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