Layovers can be the absolute worst part about a trip. A flight can be a fun time, and you get to sit down knowing you’re going to get to your destination soon enough. A positive outlook can turn other travel problems into adventures and stories to tell later. A layover is just waiting around for something to happen, and there is nothing you can do to make anything else happen. You can get through it though, and even have a good time doing so. Here are a few ways to get through that long airport layover you’ve been dreading:
Netflix and Chill
A long time to wait isn’t an issue if you can manage to lose track of time. If you sit down with a good video subscription service and have a miniseries lined up ready and raring to go your layover will fly by as fast as you can say “I need to charge my phone.” Alternatively you could sit down with a good book or listen to a discography of your favorite artist. Just something that you can use to take yourself out of time until an alarm tells you it’s time to board.
Note that if you are outside the country you may need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access your favorite shows on Netflix. A VPN is a service that will connect you to an offsite secure server using an encrypted connection, allowing you to bypass regional restrictions and government censorship you might encounter when all you want to do is relax. To be perfectly honest, you should have one anyway due to the dangers of public networks you will encounter in airports and while traveling.
Online Searches and Maps
Sometimes German McDonalds doesn’t cut it for meals, and you need something a little more satisfying than the cheap salad and questionable sandwich you can get at the stand near your terminal. Unless you are at a preposterously small airport, you certainly have better options and they don’t have to cost you an arm and two legs (the extra leg is the airport markup). This is where it is a good idea to search online and check the maps of the immediate area. There are apps like GateGuru which are great with this and the airport website will often prove just as effective.
Businesses want you to spend money at their airport establishments. It’s your job to figure out how you’re going to survive. These types of apps and websites will often have menus right there so you can compare, and it’s rarely taken me more than 15 minutes to get from the app to a decision to a meal. Of course, you can use the same strategy for more than just food. Just type in what you want and you’ll be good to go.
Don’t Be Afraid to Explore
Related to looking for the best possible options while at your particular airport is the fact that many airports are huge places that are small cities in themselves. If you aren’t weighed down much you should absolutely explore the area and see if there are any restaurants and attractions that are worth your time. Walking around is a fantastic way to stretch your legs between flights and get that bit of exercise you’d otherwise miss. It’s also a good way to keep yourself awake if you’re afraid of missing your flight.
If you don’t know where to look, ask somebody or take a stop at a help desk. They’ll be happy to point you in an entertaining direction. If you have a long layover don’t be afraid to explore the other terminals even if they’re fifteen minutes away on a rail. It probably will beat sitting around waiting for your flight to come in.
Take Shifts if You Can
Traveling with a partner has many advantages when you are dealing with airport layovers. One of you can sleep while the other watches Netflix or reads a book about an adventure occurring in an airport somewhere across the world. Seats and benches at airports have gotten more comfortable, and this is a reasonable thing to do if you’re a small family or a couple who has six hours to kill. You don’t even have to pay full attention to everyone’s luggage if you put your foot through the straps or step down on it as you sit back and watch your favorite movie.
The same goes for restroom breaks and finding dinner, as it’s difficult to carry around all of your luggage if all you want is a drink. You don’t need to make everything a team sport, and the division of labor has been a smart idea since its inception. If you don’t have a partner, then try to get all of your airport chores and tasks done at once so you can spend most of your time resting.
Layovers can be stressful at times, but they are nothing to truly concern yourself with a little preparation. Knowing that you might be in for the long hall, just prepare a camping spot and try to keep your mind off of things. Have you thought of some things you can do during your layover? Take some time to write out a list and you’ll be looking forward to it in no time at all.