What to do during a layover

We all run the risk of a long layover between flights when flying to far away destinations. There are numerous things to do to pass the time both inside the airport and outside. I asked the Twitter travel community what they do in a layover, and they were more than willing to share their experiences.

What people do in a layover depends on have long they have. People tend to stay inside the airport when they have little time between flights; they grab a nice meal, get a drink or perch in a corner, hum to their music and read a good book. Airports are designed for layovers, I looked at a random selection (Manchester, Heathrow, Washington and Dubai) to see what facilities they had to offer the lowly tourist to pass the time. Almost all airports have multi-faith prayer rooms (a respectful addition), and they also often have Wi-Fi (helpful for those among us who want to catch up on social media). Airports also have shops galore, and numerous restaurants, cafés and bars. Perfect for killing time.

Most of the responses I received focused on the facilities available at the airport. Some people explore the terminal; stretching your legs would be ideal before hopping back on another cramped flight. Making the most of the Wi-Fi to check emails, work or edit photos of your trip is also a wonderful way of passing time, especially as it’s something you can’t do whilst flying. Someone suggested doing yoga in a layover and making the most of the showers that are sometimes available – a freshen up before a flight might be a good idea. Humans are naturally nosey, so people watching is a must during a layover. The wide variety of characters I have seen in a lounge is amazing. On my most recent wait I wandered through the bar area at Manchester Airport and found myself surrounded by beer-drinking football fans on their way to a World Cup match. Almost all of them looked hopeful, which is probably not quite how they felt a few weeks later.

Some people actually choose to have long layovers so they have time to explore the city they have found themselves in and kill a few hours. There are museums to wander around, monuments to ogle at, historical sites to gawk over, restaurants and bars to explore and a new culture to delve into, even if it is only for a couple of hours. Of course, you need to be wary of the transportation to the city and back and consider any delays there could be. After all, you don’t want to be late for your flight that you’ve waited so many hours for!

There are numerous things to do in a layover, both inside and outside of the airport. Reading, music, working, wandering and, of course, sleeping are among my suggestions. If you are lucky (or perhaps unlucky) enough to have a long layover, exploring the city should be up there on the list of things to do. A quick glance at the Lonely Planet Guides app would give you an endless list of things to do!

(Thanks to: @BagsWerePacked @crafty_explorer @Fymoraes @ryandupay @CourseChartered @LauraSideStreet @amitakes @SeizetheTrek for their suggestions).

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Rachel Glaves

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January 2022
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