The Layover: Tips for an Enjoyable Flight Experience
Here are some carefully-curated tips and advice for making the most out of stopovers/layovers to ensure an enjoyable flight experience.
Layover Tips: Stay Overnight
You may be able to stay and sleep the night away at the airport on a layover, but you should definitely research this beforehand. Airports usually get locked up for the night, but you can often stay in. However, once you leave, you may not be allowed back in until the airport opens in the morning, so try to curb your cigarette cravings.
Layover Tips: See the Sites
If you have a layover of several hours or more, perhaps you have enough time to venture into the city and check it out. Count on about two hours before the scheduled flight time to be back at the airport, and see if it makes sense to leave – if there’s time, it’s a free city that you get to explore.
Layover Tips: Sleep
Layovers are also a great time to get some shut-eye. You’re already worn out from traveling on the previous flight (unless you were able to sleep), so getting some sleep during a stopover is a productive way to pass the time until the next flight; you will arrive with more stamina and energy at your final destination.
Layover Tips: Try Some Local Food
If you are in a foreign airport, but don’t have adequate time to leave and venture into the city, you can still get a taste of the area by trying some local cuisine at one of the airport’s options in the food court. Whether it’s a simple pretzel and wurst in Munich or some open-faced sandwich in Paris, why not try something local if you’re going to get anything at all?
Layover Tips: Splurge on Lounge Treatment
If you’re seeking to get some work done, perhaps it’s not such a bad idea or wasteful to treat yourself to access the VIP lounge. Most have the standards, such as free snacks and beverages (which help to justify some of the lounge’s costs), free wireless internet, and other useful items. Many even go so far as offering novel luxuries like a free shower to freshen up, as well.
Layover Tips: Freshen Up
A layover is a perfect time to take care of hygienic duties that are often neglected during the busy travel period. Use the free time at your disposal to brush your teeth, use the restroom, and wash your face of all the grime and sweat that accumulated on it during the first flight.
Layover Tips: Take a Shower
Some airports have shower facilities which can be useful and invigorating after a long flight. As previously mentioned, the usual place to find them are in lounges; however, if that’s too expensive to consider, try looking by the restrooms, which may have a shower to use for a much more reasonable price.
On flights to Warsaw, say, from New York, it is common to stop in Paris or Amsterdam; a shower after that first 6- or 7-hour flight keeps me feeling fresh even after the next hour-long flight to my final destination.
Layover Tips: Take Care of Chores
Let’s say you’re flying to Europe with somewhere in the Schengen Zone as your final destination. Your layover also is in Schengen. This is a perfect time to take care of little things that you would do anyway at your final destination. Perhaps you want to grab some euros, or get a local SIM card for your stay. Whatever it is, see if it makes sense to knock these items out during the stopover, so that you free up your time at your intended destination later.
Layover Tips: Get Some Exercise
After hours of sitting still, get your circulation going by walking around the airport. You have the time, and though you should have been getting up to stretch here and there during the flight, perhaps you neglected this by sleeping through the flight. Use the stairs whenever possible, rather than the elevators or escalators.
Layover Tips: Very Short or Very Long
You may not like layovers, since you are trying to get to your final destination as quickly as possible; in most cases, you’ll likely try to choose the layover with the fastest turnaround time available. However, it may be beneficial to instead lengthen your stopover.
If you’re stuck needing to layover either way, a longer one may afford you the time to make some use of that middle destination, perhaps to visit a friend in town or go to the city center.