*When leaving for a trip, most people can’t wait to get to where they’re going. Many times, though, you’re forced to book a connecting flight that has a long layover, simply because there are no other options for getting to your destination. Other times, booking a flight with a lengthy layover is a practical and economical decision — as many times these flights cost a lot less.
While no one is eager to hang around in an airport for hours on end waiting for their flight, we’ve got some suggestions to make the most of your time if you happen to find yourself in this predicament.
Get Some Shut Eye
Though airports aren’t the most comfortable of places to sleep, if you’re tired enough you’ll have no problem napping at your terminal. Some airports even have designated areas for better, more comfortable rest.
Either way, it is wise to come prepared with ear plugs, an eye mask and a phone charger (to set your alarm) as well as a travel pillow and blanket. Disinfectant wipes are also a good idea to clean off the area where you’ll be resting your head. If sleeping in an airport isn’t your style, and you have enough time, consider checking in to a nearby hotel for a more restful sleep.
It is smart to keep your gadgets with you in your carry on bag, so that you can use them whenever you need to. And an airport layover is the just the time to do that. Bringing your phone, tablet, laptop and any other gadgets that can entertain you during down time is essential (and don’t forget the chargers!). If you are traveling with a companion, packing cards or other small travel games can also be a lifesaver.
Get Your Fitness On
Sure, walking around the airport or even pumping out a few push ups while there can help pass the time and boost your energy. However, heading to a real gym can be the best way to maximize your time (not to mention working out is a great way to beat travel stress).
Some larger airports offer a gym area. But if the one you’re stuck at doesn’t, chances are the surrounding area has a gym or two nearby. If you belong to a gym that has locations nationally, you may be in luck and find one that you can go to free of charge. For example, 24 Hour Fitness is a full-service gym that offers a wide array of locations nationwide. From free weight to cardio machines and much more, you can get a full workout in no matter the time of day.
Use the opportunity of being in a new locale as a chance to see a city that you normally may not have gotten to explore. Many cities, no matter how big or small, offer their own uniqueness — from restaurants to museums to bars and more. Public transportation is an affordable option to get from here to there if the city you’re in offers it (plus you can ask people on the train or subway where they recommend you visit). However, you can always opt for a cab or Uber.
Just be sure to make your plans ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to get back to the airport for your flight — so you’re not waiting around again.