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How to Kill Time During a Long Layover

person looking though telescope at city

Sometimes, its inevitable: a layover. It’s not everyones cup of tea, especially if it is many hours in between flights! But, we’ve got you covered with our list of how to kill time during a long layover.

A long layover can really put a damper on your vacation vibes, especially when traveling internationally. You might not know what time, or even day it is!

Should you sleep? Eat? Where am I and what day is it?!

It can be helpful to view layovers as an opportunity to get a feel for the culture in the new city or country you are in. While you might not be able to leave, every airport has different things to offer!

We have had plenty of long layovers (some even 10+ hours!), so here we will share some of the best ways to pass time during a long layover!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Long Layover Hacks

Head to the Lounge

Woman in black blazer holding teacup while sits on black sofa

If you have 5+ hours to spend at the airport, you should treat yourself like royalty! Almost every airport has an exclusive lounge, but it comes at a cost.

However, one of  the best hacks airports don’t want you to know is that many credit card companies and airline cards offer free or discounted entry into the lounge! Check with the airport lounge to see if you can get any discounts!

Additionally, plan ahead. Groupon often offers discounts to airport lounges, so check before your vacation!

Airport lounges are a dream come true. We have only been to one, but it is so worth the cost. The one we went to had:

  • Free unlimited drinks (and alcohol)
  • Free unlimited buffets for every meal, and snacks
  • Private bathrooms and showers
  • Couches to sleep on
  • Wi-Fi, coffee station, variety of seating, and more!

This is a great place when dealing with jet lag, and will help you to refresh yourself!

Get Moving!

fitness center inside airport

Another item on our list of how to kill time during a long layover (and healthiest), is to get some exercise in! After sitting on a plane for hours, the last thing your body wants is to sit down some more. 

Now, some will say they don’t want to look silly doing squats or running up and down the terminal. Well, some airports now have gyms and workout centers of their own!

Be sure to check out your layover airports to see if there are workout centers!

If not, try finding a quiet or empty terminal or corner, and do some light exercises like squats, lunges, toe raises, and stretches. Take a few laps around the terminal, and your body will thank you!

Getting some exercise in will also help your body be less restless on the flight, making it a great tip for how to actually sleep on an airplane!

Have a meal

Tables at restaurant

I know, airports don’t have the best food- but they try! I am always surprised by how many restaurants there are in airports nowadays.

Why not kill some time by having a nice meal? I suggest going somewhere you can sit down to eat, rather than fast food. Having a waiter will buy you some more time, and you can relax and have a regular restaurant experience.

I don’t suggest, however, eating something brand new for the first time. No one wants tummy troubles on a plane…

Instead, opt for food your body is used to. Try to eat something healthy, full of protein, and fresh. This will help your body in surviving long flights.

Reading a book can sometimes be difficult in a loud and crowded airport. How to kill time during a long layover? Listen to a good audiobook! Pop in those headphones, close your eyes, and enjoy a relaxing story. 

Amazon has some great deals on audiobooks. In fact, they are offering a free one month trial right now on their romance stories!

Amazon also has an awesome 6, 12, or 24 month Kindle Unlimited membership plan. Better yet- you get your first month free! 

Audiobooks are a great way to take up some time, and you can even listen while getting some steps in around the terminal! 

Get Refreshed & Comfy

soap and towel on table

You’re going to be here for awhile, so might as well get comfortable!

Especially if you had long flight previously, you might feel like you want to freshen up. 

If you’ve read any of our previous posts, you know I am a huge fan of personal health pouches, and they are a great way to help with surviving long flights.

Basically, bring a small pouch full of all the things that help you feel refreshed a revived. Here are some examples:

Whatever you put in your personal health pouch is up to you! Think small items, for easy packing. 

While you’re at it, change into something comfy if you aren’t already!

Go Shopping!

woman with ripped jeans holding shopping bags

Darn, guess you have to go shopping!

Shopping is another great activity on our list of how to kill time during a long layover . There are so many shops in airports now, its practically like a mall!

Hit up the duty free shop too, for extra savings!

Try not to go overboard, especially if you are tight on packing room. However, check out this the best hacks airports don’t want you to know for the secret to getting extra baggage on the plane!

Even if you don’t buy anything, you can still kill a couple of hours perusing the gift shops, trying on wacky outfits, and window shopping at the luxury stores.

Buy a new book or magazine

person reading book

Buying a new book or magazine is another solution to how to kill time during a long layover.

Buying a new book or magazine is also a unique way to pass time on an airplane.

Maybe there has been a book you’ve been wanting to read, or a topic you are interested in learning more about.

This is a great time to stop buy the book store in the terminal and pick up some interesting reading material.

If you are worried about them being overpriced, plan ahead of time and buy yourself something new to read before you get to the airport. No peaking!

Another fun game to play is to have you and your partner or family all pick out the weirdest book or magazine. Then, compare to see who found the strangest one!

Buy cards or a game

person holding fan of playing cards

A simple deck of cards can bring you hours of fun! Bring your own deck, or buy new cards at the gift shop as a souveneir. 

Here is a list of a ton of games you can play with just a deck of cards! Or, make up your own game!

If you get bored of cards, or simply do not like card games, see if you can find an interesting game at one of the gift shops. 

Gift shops often sell hand held games, which can give you something to do both at the airport, and on the plane.

Get out!

person looking though telescope at city

Sometimes it is hard to remember that you aren’t, in fact, stuck at the airport. If you have enough time during your layover, get out and explore!

Many airports now offer tours (for free!) that leave and return from the airport!

The tour is dependent on the length of your layover, but, if you have some hours to spare, why not get out and experience a new city or country!

Make sure you plan ahead to make reservations, and so you don’t miss your flight!

Be Productive

Person using macbook

This was saved for last on the list of how to kill time during a long layover because, well, its boring!

However, a long layover can be a great time to catch up on some work you’ve been putting off.

Maybe you have some emails to respond to, phone calls to return, or school work to finish up. Why not make this time productive, and feel less stress when you return home!

Thank you for reading how to kill time during a long layover ! If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment below!

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About the Author

Hello!

My name is Erica Sailor and I am the creator and developer of My World Sights! I love traveling the world with my husband and sharing what we learn along the way! Read More

Erica Sailor

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