How to Survive an Airport Layover

By Aussie on the Road on  6 Comments
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The airport layover inspires different reactions depending on who you talk to and where their layover happens to be. Me? Unless I’m touching down in the dog’s abortion that is Guangzhou’s Baiyun Airport, I’m usually pretty excited for the opportunity to stretch my legs, spray on some deodorant, and eat something that doesn’t come shrouded in tin foil.

This week, as I’m off in Dubai risking life and limb in the pursuit of a story, Jess from Tripelio has a few handy suggestions to make a layover bearable even if you aren’t in the layover heaven that is Dubai or Singapore’s Changi Airport.

How to Survive an Airport Layover

Let’s face it, sitting in an airport during a layover is not the most fun part about traveling – but it can be! These tips and tricks will help you have fun and get through that nasty layover and have a few more stories for when you arrive to your destination.

Relax, relax, relax!

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This is probably a no brainer, but there are plenty of relaxation methods that people don’t know are available in airports. Most airports have a VIP lounge for you to relax in. There are typically better bathrooms here as well as comfier seating areas. Some places even have beds and showers. If you have an extended layover, then take a nap in one of these fine lounges across the world.

Typically, if you travel a lot, you can pay an annual fee for the amenities these lounges offer. But if you’re on the go and don’t travel by plane often, you can also pay a one time daily fee for most lounges. After you grab something to eat or drink, why not go watch some Netflix and take a nap? If your destination is outside of the US, you may need to unblock it, as there are geographical restrictions. Lounges are like hotels attached to airports – how fun!

Go sightseeing

If your layover is a few hours long, why not take a cab to a nearby restaurant and taste a bit of the local cuisine and culture of the temporary destination you’re in? Instead of staying inside, you can explore the city and be able to tell people you went to a certain place! You may not have time to go see a whole museum, but you do probably have an empty stomach and a craving for a small adventure!

If you can’t get a cab, download an app like Lyft or Uber to catch a cheaper ride from a local resident. You may be able to learn a thing or two from them and where you can get the best food from before your next flight!

Maybe you’re in Amsterdam and have a super long layover that exceeds 6 hours. Check out Amsterdam’s 3-hour Transit City tours and get a glimpse of where you are before you leave.

Burn some calories


Since you have the VIP lounges at you fingertips, you’re able to get in a workout and a shower before your nap. Thanks to these lounges, many things can be made possible for you during long layovers. Airports are quite large due to the many ports and millions of people who fly ever year. There are also many areas that are wide open and away from tons of people.

Whether you’re power walking a few miles around the airport or you’re doing crunches, sit-ups or push-ups, you’re able to get in your daily workout during your vacation travel time. As most fitness people say, “no excuses!” You have a broad area to work with, so it should be pretty easy to keep on track with your workout schedule. You can use the more empty waiting areas to work out and most people won’t notice you, depending on the time of day.

Play games

This seems weird, but there are an array of different types of games you can play whether they’re on your phone or with other people. If you want to play people watching games there are a ton to choose from!

  • Mad lib

Have you and a friend look at someone having a conversation and try to guess what silly things they could be saying!

  • Where’s Waldo?

Make a list of ridiculous clothing items and try to find people wearing them! It could be a never-ending hunt as you make your way through the airport.

  • Phone games

I love playing games on my phone and I’m a fan of many genres. Top picks for airport layovers are: Trivia Crack, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, Shade spotter and more! Don’t forget to log your travels in the form of pictures on Instagram!


As you can see, waiting around on a layover really isn’t so boring. Utilize all the time you have on your hands to create the most fun possible. Whether you want to keep it relaxed or have a bit more of an adventurous time, these are all possible! All you have to do is plan your layover – it can be just as much fun as your destination.

Aussie on the Road’s Favourites

In addition to Jess’ tips, I thought I’d throw a few out there as well. I’m no stranger to the long layover, but for the most part I’ve managed to enjoy them.

Except when in Guangzhou. Such a fucking toilet.

Be Productive

I find I’m at my most inspired and my most productive when I’m not around a PC. No problem! If my iPad or iPhone battery isn’t too low, I like to whip out my favourite device (this all sounds very phallic) and tap out a few blog ideas, plot out my novel, or even indulge in a little bit of airport poetry.

If you’re not as tech reliant as I am, it pays to pack a notebook and pen into your carry on. If you’ve got a few hours to kill, you might as well use them on something more productive than navel gazing.

Eat, Drink, and Leech WiFi

I’m going to take a moment here to boast about the fact I’ve lost 12kgs and dropped two jean sizes since I got home last August, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally indulge my inner fat-boy and pig out.

Any airport worth its salt is going to have a few decent restaurant options on offer, and I like to scout out something new and make up for the (usually) horrible airline food I’ve just endured. A couple of beers can be a great nerve settler too.

The biggest reason I dine at the airport, though? Most restaurants have WiFi that you’re entitled to use with a purchase. I bounced between three restaurants in Bangkok Airport, going on a bit of a world food tour while also checking my Facebook and Instagram feeds.

Make a Friend

People in the airport can be a bit crabby at times, but I’ve met and engaged with some really fascinating people in my travels all the same. Once you’re through customs and away from the frantic duty free shopping, it’s easy to spot a similarly bored individual and strike up a conversation.


I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve made any fast friends in the departure lounge, but I’ve met some interesting characters and even managed to get my flirt on a time or two. It’s a fun way to pass the time.

Your Say

What are your tips for surviving a lengthy layover?

Featured image by weisserstier

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