How do experienced travelers cope with travel layovers
September 1st, 2015, Posted by travelwith2ofus
Traveling is one of the most exhilarating experiences, but like everything else on this beautiful planet, it has its complications. One of the most complicated elements of traveling, at least in our opinion is layovers, or as some people say stopovers.
You book your flight, train or bus trip, but you have several hours of layover before you reach your final destination. What should you do? How do you spend the time? Do you leave the train or bus station or the airport if you are flying?
All good questions, so we pondered on this for a while, had a two hour discussion and in the end we decided we will ask some of our favorite experienced travelers who are respected bloggers in the travel industry.
This is how they cope with layovers:
Heidi Wagoner – Wagoners Abroad Says:
After three years of travel, we have had our fair share of layovers in airports, train stations, bus stations and ferry ports. Without fail, there will be some down time while waiting for the next leg of the trip.
We have a routine we follow, which helps keep peace in the family on the dreaded travel day. We typically find our way to the gate or departure point and plop down anything we are carrying with us. Since we are a family of four, we usually have two people remain with the belongings while the other two get to go out and explore.
With two kids, this means we split up as one adult and one child and are usually on the hunt for food. Depending on the length of the layover, we are gone about half of the duration and then switch places. This allows the family a little time apart from each other, and a little freedom to walk around without carrying things. Those who remain with the luggage generally have use of their electronics (phones, iPad, or laptop) or visit with other travelers.
Megan Jerrard – Mapping Megan Says:
The best way to cope with a layover is to plan the timing as strategically as you can, and aim to have it fall in the middle of the day.
For long 8-10 hour layovers you've then got the chance to check your bags into an airport storage and go out and explore another destination for the day (I mean, why not pack in one more city if you can!), where-as if you're facing 8-10 hours in the middle of the night you'll find yourself either shelling out for a cab ride and a hotel, or sleeping uncomfortably on the airport floor.
That being said, if you are stuck with a lengthy layover which has you staying overnight, make sure you check the amenities at your airport in advance. For instance, some airports like Amsterdam have hotels inside them (we purchased a small pod for four hours for cheap and got some beauty sleep), while others will kick you out after midnight and you'll be wishing you packed a compact hammock to throw up outside (don't laugh - it's a BRILLIANT idea!).
Vicky Sosa – Buddy The Traveling Monkey Says:
When dealing with layovers, the most important thing is not to stress about it. Use the time to relax and recharge, sometimes literally lol! During layovers, I like to get some snacks and find a quiet place to sit. If you’re lucky, you can find an outlet and charge up your devices.
Nowadays, most airports have free WiFi, so you could also go online and do some updates on your social media. On one really long layover I had in Mexico, I found a small spa in the airport and got a massage and my nails done! The one thing I don’t do, is get too comfortable.
The last thing you want to do is miss your flight because you fell asleep or miss boarding the plane because you were asleep and didn’t hear the gate change. Vicky has literally had a passport since she was a baby, and has always dreamed of traveling the world. Follow her and her stuffed companion Buddy The Traveling Monkey as they travel the world and inspire others to do the same: Twitter and Instagram.
Karla Ramos – Karlaroundtheworld Says:
I try to avoid flights with long layovers. At times though, in a conscious effort to save, especially since I travel for long periods of time, I can’t. When that happens, I just try to make the most of my time during the layover. Here’s how:
For layovers of seven or more hours, there is definitely enough time to do some sightseeing or try that scrumptious meal that everyone is raving about. Airports usually have trains or buses that connect to the city; if you do your research in advance, there should be something that you can do to pass the time. Check the concierge too, sometimes they offer airport layover tours that depart from and return there. Dubai, for instance, offers a lot of tours even for just a 3-4 hours layover; Singapore offers a FREE city tour for layovers around 5.5- 6 hours.
Research on the layover airport
I love airports like Singapore (Changi), Amsterdam (Schiphol), London ( Heathrow) , Hong Kong International Airport and Dubai International Airport. These provide various entertainment options like movies, shopping, sports, as well as lots of restaurants where you can dine while passing the time.
Check out your rewards program
Make use of VIP lounges with free food and fast Internet. You can also use this time to catch up with work. In my case, I spend it writing in my journal, making my mini trip scrapbooks and keepsakes, or writing for my blog.
Make a new friend
If you are in a long layover, chances are, someone is too. Talk to people, it's a good way to pass the time. Aside from learning about each other's colorful history, passions, hobbies and whatnots, you are also making a good connection that perhaps you can use on your next trip. After all this, by the time you know it, you will already be boarding your next flight. See, that's not so bad. Be glad for the layover; it is also time for you to stretch those muscles before you proceed to your next long flight.
Francesca – One Girl: One World Says:
Nobody likes a long layover. I usually cringe when I see one that's shorter than one hour or longer than an hour and a half, and sometimes it can feel like a loose-loose situation. Too long leaves me feeling anxious to get either home or to my next destination, while a too short layover leaves me nervous about catching the next flight. But sometimes you have no choice but to face the facts, layovers are a part of the travel lifestyle.
The beauty in this is that a long layover can give you a much-needed break after sitting upright on an airplane for hours. I like that layovers give you a chance to walk around, see new faces and freshen up in a bathroom that’s larger than arms width. My favorite thing to do when I have a long layover is to get a taste of the city I’m in, by eating a typical dish or at a local chain located within the airport. It may not always be the best the city has to offer, but it’s a great alternative to airplane food and peanuts!
The last long layover I had was two hours in Dallas, Texas and it was the perfect opportunity to finally sample some Texas BBQ. I tried ribs and a brisket and it was amazing! I still think about that meal to this day. I can only imagine what it tastes like outside the airport - and it left me looking forward to the day when I can actually get to Texas and try it!
Mansoureh – Mansoureh Farahani Says:
Flights with layovers are sometimes an unavoidable choice for long haul travel. Sitting around in an airport passing time might sound boring, but there are some ways that I use to make it interesting and fun.
I usually start talking to other travellers who are waiting near my gate. We share our travel experiences and because we are heading to a same destination, we could give each other valuable tips. I also make friends.
I sometimes prefer to go for shopping in duty free, especially when a layover is short and just a couple of hours. I sometimes find a good offer. I also sometimes pass my time by eating in a restaurant or checking my emails and reading a book.