Long stopovers on airports
Have you ever spent countless hours in despair stuck at an airport? I have. Many times. And trust me when I say this, airports are one of the most exhaustive places to be. You cannot leave the place. People are running in all directions. You cannot just lie down and relax. There are constant announcements. You are under vigilance all the time. In short, long stopovers are daunting. But don’t worry! I am listing some amazing ways to survive these long hauls at airports without pulling your hair out in frustration.
1. Explore the city
This option only works when you have at least 6-8 hours. We spent a few hours in Istanbul after buying transit visa at the airport. I know it might not be enough to really see the city but is still better than being stuck at the airport for 8 hours! If your delay is even longer, it is already a mini holiday for you. I know that Icelandair sometimes provides free layover in Iceland for even a week to flights from USA to Europe. But please keep this in mind that airports are generally far out from the city. So plan your arrival time well in advance!
Many airlines offer free newspaper to their travelers. Otherwise just bring/buy a book. Read. Be it a book, magazine or newspaper. Just read!
Many international airports provide free wifi. Make use of it and spend your time browsing news, social media or whatever you like. While you are at it, charge up your phone and camera batteries if you could not do it before.
4. Window shopping
Explore the duty-free and local souvenirs! Figure out the items that are cheaper at duty-free compared to outside stores.
5. Or real Shopping
We usually buy some alcohol or sweets from airports. Reason being that we are allowed a maximum of only 2 bottles of alcohol (if any) in check-in luggage. So, we buy two additional ones at the airport duty-free as gifts when visiting friends and family.
6. Get some work done
I know, I know. It sounds boring. But it is very effective for people like me, who have a full-time job, maintain a blog, love to travel and being social. These are some bonus hours to finish something and be relaxed when you are at your destination.
7. Last chance at local delicacies
Enjoy the local delicacies at the airport. By the way, did you know there is a beer garden at Munich international airport? Disclaimer: The picture above is from Freiburg beer garden. I will not fall victim of Bavarian and Non-Bavarian beer battles. 😀
8. Netflix/Movie on/off-screen
Let’s admit it, this is probably the most entertaining and easy time pass. So, boost up your laptops and get ready for some serious movie time. By they way, did you hear that you can download some of the Netflix movies and TV series. Some airports like Hongkong and Changi airport Singapore have cinema theaters at the airport for the travelers.
9. Observing people
I think we have all seen these silly games in TV and movies where you see a person and try to make up a story about their day, their life, their backgrounds. People gazing is fun but do it without being creepy! Sadly, airports have become one of the most anxious places now. So you might not want to get in any trouble by staring at someone specifically.
Many international airports provide sleeping pods for a peaceful sleep during your long stopover. Check the airport website and see if they provide this facility (and how much it costs).
11. Clean the wallets
You were not expecting this one, were you? Bring out those receipts you always keep in your wallet because you don’t know what else to do with it. Those visiting cards you know you will never use. Get rid of all the unnecessary stuff from your wallet.
12. Call/ catch up/ reply to emails and messages
It becomes difficult in our busy life to plan everything and find time for our closed ones. Got some extra minutes/hours at the airport? Call a friend you have been meaning to call forever but could not call. Or your mom and ask her about her day. Message your siblings and ask for their shopping list.
When you are done with calls/emails, buy a nice postcard and surprise someone by sending it to them. In this digital age, the charm of receiving a paper mail with a hand-written message is a luxury. Be that friend!
14. Socialize with other travelers
Facebook, Twitter search for more travelers or other exciting people. Long stopovers are the best places to have coffee/beer together, know about each other. What about a quick Tinder date? Or just a casual hangout with other cool people around you.
15. Prepare for your destination
Ask yourself if you have all the information needed for your destination. Find some information online. Try getting ready for the timezone or weather changes. How to reach from airport to your destination? Where to eat out tonight? Where is the closest ATM? I never tried it but I guess you can also ask the airport staff/cabin crew.
16. Stare at the screen and note down destinations
Airport is a place where you have unlimited ideas about your next travel destinations. Check out the destination boards and note down places you might want to visit sometime.
17. Plan your next holiday
Now that you have noted down places you might go, take it a step further and find out more about those places. Check the best time to get cheap flights using Skyscanner. Check what you can do in/around the cities. Search for the local food and drinks. Slowly, you are getting yourself a new travel plan my friend. Isn’t it awesome to plan your travel when you are at a stopover for another travel?
Check out my article about, How to plan your next holiday
18. Buy access to the lounge!
One easy way to make the long stopover relaxing is to buy the lounge access at the airport. Check out what are the services available at the lounge and get yourself treated with a relaxing massage and soothing music. Of course, the facilities available will depend upon the airport and lounge.
19. Get a trolley ride
A fun activity I learned recently from a fellow blogger couple Bruised Passport, is to take trolley rides at airports. Sounds fun, right! But of course, be careful and don’t bump into other people or cause any other kind of inconvenience to others.
20. Hobby your way out
In every day fast life, we do not find enough time to do what we love. Well, here is your bonus time. Write, sketch, draw, do whatever pleases your heart. Do not forget to name and time-stamp it as a souvenir from the airport.
Long stopovers can be very irritating and tiring if not planned before. Always remember to check the airport website before. Have a quick search on the website about the services and facilities provided. Check out what shopping or dining options they have. Find out the conditions for a transit visa and if you can apply for it on the airport (or before the trip already).
Now tell me your secrets. How do you manage long stopovers? Anything from the list or do you have some other cool way? Leave your answers below 🙂
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