How To Survive Long Layovers

how to survive long layovers

Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. You have a few to 10 hours of extra time to kill in between your departure and desired destination.  What do you do?

A long layover can either be a traveler’s worse nightmare or an extra long vacation.  I’ve even had times where I didn’t plan my layover super well and ended up sleeping at the airport. Let me tell you. You have not lived until you have slept under your coat on a cold clammy carpet awaiting your next departure! (and I STILL love it!) In any case, if you came here looking for how to survive a long layover, I have you covered!

how to survive long layovers

1. Always have something to read! 

Airports can be boring if people watching isn’t one of your hobbies. (yes, that’s me over there gawking and imagining what sort of quest you must be on)  Even then, sometimes the people get old and you want to retreat into your own world. I always bring one good old fashioned book. Yes, the paperback kind, not some new fan-dangled electronic thingy. I have a hard enough time making sure my phone is charged.

2.  Get in a workout! 

If there is one thing extra time is good for, it is sneaking in exercise whenever you can.  Instead of standing still on the people mover, keep walking!  Go outside and find a patch of grass to yoga.  I am well beyond people caring whether I look silly while I let my soul feel good for the day. You should be too!  I have even done yoga on a plane.

3.  Search for your next adventure! 

how to survive long layovers

Okay, I can’t be the ONLY one who is so travel smitten that I am looking up cheap flights to New York or Bali while I am already traveling.  Leave no stones unturned people.  Travel is not a thing you do, it is a way of life!

4.  Club lounge time! 

Consider staying in your favorite airlines VIP lounge, either as a member, a day pass member, or as a guest of someone already going.  Yes, most airlines allow you to bring a guest with you!  I’ve done this twice as a guest and it is a much better place to relax. Personally, I’m not exclusive to any airline. You can call me a free agent!

There are more comfortable places to nap, the free food is a delicious bonus, and you often meet other like-minded travel junkies.  Some of them even have showers!  Say what?!  Now there’s a solid key to surviving a long layover.  A nap and a shower will revive your life sometimes.

5.  Download the Insight Timer app and kick flight anxiety GOODBYE!

how to survive long layovers

The insight timer meditation app has everything from 5 minute meditations, to meditations on sleep, to full courses on how to relieve depression.  I use it to meditate DAILY and have used the guided talks several times to relieve anxiety.  Use your long layover to soothe your mind and ease your worries.

6.  Explore the area! 

Let’s talk about that long layover that turned into an extended vacation. If you use your time wisely, you can make good use of layovers. Let’s be reasonable here now. You won’t be able to do anything with a 3 hour layover from LAX because traffic will be nutty and you won’t make it back in time!  However, it is actually possible for you to plan a trip that includes up to 24 hours in layover time, which is more than enough time to do some sightseeing.

7.  Do some airport shopping! 

Did someone say duty-free?  You know what I am talking about. Sometimes window shopping turns into real shopping at the airport. After all, one of your friends might need a souvenir!  Do they need a nice purse?  Just wondering, you know, for a friend.


I never go anywhere without them, and that includes long layovers!

How do you survive your long layovers?


34 thoughts on “How To Survive Long Layovers

  1. cebu safari

    I survived a long layover by reading a book. I have always been in loved with reading fiction stories and I always bring a book or two with me whenever I left home in order to accompany myself from all the boredom that may come.

  2. Pingback: Come sopravvivere a lunghi soggiorni | volarelowcost - fly4less

  3. Jenn

    I usually pickup a good book for my layovers. I’ve hear people that will leave the airport and go on adventures. There just seems like too much risk involved in leaving the airport, getting lost or getting stuck in an airport security line again. Unless I had 12 hrs… i’m not sure i could do that.

  4. Rudy @ Backpack & Snorkel

    We always travel light (backpacks and 1 small suitcase) which allows us to leave the airport and explore the city we are in. In some cases, I had intentionally booked long layovers to do just that (2 days in iceland, 12h in Cairo).

  5. Sophia

    I think layovers are the most frustrating period for me. I’m glad I found your blog post. I will help me a lot next time. It also a lot depend on where you are stuck. Depending on the facility, the journey can be way more easy (or worse) to handle.

    If you want to travel after the lockdown, we propose great travel backpacks: eikenshop.com

  6. Wes Gaddis

    In my opinion a long layover is better than a short time in between flights and missing your connection. With most airports I like to walk around and get outside if possible. If its an overnight layover I like hoping a tram to the downtown area if they have one. For example at DFW you can hop on a tram for both Dallas and Ft. Worth.
    Wes Gaddis recently posted…Mahahual Mexico A Mayan JewelMy Profile

  7. Chase

    I had a long layover in South Korea, and I read this article because I was bored. Great suggestions. Luckily they have a shower and nap area. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Bryson Fico

    I always felt weird about working out during a long layover, but now that I know I am not the only one doing it, I am going for it. I also took advantage of sightseeing in Omaha – I enjoyed it, great corn chowder!

  9. jeremy

    Article caught my attention as we had a long layover to get and from Iceland through NY based airports. Somehow the flights just worked out that we had 3 – 4 hours each way.

    We ended up camping out in a restaurant for 2 – 3 hours, which wasn’t the most comfortable place to be with hand luggage.

    We’re thinking about an airline VIP lounge the next time we do a trip like that.
    jeremy recently posted…7 Reasons The Congaree National Park is Worth VisitingMy Profile

  10. Melanie

    I often book a day room if I have a long layover – certainly if it is more than 6 hours or so. This enables me to get a shower, have a nap and get all set for heading home. I used to do this regularly when coming home from being away working for a couple of weeks and I was able to change out of my work clothes, having said goodbye to clients in the arrivals hall. There is a website called dayuse.com which has hotels that offer daytime use available. I’ve used this website a number of times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge