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What to do on your next layover: 8 ways to make the most of it!

  • Things To Do
  • Renee Martin
  • 6 minutes

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Layovers – the dreaded “L” word of air travel. Whether you’re on your way to your dream vacation or hurrying to a work meeting, layovers can be a real drag on your travel plans. While some travelers may not mind a long layover between flights, for many others, it’s only marginally more enjoyable than getting a root canal!

That’s perhaps why most people are willing to spend extra on a direct flight despite connecting flights being a great way to save money. Airlines usually have low prices for flights with long layovers, making it easy to snag bargain prices. You can’t really avoid layovers from and to certain destinations, especially now with airlines canceling flights quite often. You will need to catch a connecting flight at some point en-route to your final destination. Since there’s no way we can totally avoid layovers, the best thing would be to find ways to enjoy them. Here are some ideas on what to do during a layover. If you’re wondering what to do on your next layover, try these ideas to make the most of your time.

Explore the airport

explore airport

Knowing where to go in the airport is the first thing you need to find out when you land at the airport, where you’ll be spending a few hours. Waling around and exploring the airport will help you figure out where you want to spend more time, what the must-dos are, and what can be avoided. Some airports have artworks, galleries, and even museums you can potter around. If you’re in luck, you may find a local band putting on a live performance for travelers. So, wander around the airport and see what your options are. It’ll help you stretch those jet-lagged muscles and burn some calories too!

Tour the city you’re in

Explore your city

Did you know that some airports offer free city tours? These include Changi Airport in Singapore, Salt Lake City in Utah, Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Narita International Airport in Japan, and Hamad International Airport in Qatar. So, if you’re in for a longish layover, you might want to step out of the airport and explore your surroundings. That is, of course, only if you’re allowed to leave the airport. If you plan to do some sightseeing, make sure that you keep your carry-on light and easy to haul around – backpacks would be ideal. If you plan to visit a popular tourist attraction or restaurant, be sure to make your reservations in advance to avoid wasting extra time.

Settle down for a snooze

airport sleeping

Here’s what to do during a layover without expending your energy. Find a cozy nook and catch some Z’s, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t find it easy to sleep on flights. Several airports have designated sleeping sections with super comfy lounge chairs. If you’re okay with spending a few dollars, you can buy a day pass to an airport lounge or a pay-per-use lounge. These lounges will allow travelers in, regardless of airline or class of ticket – for a relatively small fee. If you’re willing to shell out some more money, you can go even a step further and get a room! Check into an airport hotel, take a warm shower, and tuck yourself in for a nice nap. Most airport hotels charge by the hour or half-day, making them a remarkably economical option to decompress. You snooze, but you don’t lose in this case!

Eat your way across the airport

airport food

Airport food doesn’t exactly have a glorious reputation, and yes, the bad rep was well-deserved with exorbitant prices, and below-average food. Things have changed quite a bit over the past few years, and now sampling food is one of the more pleasurable things to do at the airport. With celebrity chefs like Rick Bayless, Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay, and Cat Cora setting up shop in airports across the world, there are several high-quality airport restaurants worth splurging on. Another thing that you can do is seek out the local cuisine and regional specialties inside the airport. After all, food is one of the best ways you can experience a taste of the city you’re in. If you don’t want to spend too much on food, then there’s always the old favorites – Starbucks, Dunkin’, and McDonald’s.

Soothe your soul

airport yoga

Several airports now offer meditation rooms and yoga rooms where you can take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the. Give yourself a few minutes of quiet downtime, or stretch and unwind. Another way to soothe your soul is to find a prayer room or an inter-faith chapel. While you may not be completely alone in a prayer room, the other people there would also be looking for some peace and quiet. So, try to be respectful by keeping conversations to a minimum, and your phone silent.

Pamper yourself

airport spa


Traveling can be stressful, so use your layover time to treat yourself to some spa services. Airport spas offer everything from manicures to hairstyling! Unwind with a head and shoulder massage, or choose to soothe your feet with a pedicure. Some airport spas even offer specialty services like acupressure, acupuncture, body wraps, and customized facial treatments. If you want to reach your destination looking and feeling good, head to the nearest airport spa.

Hit the duty-free shops

duty free shopping

Keep your eyes open for discounts and sales. This may come as a surprise, but some duty-free shops do offer bargains on designer brands. Do some research beforehand to find out which brands are at the airport you’re flying from. The airport website will usually have details so you can plan ahead. Free samples are another reason why you’d want to check out the duty-free shops. Treat yourself to samples of all the fancy cosmetics and lotions. If you’re lucky, you might even get to try some local chocolates or ice cream for free!

Find yourself a four-legged friend

Find yourself a four-legged friend

Several airports have therapy animals who walk around the airport to help travelers feel at ease before their flight. You could end up meeting a pig named LiLou at San Francisco Airport, a cat named Xeli at Denver International Airport, and even mini therapy horses at the Cincinnati Airport! So, keep an eye out for these adorable animals as they crisscross the airport. They’re on a mission to bring smiles and delight to passengers.

What to do during your next layover

We hope our list of things to do at the airport will help make your next layover a lot easier and, dare we say it, even fun! So, go ahead and book a cheap flight or buy tickets to a faraway destination. You’ve got a whole lot of things to do during a layover!

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