7 Tips for Handling Layovers

If you’re like most people, when booking airfare, you immediately check for nonstop flights first. But, sometimes those flights can cost hundreds of more dollars compared to a direct or connecting flight. Though money saved is always a benefit, the idea of spending hours at an airport can start your travels off on the wrong foot. Thankfully today’s airports have taken traveler entertainment into consideration.

Punta Cana International Airport is adding a luxurious outdoor swimming pool as well as a VIP lounge to keep travelers entertained. Orlando International Airport has an arcade and other fun amenities. Nowadays layovers aren’t as bad as they seem! Here are 7 tips to stay sane while spending hours at the airport.

1. Go Sightseeing

Longer layovers may seem like a waste of time, but if you’ve got hours until your flight, why not go see some local sights? Airports offer inexpensive and fast transportation, especially those near big cities. Hop on public transportation and give yourself a tour around town. Check out some of the must-see sights and enjoy local cuisine.

To get the most out of long layovers, plan your sightseeing itinerary in advanced. This way you can determine what type of transportation you need to take, options for public transportation, as well as local attractions.

2. Exercise

Sitting in an airport seat gets old after about 30 minutes and we all know just how dangerous excessive sitting can be. To keep your blood pumping, spend some time in the airport’s gym. Many airports offer exercise areas with weights and cardio machines. Some even have dedicated areas for yoga. If you plan to work up a sweat, be sure to leave plenty of time to shower and change. Otherwise you risk a very unhappy neighbor on the flight!

Found yourself at a gym-less airport? Not all hope is lost. Find a quiet corner and make the best of it. There are plenty of exercises you can still do to pass the time including:

  • Calf raises
  • Wall squats
  • Sit ups
  • Stretching

You can even use your carry-on luggage as makeshift weights! With a little creativity, you can get in some physical activity, even without a gym.

3. Eat Some Chow

Today’s airports are designed like mini-malls. Most have a variety of stores as well as plenty of restaurants. We all know that airplane food isn’t the best, so take advantage of your layover and enjoy a nice meal. Since you’re not in a rush, you can skip the typical fast food options like McDonald’s and Starbucks. Take a walk around the airport to see what food options are available.

For our foodie travelers, check out this Delish list of the 17 best airport restaurants in the U.S. Who could pass up on homemade macaroni and cheese or a fresh authentic cheesesteak?

4. Start a Conversation

Talking with someone waiting at the same gate as you is a good way to pass some time. Chances are that you’re both heading to the same place and likely have something in common. Talk about your past travels as well as your present trip. Who knows, maybe you’ll pick up on a new must-visit destination. At the least, you can rest assured that you have a tolerable fellow traveler to sit next to during the flight.

5. Lounge

Though lounges were once reserved for first class travelers, many airports provide lounges. For a small fee you’ll have access to all sorts of items including:

  • Reading materials
  • Food
  • Free WiFi
  • Comfortable seating

Use your lounge time to meet new people and network, or head to a quiet corner to catch up on some work time. Why not plan that new marketing strategy or create storyboards for your video explainers? Free time at the airport is perfect for catching up on emails or finishing those last few pages of your research paper.

6. Checkout the Spa

Shops and restaurants aside, many airports also offer day spas. What better time to spoil yourself than during a layover? The spa is the perfect place to go to spend a few hours. Traveling and long flights can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. Hit the spa to spend an hour or two in a purely relaxed state. If massages aren’t your forte, you can still enjoy spa services with a mini mani and pedi. Nothing says you’re ready for vacation like dolled up fingers and toes!

7. Sleep

If you’re one of those people that have no issues with catching Zs no matter where you are, spend your layover time catching up on some much needed sleep. Public sleeping isn’t for everyone, but many airports offer comfortable chairs meant specifically for sleepy travelers. Taking a nap before your flight leaves you plenty of time to read a book, watch television, or to knock out some business dealings.


No matter how long your layover is, there is surely something you can get into to pass the time. Keep these 7 tips in mind during your travels to make the best of your stay at the airport. Safe travels!

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