If you’re a frequent traveler, learning how to make the most of your layover is an essential skill – downtime, connections, and waits are all part of the vacation or business trip experience. Sometimes layovers are planned (when you get a discount price or tickets) and sometimes they come as a surprise to us (a missed connection or reroute no one saw coming), but nothing’s stopping you from turning them into opportunities to explore and have fun. Here are several expert hints and on how to get more out of potential downtime, and how to make the most of your layover.
Pick the Right Destination
You’re probably saving a pretty penny by choosing a flight with a layover, so why not try to at least pick a layover destination where you’ll enjoy being stuck? Make the most of your time by planning to spend downtime in an interesting city where you can check out award-winning local restaurants or hit up some signature stores and collect one of a kind souvenirs. Just don’t forget to leave yourself some time to make it back to the airport for your next flight.
Get Your Grub On
Yes, the point of accepting a connecting flight and dealing with a layover is to save money, but if you’re going to sit around twiddling your thumbs for a few hours, you might as well treat yourself to a delicious and filling meal. Airport cuisine isn’t typically known for its quality, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat like a king – many terminals at major cities now offer high-end restaurants and fine dining establishments to frequent. A little up-front research online can help you locate great spots to eat.
Allow Room for Rest
If you’re traveling for work or going on vacation, make sure you allow yourself time to grab a little extra rest and relaxation. You can even rent a room or AirBNB nearby to get some peace and quiet. Sometimes, overnighting at a destination can save you a considerable amount of cash (especially if you pair a couple of value-priced one-way flights) and give you some much-needed downtime while on the road.
Nothing is better than curling up with a good book — even if you’re curling up in an airport and digging in (don’t think of it as a layover at all, but an opportunity). Save a book you’ve been dying to read for this moment, or grab something fascinating off Amazon or iTunes on-demand to make the most of your layover. Grab a snack, find a quiet area (hint: lounges make a great pitstop), and start turning pages.
Explore Your Environment
Why not have a little adventure at an airport you’ve never visited before? Oftentimes, a brief walk through different terminals will help you discover art exhibits, arcades, massage stations, gardens, restaurants, play areas for children and more. You can kill a decent chunk of time just exploring any given airport’s various amenities.
Many airport kiosks and storefronts for shopping. Why not take the time to check out all their wares? Some even offer premium shopping outlets to browse and buy high-end clothes and accessories at. You don’t even have to spend money to have fun: Sometimes, window-shopping can be just as fun as breaking out your credit card, and help you burn hours of time rather than sitting around bored.
Don’t let downtime kill your wandering spirit. Learn more about how to make the most of your layover.
Suzanne is a journalist in Queens, New York. She’s interned at Rolling Stone, NBC local media, Mashable and the Queens Chronicle. Though she’s from upstate New York, she considers herself a Queens girl. If she’s not writing or editing, she’s probably scrolling through goat Instagrams.