Updated November 28, 2016
While we’re big fans of stopovers to add value to your trip, we’ve also been known to make the most of a long layover to catch up on our sleep, take a quick tour, or even get some work done using reliable wifi. Read on for seven of our favorite things to do between flights:
If you’re tired on a long layover en route to a different time zone, one of the best ways to pass the time is to catch up on your sleep. For more comfortable napping, one option is booking a stay at an airport hotel. Another that’s rapidly becoming more widely available is the airport sleeping pods popping up in airports around the world.
Or if you’d rather not invest any of your travel budget in a few hours of rest, there’s a website called Sleeping at Airports that has tips on where to sleep in airports. Their top picks? Singapore and Seoul. The worst? Paris and JFK.
2. Take a city tour
If you have a half-day or more why not take the opportunity to get out there and tour the city? Information booths can give you the lowdown on what’s available departing from the airport or how to get to the city center using public transit. Some airports even offer a half-day tour for free (Singapore).
Here’s a list of places where travelers can have an excellent layover or stopover experience.
Be careful to make sure you have your paperwork in order as some countries will require you to have a visa to exit the airport. Double check with your local visa service if you have a long layover on your itinerary and want to leave the airport to explore
3. Take in Airport Art Galleries
Many airports have spaces set aside for art. Find the airport map or search the airport’s website to see if yours has one to check out.
4. Make the Most of Free Wi-Fi
An increasing number of major airports offer free Wi-Fi service throughout their terminals, so you can stream video, read your favorite blogs, or even get some work done while you wait for your next flight.
5. Go Window-Shopping
International airports have a wealth of first-class shopping for travelers. As long as you stick to browsing and not buying, this is 100% free entertainment.
Some of the best world airports for window-shopping:
- Hong Kong: the Airport Skymart has lots on offer
- Dubai: never closes!
- Singapore: 160 shops
- Paris: pick up one last handbag before you leave
- London Heathrow (terminal 5)
6. Make friends
The airport’s a great place to meet fellow travelers. Why not talk to a stranger to pass the time? You may end up making a real connection with someone you never would’ve met if you hadn’t struck up a conversation in the airport.
It’s an amazing way to recharge your batteries in between flights and let go of any travel nerves.
Some airports have meditation or prayer rooms expressly for this purpose but if the airport you’re in doesn’t find yourself a secluded spot, (empty gates work well). Then sit up straight in a chair or crosslegged on the floor, – whatever feels most comfortable to you – and put your hands in your lap, close your eyes and empty your mind. Do this by concentrating on your breathing, in and out.
After 5 or 10 minutes you’ll feel much better than you did before you started. Here’s a great how-to on meditation and some information about its benefits.