Traveling can be a tiring experience, and a layover is the last thing you need to deal with during your daunting journey. But no worries, with a few hours to kill, layovers can turn out to be a much needed productive time spent between your flights. Here are 15 things to do during a layover.
1. Freshen up
If you just got off a tedious 12-hour flight only to mentally prepare yourself for another six-hour flight in a few hours, using your free time is the perfect opportunity to refresh yourself. Many airport restrooms have showers installed for your needs, so why not take a nice hot shower? Bring travel-size shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and whatever products you need in your carry-on. You’ll feel and look fresher as you hop on that second plane.
2. Strike up a conversation
Introverts need not apply. But if you find yourself bored and feeling social, head over to the airport’s bar and chat with other people waiting for their flights. An airport is a fantastic opportunity to meet people of interesting backgrounds from around the world. And who knows? You might make a lasting friendship.
3. Clean out your purse
For ladies (or guys with a man-purse) this is for you. You know how you’ve always told yourself you’d clean out your cluttered bag but never got around to it? A layover would be the opportunity to systematically go through every old crumpled receipt, gum wrapper and dried-out pen to dispose of the ones you no longer need. After this, you’ll feel productive and much more organized.
4. People watching
Again, the airport is a fantastic opportunity to see an incredible assortment of people from all over the world. You’ll hear people speaking different languages and you can study their clothes, mannerisms and appearances. You can figuratively watch the world walk by you.
Often times you’ll feel cramped after your first flight. Use the layover time as a perfect opportunity to stretch your muscles. Go for a walk around the airport or find a quiet waiting area without many people around and do some routine work out like push ups, sit ups and lunges.
6. Research your airport’s entertainment options
If you brought your laptop or tablet in your carry-on, you can look up what your airport offers for entertainment. Many airports have special perks such as arcades, casinos, museums, or botanical gardens. You’d be surprised at what the airport you’re inconveniently stuck in can offer.
7. Watch a movie
If you’re still feeling sluggish and not in the mood to be active, you can watch a movie as an alternative with a laptop or tablet. Watch films from Netflix (if you have a subscription) or bring a DVD. You can finally get around to seeing that amazing Michael Bay film that everyone has been talking about.
Whether you’re on a business trip or a student visiting family, you can use this spare time as an advantage to catch up on menial tasks, finish up your homework or go over your business notes. You’ll be glad you took care of this earlier and enjoy that extra time at your destination that would’ve normally be spent working.
9. Go sightseeing
This depends on your airport and how long your layover is. Check with your airport to see if they offer any access to tour buses to show you around the city. Many airports allow people during layover to leave the premise for a few hours to check out local sights.
Usually larger airports in large cities will offer a plethora of top notch dining experiences. Don’t buy that three-days-old sandwich from the vending machine, instead, research your restaurant options and find an interesting place to dine. So try something new, if you’re at a Vietnam airport, try some pho, or if you’re in the airport in Berlin, why not try some currywurst?
11. Go shopping
You don’t necessarily need to spend money to shop, but this is a chance to browse stores. Most airports offer a wide selection of shops with interesting goods. Try out that massage chair at Brookstone, skim through magazines at the bookstore, or shake that hokey snow globe at the cheesy souvenir shop.
Yes, sleep can be a productive alternative. For some people, sleeping in a cramped up plane is difficult to maintain. Most seats don’t go back far enough, there is no place to rest your head sideways, or your neighbor won’t stop talking to you, leaving you little opportunity to sleep. Don’t arrive to your destination sleep deprived with red splotchy eyes. Find a quiet comfy area, lay down across three seats or a comfortable armchair and get that much needed sleep. But be sure to set an alarm on your phone so you don’t miss your flight.
13. Balance your checkbook
If you’re not a student or on a business trip, you can still use your spare time to do something productive. Balance out that checkbook you’ve been needing to do for awhile, pay your bills, or clean up your inbox and computer files. You’ll appreciate feeling much more organized and have less stress when you reach your destination.
Bring a book or a kindle with you. The trick is– bring a real page turner. Go for your favorite author whose other books had you staying up late clinging onto every word. Don’t bring a mediocre book that you know will not hold your attention for long. Long flights and layovers will be the perfect opportunity to read an entire book in almost one sitting uninterrupted, a precious block of time few of us have anymore.
15. Get creative
Richard Dunn was once stuck in a layover at a Las Vegas airport. Bored out of his mind, he decided he was going to get creative during his time by making an amateur music video with his phone that eventually went viral. Get creative, make a video, draw something, play an instrument, or write a short story.