An extended layover at an airport doesn’t have to mean boredom. Check out our guide for tips and tricks on discovering things to do, see, and experience while you’re waiting for your connecting flight.
Layovers can be a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, you can save money on your airline tickets when you include a connecting flight. On the other hand, you might have hours to kill while you wait for your next flight. The key to surviving an extended layover is taking advantage of all the in-airport amenities around you. Instead of looking at it as a hassle, look at your layover as some bonus time for yourself.
Get Some Exercise
We all know it’s hard to stay in shape while traveling. You’ve spent hours in a cramped space — why not take advantage of your downtime to stretch, get your blood pumping, and your muscles working? If available, you can hit an airport fitness center, which typically offer day passes for non-members. If a fitness center isn’t available or you are not looking to hit the gym, then you can:
- Channel your inner mall walker by spending 30 to 60 minutes doing brisk laps around the terminals.
- Lie your yoga mat down in a quiet spot and practice your favorite yoga flow.
- Find an area that isn’t busy and do 20 minutes of circuit training using your favorite bodyweight exercises, such as lunges, squats, and jumping jacks.
Get a Massage
Many airports feature massage parlors and day spas nestled inside. Depending on the facilities, you may be able to choose between a massage, facial, manicure, or pedicure. Personal spa time can help you unwind and reduce any pre-flight jitters as well as act as a relaxing way to pass the extra time you have on your hands before catching your next flight.
Grab a Meal
Airport food doesn’t exactly have the best reputation, but in recent years, the in-terminal foodie scene has been stepping up its game. Today, many airports offer a blend of fresh options when you’re trying to figure out where to eat.
Gastronomes waiting for a layover flight in Salt Lake City, Atlanta, or San Francisco can sample some of “Iron Chef” competitor Cat Cora’s gourmet fare at the in-airport outposts of her restaurant, Cat Cora’s Kitchen. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City features the French cafe, La Vie, while Boston Logan International Airport’s Legal Sea Foods outpost lets travelers get their fill on their favorite ocean edibles.
Browse the Shops
A growing number of airports offer high-end shopping, including jewelry and fashion stores. In fact, the airport retail market is expected to top $90 billion by 2023. Many airports are ramping up their shopping experience, and several are already favorites among shoppers, including:
- San Francisco International Airport, featuring an organic cosmetics shop, local goods, and gourmet sustenance.
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport, with trendy shops such as Hugo Boss, Estée Lauder Beauty Boutique, and Dylan’s Candy Bar.
- London’s Heathrow Airport, which has more than 400,000 square feet of space for shoppers to browse brands like Dior, Burberry, Gucci, and more.
Check Out Special Attractions
If you’re lucky enough to be waiting for a layover flight at an airport that includes major attractions, then you’ll have plenty to fill your time. Some airports with standout in-airport activities include:
- Singapore International Airport, featuring a lush butterfly garden, movie theater, and the tallest water slide in the country.
- Nashville International Airport, which regularly hosts live concerts on four stages for travelers and locals alike.
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, offering city tours with the Floating Dutchman that start and conclude at the airport.
- Palm Beach International Airport, which provides a putting green where you can practice your swing while you wait for your flight.
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