We all know the crippling anxiety that can come with an airport layover. Immediately you start worrying about what to do if your iPhone battery dies or you run out of movies on your laptop. Unfortunately layovers are a common, unavoidable and sometimes a soul-zapping part of travel. But they don’t have to be. With just a hint of preparation, your next layover could unlock a whole new world of transitory-fun times.
Whether you’re bunkering down for a long stop or simply passing through, these are the fifteen best ways to own airport living. Enjoy!
1.Exercise: One of the best ways to kill time and beat the “layover lethargy” is by exercising. Whether you commit to a yoga session in San Francisco Airport or hit up the famous G-Force Health Club at Dubai International Airport, it will pay dividends. If you can’t access an actual gym, then just improvise – a quick Google will list a bunch of airport exercises.
2. App, App & Away: There’s no denying that Candy Crush, Angry Bird and DoodleJump are among the greatest inventions of our time. Thanks to the advent of the smart phone we can now have access to thousands of games, right in our pocket.
3. Get Pampered: Flying is dehydrating and often you’ll come off a long-haul flight and find you look eerily like a prune. A quick pampering can fix that right up. New York’s JFK airport is famous for its XpresSpa, serving up 90-minute spa sessions including deep-moisturising facials. Closer to home, OM Spa in Hong Kong’s airport offers everything from tamarind body scrubs to hot stone massages.
4.Shop: When in doubt, bust the credit card out. Retail therapy can be just what the transit doctor ordered when you’re stuck in an airport. Heathrow Airport in London is the third busiest airport in the world – more foot traffic means more customers and they’ve acted accordingly. There’s everything from high street couture to quirky vintage shops. Fashion meets flying – spend up!
5.Get a Cuddle from Puppies: Can you think of anything more adorable then being greeted by a puppy after you’ve just spent 45 hours on a plane? Los Angeles’ LAX is home to the world’s first “PUP” (Pets Unstressing Passengers) program. Dogs wearing vests that read “pet me” are taken around by guides to cuddle up to weary travellers. The best thing ever? Correct.
6. It’s Your duty, to Go Duty Free: The consumer capital of the world – Dubai – claims to have the best airport for savings. Dubai Duty Free is a 24-hour tax-free mall with over 30 superstores offering brands at discounted rates.
7. Airport Pub Crawl: Sometimes the best way to deal with a layover is to drown your sorrows. You’ll be surprised how time flies when you’re sinking brews. Don’t have too much, but enough to take the edge off will work wonders.
8.Knock up a Facebook album: You know those five thousand pictures of you standing in front of a famous European statue? Use your airport down time to create the ultimate Facebook holiday album. Let’s be honest, when else are you going to do it?
9. Catch up on Emails: It’s boring and kind of depressing, but what better way to embrace the post-holiday blues then by immersing yourself in a world of emails.
10.Hit a Hole in One: FORE! Imagine being able to fire off nine holes while you wait to board your connecting flight? Hong Kong airport has a fully functioning golf course. Meanwhile in Seoul they’ve got a putting range to help sharpen your short game.
11. Day Trippin’: If you’re looking down the barrel of a super long-layover then it’s best to plan ahead and organise a day trip. Getting out of the airport and into the city will help make the entire process bearable, while also adding another fun chapter to your journey. So where to go? Well, London is just 15 minutes by train from Heathrow while Venice Beach is a half hour from LAX.
12. Get Your Culture Fix: There is nothing more impressive than using your layover to up your cultural cache. Visit a museum, take in an art exhibition – expand your mind while killing time! Amsterdam’s airport is home to Rijksmuseum Schiphol, which houses paintings by Dutch masters.
At Heathrow you’ll find the T5 gallery, a commercial space exhibiting work from both famous faces and up-and-coming Brits. Meanwhile, Denver International Airport has put such an emphasis on its exhibitions that it offers free walking tours for people who aren’t even travelling!
13. Move Into the Airport Forever and Become a Cult Hero: Who can forget the famous tale of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian refugee who spent 15 years living in Charles De Gaulle airport. His story was later turned into a movie – The Terminal – starring Tom Hanks. So it’s not all bad?
14. Hit Up the Hotels: You might actually consider yourself lucky if your layover takes place at night. Book a hotel close by, pop open the mini-bar and live it up! Most airports will have accommodation they can recommend. A decent sleep in an actual bed will make the layover seem like nothing but a dream.
15. Take a nap in a cabin: Heathrow airport is home to the cabin hotel, Yotel. If you need a cheaper alternative to a hotel this is the place. The standard cabins are 7sq but have all the luxuries you need including a bed, bathroom, TV and Wi-Fi.
When you’ve been traveling for hours, the last thing you want to do is doddle around the airport but a short or long layover could be a good time to catch up on things you wouldn’t normally do in your day to day. Just make the best out of it. If you have any ideas to add to this list, let us know.
Feeling inspired to travel? Visit Scoopon for travel deals.