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Making the Most of It: 7 Ways to Pass the Time During a Layover

7 Ways to Pass the Time During a Layover: beautiful young casual woman doing yoga meditation at airport
Written by Lauren Saccone

Sooner or later, it happens to every traveler: you find yourself stuck with a layover. And while some people can time their journey in such a way that their layover is only a minor inconvenience, others find themselves having to wait for hours before they can continue on to their final destination.

While nobody particularly looks forward to a layover (with a few rare exceptions), they don’t have to end up being a total bummer. The next time you find yourself stuck in a layover, try out one or more of these handy suggestions to maximize your downtime and prepare for the next leg of your journey!

Eat a balanced meal

 7 Wise Ways to Pass the Time During a Layover: Elegant business couple eating with lunch boxes sitting at the waiting hall in the airport.

It’s easy to let nutrition slide while traveling, especially when traveling by plane. With so many kiosks and snack bars offering delectable (and decidedly unhealthy) treats, temptation can be hard to resist. Use your layover to your body’s advantage by instead treating yourself to a satisfying, balanced meal. There are more and more nutritious options out there, depending on what you’re craving. Sip on a fruit-packed smoothie, savor a tasty salad, or go for a protein-rich chicken option. Before your layover, when still flying, be sure to drink extra water and stay away from dehydrating beverages like alcohol. Also, stay away from overly salty, greasy, or sugary foods, as they can upset your stomach while you’re in-flight — something nobody wants to deal with. So during your layover instead of snacking on unsatisfying junk food, find a place that serves up something delicious and nutritious. Take your time, eat slowly, and enjoy your non-airline food.

Read up on your destination

No matter where you’ve got the lowest airfare to – from Chicago to Singapore – there’s always something to learn about your destination. Grab a book or magazine dedicated to the place you’ll be visiting. Since you may be tired from traveling, be sure to choose a topic that will hold your interest. For example, if you’re an art buff, read up on museums in your destination city. If you have an e-reader handy, you can even download phrase books. And if you have Wi-Fi available, check out if there are any events happening in the area that you want to check out. Who knows — you might end up adding some fun events to your itinerary!

Catch up on work/responsibilities

7 Ways to Pass the Time During a Layover: Young girl with long hair is sitting on chair on orange background

Airport time is a great time to catch up on those last-minute work projects that you’ve been putting off. If you’d love to get some work done before you reach your destination, a layover is a great opportunity to do so. Many airports have special business/work sections with outlets to charge your phone or computer. If you finish up all your work assignments, you can use this time to take care of other obligations — answer emails, pay bills, whatever you want to accomplish so you can make the most of your trip.

Take a nap

Who couldn’t use a quick catnap to restore their energy levels? If you’ll be flying economy, chances are it’ll be hard to get any rest on the plane. Find a comfortable looking couch or row of seats (or floor, if need be) and catch some Zs before take-off. Many of the kiosks in the airport now sell pillows and blankets, so you can cozy up wherever you find yourself. And perhaps that snuggly pillow will help make your flight a little more comfortable and restful as well!

You may also like: From 3 Hours to 12 Hours: Here’s What to Do on a Long Layover

Go for a stroll, stretch your body

7 Ways to Pass the Time During a Layover: Man with shoulder bag and hand luggage walking in airport terminal

As anyone who travels knows, you can end up with some surprising new aches and pains if you aren’t careful. Sleeping in a different bed, cramped travel quarters, and the tension of trying to make it to your gate on time can all leave you feeling stiff and sore. Walking around the airport is a great way to stretch your legs, loosen up those muscles, and get the blood pumping. Use the time to check out the stores and amenities the airport has to offer — you might uncover a surprising gem! After you stretch your legs, be sure to stretch your arms, back, and neck, too. You can even check out stretching videos online before you board your next flight. Your body will thank you — trust us.

Get a massage

Still feeling stiff and sore? Feel like indulging in a little well-earned pampering? Then it’s high time you took advantage of that layover and get a massage. Airports across the globe offer all sorts of different massages, from quick neck-work before your flight to lengthy, indulgent full-body massages at the spa. If you have more time to kill, you can even opt for a facial or nail treatment. Whatever you opt for, it will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated for the next leg of your trip.

Shop till you drop

 7 Ways to Pass the Time During a Layover: Asian woman walking around airport. looking window shopping of the duty free shop on the escalator conveyor belt.

While everyone has wasted time at the kiosks that sell magazines and newspapers, now you can turn that layover into a designer shopping experience that will leave your friends envious. More and more airports are adding designer clothes, high-end electronic equipment, and other luxury items to their list of shopping options. You can do all your holiday shopping, grab some great souvenirs, and enjoy all the benefits of the duty-free shop. Just make sure you have room left in your luggage (unless you’re looking to buy more of that too!).

Got any other tips on how to wisely spend a layover? Share them with us in the comments!

About the author

Lauren Saccone

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