How to Pass Time on a Layover
Everyone who travels experiences a layover at some point. Sometimes, it's just enough time to get from one leg of your trip to another. And other times, it's just long enough to be a nuisance; too much time to sit around at the gate, and not enough time to do any extravagant activities.
But layovers do have their upsides. For one, indirect flights are typically cheaper than direct flights (and for good reason—most people dread layovers and are willing to pay extra to avoid it). Some might find the chance to stretch their legs off the plane a blessing, especially if you're traveling a particularly long distance. And while making an already long day of travel longer isn't ideal, there are tons of ways to make the most of your layover… and to pass the time more quickly.

The most interesting solution to a long layover (usually 5 hours or more) is to take a day trip to the city or town you're stopped in. Most airports these days offer shuttle or rail service to the city center, where you can hit a few of the tourist attractions or eat at a famous restaurant during your down time. You may even be able to go on a "layover tour," offered in cities like London, Beijing, Istanbul, and Singapore. Even without a sanctioned tour, it's easy enough to get around Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Sydney via public transportation, so you can at least see a small part of the city before traveling to your final destination. If you choose to go this route, be sure to account for traffic, long security lines, and other delays so you don't miss your next flight - especially since airports tend to be pretty far from the city centre.
On the other hand, your layover might not be long enough to leave the airport. And that's okay! There are a surprising amount of activities you can do in the airport to pass the time. Here are some of our favorite suggestions!
What better way to pass the time than at an airport bar? Just be sure to pace yourself! In all seriousness, airport bars are a great source of creative beers and cocktails, and really interesting conversations with other travelers. You might find the time pass by quicker than you had expected! Plus, it's highly likely that airport bars and restaurants will offer some local cuisine. In fact, the Munich Airport even has it's own beer called Airbräu. Wherever you are, just ask the bartender to recommend you a local brew and taste your way through your layover city!
Sleep and Shower
Considering the number of people that move through an airport in a day, the number of germs they bring along with them would make anyone cringe. You may want to use your layover time to rest up and shower, which is now made possible in most major airports by small accommodations within airport terminals. These cabins, usually featuring a bed, shower, and TV, can be rented for at least four hours at a time.

If these cabins aren't available at your airport, or if you need a little more space, you might consider an airport hotel near by. For some peace and quiet, and the chance to wash up, it might be worth it—plus, most hotels offer free shuttle service to and from the airport, making it easy and convenient for you.

In either of these situations, it's recommended that you plan ahead and make reservations, rather than walking in and requesting a room. It'll be cheaper and smoother if you take care of everything beforehand.
Source: Yotel Room, New York City - Lori L. Stalteri - Flickr
Airports these days are chock-full of shops from every industry and some of the most famous brand names in the world. While the prices are notoriously high, window-shopping can be just as fun as shopping to buy. Take a tour of the airport shops and browse the merchandise. Flip through some magazines. Play with the gadgets. Consider buying a souvenir for your travels, or a book to read on your next flight. Before you know it, it'll be time to get back to your gate!
Work Out
Believe it or not, some people enjoy working out in their free time. An airport layover is a great opportunity to get a workout in (as long as there are showers available). Some airports have fitness centers, or designated yoga rooms you can visit for a small fee. If your airport doesn't offer either of these, and you're not uncomfortable breaking a sweat in public, find an empty gate and do a few stretches. At the very least, there's a lot of airport to see—go for a walk and explore!
Treat Yourself
As airports become more sophisticated, so do the activities they offer. For example, some airports now have hair and nail salons, where you can spend your layover getting pampered. Heading on a beach vacation? Get a snazzy mani-pedi before hitting the sandy shores.

At some airports, you may even be able to get your hair done, get a facial, or get a massage, which sounds great after sitting on an airplane all day. Every location is different, however, so check to see what's offered at your layover destination.
Visit a Lounge
One of the best ways to get away from the airport hustle and bustle is to visit your airline's lounge area. If you're not already a member, most will allow you to hang out in the lounge for a fee. Once inside, you'll enjoy free Wi-Fi, power, comfortable seating, reading materials, and usually food or drink of some kind, whether it's small snacks or a buffet. All of these little luxuries can reduce the sting of a long layover in a crowded terminal.
You can only play on your iPad for so long before you might go searching for something else to do on your layover. Luckily, airports are full of things to do, if only you know where to look. Hopefully after reading this list, your layover doesn't sound so bad after all!

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