6 Ways To Pass Time At The Airport During A Layover

Let’s all be honest, most of the time layovers just aren’t that fun.

You’re probably in the middle of two long haul flights, you might be tired and jet lagged, you’ve already checked all your luggage and for some reason your flight has been hit with an extra three hour delay. It makes you want to pull your hair out, right?!

The more you fly, the more you might find yourself in situations like this. With up to 200,000 flights in the sky on any given day, sometimes things don’t go perfectly to plan and flights may be delayed or cancelled for any number of reasons.

Delays and long lay-overs can be especially frustrating if you haven’t planned for them, or if you’re on a tight schedule and might have plans on the other side of your flight.

The main thing to remember about a delay or a long layover is that it’s out of your control and there’s nothing you can do about it. Instead of getting upset and angry about the situation, take a couple of deep breath, be calm and try to enjoy your extra time in the airport.

If you’re stuck in an airport here are a few ways to pass the time!

breakfast meal

Check into an airport lounge

Did you know you can actually buy a pass to an airport lounge in most airports around the world? Gone are the days when you need to hold a business class ticket to check into a good airport lounge, these days you can often buy a lounge pass or just pay for a couple of hours in an airport lounge.

Checking into an airport lounge is a great option for a long lay over, because they are jam packed with amenities to help you have a nicer wait. Most lounges include free buffet meals, showers to freshen up, couches or somewhere to lie down and generally just a more pleasant environment than sitting on the airport floor for hours.

If you haven’t booked an airport lounge in advance, head to the information desk and ask them with lounges accept payment on the spot for you to check in.

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window views from a plane

Window shop at the designer stores 

Most airports have lots of shops from high end fashion brands. It seems a bit crazy to me to be honest, not once have I ever been sitting at an airport and thought to spontaneously drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on a designer handbag.

While you might not be looking to spend any money, window shopping is always free and can be a great way to pass the time. Designer stores are always so beautiful and luxurious, and the shop assistants in the airport stores are usually much nicer than if you were to walk into these brands in a shopping centre or flagship store.

They’re not going to judge you for shopping in trackies! 

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Take a day trip around the city 

If you have a particularly long lay over and the airport you’re stuck at is located fairly close to the city, why not take a day trip?

Some airlines actually offer this is a freebie or add-on with your flights. For example, if you’re flying on Qatar airways and have more than a 6 hour layover between flights they offer a free city tour for their passengers. It’s a great opportunity to get a glimpse at a city and country that you might not have thought to visit otherwise.

Generally, your luggage should still be checked in from your first flight, so you won’t have to worry about lugging around any suitcases. It might seem like a crazy idea, but sometimes these are the best adventures.

selfie at dallas airport

Sometimes we also like to waste time by taking lots of selfies, like on this extra long delay from Mexico to Miami.

Catch up on e-mails from home 

If you’ve been travelling for a while it might be a good time to catch up with your family and friends back home. Give your parents a call, catch up on e-mails from your family or jump on social media and see what your friends are doing. They will all appreciate hearing from you, especially if you’re taking the time to check in with how they’re doing during your exciting trip. 

Most airports offer free wifi, which is often pretty fast and reliable in our experience, so take advantage of it and connect with your loved ones back home.

working at an airport

Get a jump on organising and editing your photos

Layovers are the perfect time to get a head start on organising and starting to edit the photos from your trip. Sometimes I can have hundreds (if not thousands) of photos from a trip, and although I try to organise them at the end of each day so they don’t get too overwhelming, sometimes it can just get away from you.

Waiting at the airport is a great time to sort through all your photos, save your favourites, delete duplicates (or blurry, accidental, unexpected photos) and organise them into different folders so you know where they are.

If I have the time I also like to start uploading as many of the photos as I can to Google Photos, just as an extra back up. My worst fear while travelling is losing my photos, so I’m always trying to back up as much as possible.

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Explore the airport

Airports these days are getting more and more incredible. Some of the biggest airports in the world offer shopping malls, movie theatres and even swimming pools right inside the hotel. There’s more entertainment than ever to check out, so why not take advantage of what the airport is offering.

Changi Airport in Singapore is one of the best airports in the world for this movement, their airport is almost becoming more of a destination than just a place for a layover. With everything from playgrounds for kids to a butterfly sanctuary and world class art exhibits, you won’t even notice the time flying by if you’re at one of the major airports around the world.

Most airports also have great restaurants and bars that you can visit to pass the time. Some of them make you feel completely removed from the actual airport, with much calmer restaurant vibes inside. Grab yourself a good meal and a beer to break up all that shitty airplane food.

Head to the airport’s information booth for more information or jump on their free wifi and check out their homepage for what’s on at the airport while you’re there. Some of the airports around the world these days will blow your mind.

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Emma is a travel writer, photographer and blogger, chasing the sun around Australia. Travelling in her recently renovated vintage Viscount caravan, along with her husband Thom and daughter Macey, she's sharing the very best experiences from around her beloved sunburnt country.

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