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Things To Do During an Airport Layover

Unleash the potential of your airport layovers and transform them into thrilling mini-adventures! The era of viewing layovers as tedious waiting periods is over. Today, savvy travelers are seizing the opportunity to turn these stopovers into memorable experiences.

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For those who crave direct flights, the thought of a layover might seem like an unnecessary delay. However, an increasing number of explorers are intentionally planning longer layovers, transforming them into bonus tourist time.

Short to Moderate Layovers — One to Five Hours

Don’t let a short layover dampen your spirits. Instead, use these precious hours to your advantage. Start by locating your next gate, as it might be further than you think. Once you’ve secured your next move, it’s time to dive into the airport’s offerings.

Relax, freshen up, and indulge in some people-watching. If you have the time, treat yourself to a delectable sit-down meal. Stretch your legs with a brisk walk or, if available, spend some time with therapy dogs for a dose of furry affection.

Keep your devices ready for a podcast or a good read. Recharge your devices, take advantage of free Wi-Fi, and perhaps pen down your thoughts in a journal. Browse through the airport shops, you might stumble upon some unique finds.

For a touch of luxury, treat yourself to a massage, manicure, or pedicure. If you’re a wine or beer enthusiast, tasting sessions might be available. Traveling with kids? Look out for kid-friendly play areas, scavenger hunts, or “walking trails” designed to keep families engaged.

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Interesting Options at Major US Airports Airport layovers

If you don’t have access to a lounge as a frequent flyer, consider a Minute Suite rental, which offers a private room to relax, work, or even catch a nap. Some suites even offer showers and discounts for pilots, airline employees, and military personnel.

Does your airport have a movie theater? Check out Portland’s historic Hollywood Theatre or Minneapolis/St. Paul’s 18 Film Cinema. If you’re a music lover, catch live music in Seattle, Austin, or Nashville. Art enthusiasts can explore Seattle’s rotating international art exhibits.

For a touch of history, visit San Francisco’s Aviation Museum and Library. If you’re into wellness, stretch out those stiff muscles with some yoga in Dallas and San Francisco. Or, explore the fresh plant life in the Aeroponic Garden at Chicago’s O’Hare.

Longer Layovers — Six to 24 Hours Airport layovers

Longer layovers are your ticket to a mini-vacation. If your layover is over six hours and you have the energy, why not explore the local area? However, before you embark on this adventure, consider the following factors:

  • Domestic or International: For domestic flights, factor in time to get through security a second time. If traveling internationally, you’ll need to go through immigration and security again and plan to return two hours before your connecting flight.
  • Baggage Arrangements: If you checked your baggage for the full itinerary, you’re probably good to go. If not, you’ll need to pick up your luggage and take it with you unless the airport offers a secure luggage hold service or lockers. Always keep your ID, money, and other vital information with you.
  • Visa Considerations: As soon as you leave the airport, you have officially entered the country. Double-check the visa requirements of the layover country to be sure you have permission to explore.
  • Distance and Time of Day: See how far your layover airport is from the city you want to visit. Consider how long it would take to get there and back with time to spare. What time of day is your layover? If at night, think about evening options and what is or isn’t safe.
  • Currency: Traveling internationally? Consider if you’ll need a different currency in the layover country and plan accordingly.

See if the airport offers complimentary tours, designed specifically for layover guests. If there’s a tour you can book in advance, save some time and book it.

Whether your layover is intentional or not, it doesn’t have to be boring. With a little planning and research, you can turn your layover into an exciting part of your journey.

And to ensure your entire trip is protected, get a travel insurance quote now.

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