There’s nothing travelers dread more than putting their wanderlust on hold while waiting for their connecting flights. Whether you’re stuck at gate k114 somewhere in central Texas or hanging out in an abandoned airport bar in Detroit, it is possible to use this valuable ‘me’ time to your advantage! This in-between zone is often seen as the ultimate day-waster as you pace back and forth checking arrival times, departure times, delays, and (hold your breath) cancellations.
For now, layovers are a necessary evil, at least until that whole teleporting thing pans out. On the flip side, it isn’t often that you’re given a serious amount of time to just, chill. Instead of spending your afternoon inspecting the walls for a free outlet to check Instagram yet again, make your layover productive and use this break-in-transit to your benefit!
Airports are a breeding ground for stress. Luckily, yogis were listening to this desperate plea for help and encouraged airports to set up various yoga and meditation rooms in numerous major airports, such as ORD and BTV. Many of them include mats for you to borrow so you can get your downward dog on between departures. A small dose of savasna will do your body good as you prepare to go-go-go once you reach your destination.
Get some culture during your stay and inquire about exhibits set up through lengthy airport hallways. DEN and LAS are among the first airports to use their space to feature various artists particular to that area. Other airports, such as ATL, entertain those passing through with live music and theater performances.
Now’s the time to finalize any last minute details you may have overlooked when packing your third swimsuit and walkable, yet fashionable, sandals. Airports carry traveled-centered items that can be tricky to find else where, such as luggage locks, outlet converters and currency exchange stations. While it’s best to prepare these items ahead of time, an airport can accommodate the details you may have skimmed over.
To avoid jet leg, notorious for damaging the first few hours of your trip, find yourself a nap room. Both LAX and MIA offer small rooms for short term use so guests can catch up on some much needed shut eye. Just make sure you set an alarm, no amount of sleep is worth a missed flight!
Take advantage of the free wifi and find yourself a cozy corner. And no, this is not permission to check work emails while on your travels. Take this time to call or Skype with friends and family before you take off. There’s nothing a grandparent loves more than ensuring you’re still alive while abroad. A quick call can calm their nerves more than you know.
I’ll be the first to admit a decent book can occupy me for hours on end. While I love my nook, I can’t be bothered with additional chargers so I suggest sticking to good ol’ paperback. Some airports even offer libraries for you to check out a book for free during your visit. Keep a large scarf at hand for the chilly waiting areas (I’m positive they keep the air conditioning on year round in Chicago) and a neck pillow to ease any strain.
Although you’d be happiest in a world where layovers didn’t exist, the quality solo time is an excellent opportunity to finalize trip details and relax before the mayhem begins. Many airports now offer a variety of amenities, from breweries to ping pong tables, spas to laundry services, and utilizing what’s available to you will make your layover not only bearable, but (gasp) enjoyable!
How do you pass the time in between flights?
My favorite way to spend a layover is getting in some easy stretches wherever I am (nevermind the awkward stares I get while in a backbend at gate 7) and to call up a friend to chat. There’s nothing more calming before a flight than some free time to talk with someone you don’t see nearly as much as you’d like!