9 Things to Do During Your Airport Layover

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Ugh, airport layovers.

There’s nothing worse than adding a few more hours to your already long travel day.

And while we try to avoid them at all costs, sometimes they’re inevitable.

So if you get stuck with a long airport layover, do one of the following nine activities to keep yourself preoccupied….

Airport Layover Activities

1. Eat and Drink

Airplane food is horrible.

But restaurants in an airport are a different story. Airports now have an increasing diversity of restaurants and bars.

From kid-friendly to vegan to wine tasting, you can find almost any to please your palate and save you from the food on your flight later.

Check your airport’s website in advance to see what is available and what terminal they’re in.

2. Sleep and Shower

If you’re anything like me, sleeping on airplanes is impossible.  And don’t even get me started on how unsanitary planes and airports can be.

So why not take advantage of that five-hour layover and sleep or shower?

Fortunately, many airports now offer sleeping rooms and/or showers that you can pay for hourly.

The Tokyo International Airport has special sleeping chairs in quiet areas. If your airport doesn’t have sleeping quarters, find a gate that isn’t being used and stretch out over a few seats.

3. Relax

Travel is stressful.  From hauling your luggage around, navigating unfamiliar places, to adjusting to the new time zone, travel is the perfect recipe for stress.

So if you have a layover, why not take some me time to relax?

Major airports such as Los Angeles International, Frankfurt, and Shanghai have salons for everything from manicures to haircuts to massages.

If an airport manicure isn’t your style, try the quiet lounges where you can relax away from all the hustle and bustle of the airport until it’s time for your next flight.

4. Find Some Entertainment

Entertainment at the airport.

Impossible, right?

Wrong… Airports like San Francisco International and Frankfurt International Airports have art exhibits, museums, and even tours available to fill the hours of your layover.

Art, not your thing?

Incheon Airport in Seoul has an ice rink and golf driving range.

Want to just catch up on your Hulu queue instead? Internet is common to almost all airports, though you may have to pay a fee for access.

5. Leave the Airport

Is your layover in close proximity to a major city?

Take advantage of the left luggage counter or lockers and explore the city for a few hours. Information desk clerks can help you figure out an activity to do during the hours of your layover using public transportation.

Changi Airport in Singapore offers free tours of the city, check your airport’s website for similar offers.

Just don’t forget your ID and boarding pass. You’ll need those to go back through security.

6. Shop

While you may not think of shopping at an airport, you might be surprised by what’s available.

Forget that scarf you wanted for your business meeting in Paris? Why not pick one up at the Guess store in Newark Airport?

Even if you don’t need something, window shopping can keep your mind off travel and kill a few hours.  Not to mention give you a chance to stretch your legs before your next flight.

Each airport has its own selection of shops and you never know when you might find something special to remind you of your travels!

7. Work

Layovers provide time to catch up on some last-minute work – or to get a head start.

If you aren’t already a member of an airline club, you can purchase a day pass for around $50, with some discounts available if you buy in advance online or multiple passes.

These airport lounges are noticeably quieter, have internet access that comes with your day pass, and offer complimentary snacks and beverages. Not to mention cleaner bathrooms and reservation assistants in case you have an issue with your flight!

What’s not to love?

8. Admire

I confess….

Sometimes when I’m traveling and I don’t feel like doing anything, I enjoy the simple pleasure of people watching.

Watching people pass by and wondering where they’re going and where they’ve been is very entertaining.

I also enjoy watching the planes take off and land- even better is it’s a free activity and entertaining for all ages. All you need to do is find a good view of the runways, sit back, and watch.

9. Work Out

Travel can disrupt our habits, including our workouts. Take advantage of your layover and do a modified workout.

Need to stretch and destress?

Try a yoga room, like the one at San Francisco International Airport, or even just an empty area by an unused gate.  If you’re willing to pay a fee, try fitness centers or health clubs like those in Vancouver and Chicago O’Hare Airports.

Not into yoga and don’t want to pay a fee?

Walking around is a great way to stretch your legs, see the airport, and you can even use your carry-on as weights.

Airport layovers don’t have to be miserable. From getting a massage to shopping to catching up on work or sleep, your next airport layover can be whatever you’d like it to be.

Check your airport’s website in advance to see what kind of services they offer. You might be surprised by what you can do!