George, next to the River Cam is the ideal summertime pub and recently hosted royal visitors the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge while St Radegund may be the city’s smallest pub but it has an impressive selection of real ales that belies its size.
As befits such an esteemed university city, Cambridge is home to some of the globe’s best museums. Fitzwilliam Museum, known locally simply as the Fitz, is a mammoth neoclassical pile which houses priceless treasures, artwork and antiquities spanning centuries and civilisations. The Scott Polar Research Institute has an excellent museum charting the adventures of Amundsen, Nansen and Scott himself.
4. Strawberry Fair
Taking place every June, the Strawberry Fair is a Cambridge institution. Run entirely by volunteers affectionately known as the Strawberry Fairies, it is the most popular free music and arts event in Cambridge. Held on Midsummer Common, the Strawberry Fair is a family-friendly feast for music lovers of all ages.
No trip to Cambridge could be complete without punting along the River Cam – it’s like visiting Venice without enjoying a gondola ride. There are lots of companies offering guided tours or self hire punts, including Let’s Go Punting which offers a chauffeur service or, if you prefer to be captain of your own boat, Scudamores gives you instruction in the art of punting before letting you loose on the College Backs or the Upper River. From here, you’ll see unparalleled views of the colleges, gardens and parklands that butt up against the river.
6. The Orchard Tea Garden Grantchester
For relaxation, The Orchard just can’t be beaten. Time seems to stand still in this genteel setting as the rest of the world rushes by. Planted in 1868, the orchard became a tea room by accident when a group of students asked if they could take tea in its picturesque grounds. Now more famous people have taken tea here than anywhere else in the world, including Rupert Brooke, best known for his poem The Soldier, who lodged at Orchard House in the early 20th century.
Whatever time of year you visit, you’ll find something happening in Cambridge. At the beginning of September is the colourful Dragon Boat Festival, with racing every 10 minutes whereas later in the month, movie buffs are in for a treat with the Cambridge Film Festival, launched in 1977. In October, the Octoberfest Beer Festival emulates the famous Munich Beer Festival on a smaller scale.
8. Fine dining
Cambridge has a growing reputation for the quality of its cuisine. Named the best restaurant in the East of England by The Sunday Times, Midsummer House is the only establishment to boat two Michelin stars in East Anglia. Head chef Daniel Clifford cooks up a choice of tasting menus that make the most of scrumptious local produce. Alimentum has one Michelin star and is known for seasonally-dictated menu and slow cooking techniques.
9. Historical attractions
With evidence of settlements in Cambridge from pre Roman times, it’s no wonder there is so much history to soak up. Wonder around its narrow cobbled streets and you’ll spot medieval buildings aplenty. Or take a tour of Cambridge’s churches. St Bene’t’s tower is the oldest building in the county while The Round Church is one of only five surviving round churches in the country and The Leper Chapel is one of England’s finest examples of Norman Architecture.
Shopaholics will truly be spoilt for choice in the city. Because it’s so compact, you can easily indulge in a spot of retail therapy without any danger of sore feet. Stroll around the cobbled Market Square, where you’ll find everything from artisan cheese to vintage clothing. Try Rose Crescent, Trinity Street, Magdalene Street, Bridge Street and King Street for independent boutiques offering unique buys. Every Saturday, the All Saints Garden Art and Craft Market sets up stall opposite Trinity College while Mill road has a more bohemian vibe with a diverse range of unique shops, restaurants and cafés.
Clay: I would like to thank John for being so gracious to reach out to me via email and ask to write an article on Cambridge for our site. So thanks John!
Today we have this websites first ever guest post contributor and i’m lucky to have such an awesome person to claim that title. Elena from Elena’s Travelgram will be taking us through how to travel through France on a budget to save a boat load of money so we can spend what we save on delicious wine and cheese! Please be sure to check out her website for tips, advice, city guides and more! Enter Elena.
France – the gorgeous land of Art, cheese, wine, insanely narrow crooked lanes and stylish ladies walking down the streets in a beret with a baguette.
Bet at least once in your life you had thoughts about visiting Paris. Quoting endlessly chic Audrey Hepburn “Paris is always a good idea”…till you see the average hotel price tag and the cost of going up the Eiffel tower. (more…)