While non-stop flights are a nice luxury when you can secure them, layovers are a simple fact of life for many travelers. And while it’s easy to see a layover as an inconvenience or hurdle to your final destination, you can make the best of your time by viewing your next layover as an opportunity to explore and experience some new things. Even if you don’t actually leave the airport during your next layover, there are a few ways you can go about killing time as you await your next flight.
1. Make A New Friend
No matter what time of day you’re catching a flight, airports are typically filled with people. Many people you may run into during a layover are also looking to kill some time before their flight, so why not strike up a conversation with somebody? You might just make a new friend in the process—and worst-case scenario, you’ll at least kill some time socializing instead of staring at your phone screen in the terminal for hours.
How do you strike up a conversation with a stranger in the airport, anyway? Look for common ground. Maybe you’ll see someone wearing a jersey representing your favorite sports team, or maybe you’ll notice somebody order their coffee the exact same way you order yours at the airport cafe.
2. Get Some Exercise
One of the most difficult aspects of traveling for many is staying active and healthy, so why not use your layover as an opportunity to get moving? Even the smallest airports offer plenty of space to explore and walk around. Consider taking a power-walking tour of the airport, making it a point to walk to the furthest gate and back to your gate as quickly as possible. Just make sure that you have enough time to do so based on the length of your layover and your boarding time.
In addition to cardio exercise, you might also consider doing some light stretches at the airport before you board your next flight. Flying can take a major toll on the body, especially when you’re flying in coach class where seating is a little confined. By taking the time to stretch, you can re-energize your body and feel better when you finally arrive at your destination.
3. Take A Tour
If you have a layover in a major city, ask an airport worker if there are any city tours available. Many larger airports offer short tours that will teach you about the city—and some don’t even require you to leave the airport. The ones that do involve leaving the airport tend to be shorter in nature so that you have time to get back in time for your next flight and get through airport security.
4. Play A Game Of “I Spy”
Whether you’re traveling alone or with a friend or family member, nothing kills time like an old-fashioned game of “I Spy.” Or, you could make things even more interesting by creating your own airport scavenger hunt. Make a list of things to find within the airport (such as a certain brand of snack, a traveler wearing a certain colored shirt, or anything else you can think of) and have at it! The last person in your group to find all the items on the list has to buy a round of drinks from the airport bar or lunch for the rest of the group.
If “I Spy” or an airport scavenger hunt isn’t your cup of tea, simply grabbing a snack and sitting down to people-watch can be a great way to pass time before your flight.
5. Write In A Travel Journal
If you do a fair amount of traveling, it can be easy for one trip to blend into another. You might begin to forget the details that made each trip so special. Consider, then, purchasing a travel journal and taking the time to write in it during your layovers. This can be a great time to reflect on the people you meet, the food you try, and the experiences you have while traveling to different places.
Another option would be to keep a travel blog, which you can also work on during layovers so long as you have access to a laptop or tablet. Most airports these days offer free public Wi-Fi—and even at the ones that don’t, you have the option to purchase Internet access or ask an airport employee for the Wi-Fi password. Worst-case scenario, you can write out your travel blog post in a word processing document and publish it to your blog the next time you’re able to connect to the Internet. No matter how you go about it, keeping some sort of travel blog or journal is a great way to reflect on your travel experiences.
These are just a few of the best ways to pass time during your next layover; many of these are very inexpensive or even free as an added bonus! With these ideas in mind, you can keep yourself occupied until it’s time to board your next flight.