Surviving a Layover

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Man waiting during an airport layover

People are traveling more now than ever. With the roll out of the new Basic Economy Fares, rewards programs, a healthier economy, and access to destinations world-wide, it is no longer a question of “if” we should go, but “when” are we going?

All this travel means people are also going to be spending a lot more time in airports.

Even if you are temporarily stuck in one of the World’s Top Airports or waylaid in one of the most popular cities for international travel, a layover is still a layover. It means you haven’t quite arrived to your final destination. You are in a holding pattern.

Can I afford to avoid a layover?

The first step in surviving a layover is determining if you can avoid it all together. An hour or two might be worth the money you can save, but several hours to half a day or longer can really eat into your vacation time. Time is money after all. If a layover can’t be avoided, read on to learn how to survive it.

Should I make my layover longer? Man walking in airport for layover

What? A longer layover? Why would I want that? If you can’t avoid a long layover, maybe you can make it better by incorporating it into part of your vacation. Store your stuff in a locker and give yourself time to check out the city.

  • See a show
  • Check out a museum or art gallery
  • Do some shopping
  • Get a great meal
  • Check out tourist attractions
  • Enjoy a tour
  • Visit a spa and get a message, mani/pedi, or other treatment (some airports also have their own spas)

Stuck at the Airport? Beautiful airport lounge for a layover

If your layover isn’t long enough to leave, check out what the airport has to offer. You might be surprised what you can get up to in an airport. Dining, shopping, even napping. Make sure you check out where there are electrical outlets are so you can charge your gadgets. Scope out comfy chairs and stake your claim if you want to rest.

Just remember, airport lounges are not always restricted, either.

What Should I Wear? comfortable travel clothes

This might make or break your layover. You definitely want to comfortable, without looking like you  lives at the airport and eat out of trashcans. Choose loose, comfortable layers in soft, breathable fabrics.  Jackets and wraps can double as pillows or blankets. Wear comfortable shoes you can both walk in and slip on and off easily. Also, check out more ideas for the perfect travel clothes.

What Should I Pack?

Here are a few suggested items that will help with your layover and also double as a good list for packing the perfect carry on. Either way, you will be prepared.

  • Cash (small bills as well as large ones; you never know when your card may not work or be accepted)
  • Any medications you may need (never pack these in checked luggage)
  • A change of underwear and socks
  • Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Baby or facial wipes
  • Hand sanitizer (3 oz. or less)
  • Moisturizer (3 oz. or less)
  • Lip balm
  • Empty water bottle (fill it after you get through security)
  • Snacks (or buy them there)
  • Electronic devices and charging adapters
  • Earbuds or headphones
  • Books, magazines, or a journal
  • Extra contact lenses if you wear them

Remember to Always Be Nice

It goes without saying, but we are going to say it anyway.

Always be nice. 

Whether it is a planned or unexpected layover, it won’t make it go by any faster or easier with a bad attitude. In fact, it will be a much more pleasant experience if you can accept the situation and try to make the most of it. You might even make a new friend.

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