The airports are no longer considered as dull space, mostly associated with chaos, long queue of travelers, airline ticket counters, tired and exhausted faces of people. The new age airports are nothing less than a mini destination in itself with world-class amenities and excellent facilities catering to all kinds of age groups. From quirky cafes, bold bars, reading lounges, indoor parks, spa, fine dining outlets, shopping centers, swimming pools, cultural centers, library to a movie theater, you will get a wide range of entertainment options at the airports. The travelers can opt for a great range of activities to make the most of their layover time at the airports. Being a traveler myself, I am constantly on the move from one destination to another and I find the airports very fascinating for various reasons. Whether, it is watching people moving to numerous destinations, reading my favorite book, watching a movie or indulging in the luxury of a lounge or booking tickets online sitting at the airport, I can never be bored in any airport. Anyone can make the most of the layover time at the airport if you know how to spend your time wisely.
Here are 10 ways of making use of your layover time at the airports.
Explore the airport
The very first thing you can do at the airport is to explore it and find out the facilities it offers to the travelers. There are a lot of facilities, which are mostly designed for the travelers who spend hours before they catch their next flight. There are free things to do at the airport and one can indulge in them easily to keep yourself occupied. Whether you are a luxury or budget traveler, a comfortable or an adventurous person, the airport provides an abundant amount of amenities to make your time worthwhile there.
Get lounge access
Getting a lounge access is the smartest thing to have when you have a long layover. It not only provides facilities like great food, lounging chair to relax or sleep, but it also gives you free WIFI access to work. With an unlimited food and beverage options, comfortable sitting, sleeping chairs, book and magazines, music, etc., you can easily spend hours in the lounge. The luxury of the lounge access is beyond satisfactory.
Read a book
If you are someone who always carries a book during your trips, you can easily utilize your time at the airport during your layover by reading your favorite book. Many airports also offer library access at the airport to keep book lovers busy. Sipping a cup of coffee at the quirky café while reading a book, is the greatest way to utilize your time at the airport.
Use free WIFI to finish your pending work
Apart from lounge, airports across the world provide free WIFI access to the travelers. If you are a digital nomad or a travel blogger like me, you can make the most of your time to finish your pending work at the airport itself. I always prefer to work at the airport if I have anything urgent to finish so that I don’t need to wait till I reach my hotel to deliver the work on time. By doing this, you can be hassle-free once you reach your destination, without thinking about your pending work.
Indulge in Duty-free shopping
If you are a Shopaholic like me, you will find yourself in the buzzing area of duty-free shopping at the airport. From buying souvenirs, clothing, bags, books, artifacts, wine, home-decor, eatables to perfume, you get everything you want in the duty-free shops. I love buying local handicraft products and fridge magnets from the airports. I simply love indulging in shopping to spend my time at the airports all the time.
Take a transit visa to explore the city
Another great way to spend your layovers is to take a transit visa to the destination you have landed to go on a city tour if you have more than 5 hours in hand. Many airlines like Turkish Airlines offers Free City Tour if you have more than 5 hours layover time in Istanbul. They provide shuttle buses for the travelers to explore the city. Not just the sightseeing, they also take care of your breakfast and lunch during the tour. Likewise, if you have more than 5 hours stopover in Helsinki, you can opt for “StopOver Finland”introduced by the Finland Tourism for en-route travelers, who can explore this Nordic country from 5 hours to 5 days. It’s a great way to utilize your time in a new destination without having to spend a lot of money otherwise.
Explore dining options
If you are someone who loves to have some culinary experiences at the airports, you can opt for quirky cafes, fine dining restaurants, high-end bars or cafes for that matter. A lot of the world’s renowned restaurant chains have opened their fine dining outlets at the airports which give you a satisfying gastronomic experience. Whether it is gourmet food, chocolates or pastries, variety of coffee or tea, single malt whiskey, vodka, exotic flavors of wine or the authentic local food of the particular destination, you will find everything at the airports. What better way than to spend quality time in food exploration during layovers.
Do candid photography
Being a photographer myself, I love capturing the candid moments during my trips. So, whenever I have my long layovers at the airports, I love to observe people. An airport is a melting pot of varied emotions. Whether someone is stealing a kiss from his loved one, someone with moist eyes saying goodbye, happy couple hugging or parents waiting to meet their children, you witness waves of emotions at the airport. I love capturing some of the precious moments from a distance into my lens sometime. And those candid captures bring back a smile to my face whenever I see them later.
Get some sleep
If you are already dead tired or exhausted after spending several hours inside an aircraft and prefer to get some sleep before your next flight, there are comfortable sleeping lounge chairs available in the airports across the world. A few are paid though, but people don’t mind paying extra to avail the comfortable sleeping chairs for themselves for a few hours of sleep. You can also opt for YOTEL facilities, which are accommodations within the airport terminals. London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol airports have this facility for travelers. It not only helps you to relax, but also rejuvenates you for your next long flight.
In Conversation with other travelers
The airports give you the fare opportunity to meet like-minded people who share the same passion of travelling like yours. You not only meet strangers who turn out to be your co-travelers to the same destination, but also sometime develop great friendships at the airports itself. I still remember the co-traveler whom I met during the Mumbai to Dubai flights and instantly got connected due to a few hours delay of our flight. I love indulging in conversations with people around me at the airport. It not only helps me to spend quality time, but also in exchange, makes me aware about a lot of things about people, destinations, and different cultures.
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