Layovers are an inevitable part of long air travel. Unless you are on a business trip with time constraints or have no financial limits on the fare, you are more than likely to endure long layovers. Especially if the trip takes you half way across the globe. Layovers can last anywhere between a few hours to close to a full day. Depending on VISA restrictions and immigration laws of the country where you have your transit you may be able to leave the airport during your layover. Otherwise, you will have to spend that time within the airport. Here are some suggestions to survive long layovers.
Leave the Airport
Recently I had a layover in Shanghai China that lasted for better part of 20 hours. I attempted to get accommodation at the airport hotel, but it was fully occupied. The connoisseur directed me to another hotel outside the premises of the airport a few miles away from the city. Though unplanned, my short venture outside the airport turned out to be enjoyable and heuristic. I got a glimpse of the culture. How people went about their daily lives and tasted their local cuisine.
Long layovers give you just the right amount of time to get a peek into a foreign culture. Since layovers are not long enough to go to must-see attractions of the city, it enables you to get an impression of the way of life of the local people. It’s analogous to people watching in the central park but in an entirely different environment. Maybe you’ll inhale the essence of the Pacific ocean at Sydney harbor or escape zigzagging motorized rickshaws in the heavy Mumbai traffic. Or, have authentic sushi in Tokyo or a bowl of gazpacho in Madrid. However you spend it, make the best of the brief stopover.
While Staying Within the Airport
If you are bound to remain at the airport during the layover ensure that you have ample entertainment at your disposal; this takes a bit of prior planning. Make certain you pack a book or a collection of magazines. Download movies or TV episodes on your tablet. Don’t forget to buy a voltage adapter before your trip. Different countries have different electric voltage specifications, and the design of the wall outlet itself is different.
Bring a blanket that is not too bulky that it’s burdensome as part of the cabin luggage but comfortable for a short nap. Download a translator app on your phone. It will be very useful if you find yourself at an airport where the employees don’t speak your language. Take a stroll through the duty-free shops. You might find a souvenir for yourself or a gift for someone receiving you at your destination.
Let us know below what you do for long layovers!