There are many flight deals that include very long layovers. I’ve had friends recently have 16 hours in Paris and 28 hours in Dubai. I had an 8 hour layover in Paris once on my way to Egypt and my girlfriends opted to stay in the airport. At the time I had never been to Paris and there was no way I was going to spend 8 hours sitting around an airport and neither should you. Whether you have a few hours or over a day, here are 5 ways to make your layover have meaning.
- Take a tour
- Explore on public transportation.
- Rent a car.
- Get a massage.
- Buy a day pass at a lounge.
How to maximize a layover
1. TAKE A TOUR
If exploring a new city on your own is a bit daunting to you, book a tour a head of time. There are tours in almost every city and this way you can see some of the city but have the comfort of having a guide with you. You can be part of a group tour or hire a private tour guide (which will cost a bit more).
How do you get to the tour site? Easy! You can hop in a taxi, use public transportation (if you’re comfortable with that) or use Uber. Have you used Uber before? I highly recommend it. With so many options you will be able to figure out which way is best for you. Or if you’d feel more comfortable having the guide meet you at the airport that can be arranged but that will also cost you extra. I did this in Narita and my tour picked me up and dropped me off at the airport.
2. EXPLORE ON THE BUS
The bus is a great way to see a new city. Check out our adventure in Bratislava on the public bus Most busses have big windows on both sides so if you don’t want to walk around you can sit and enjoy your new surroundings. From many airports across the world you can hop on public transportation and it usually isn’t very expensive. Grab a map from the information desk and you are ready to go.
It doesn’t matter if the map is in a different language, you can still figure it out by looking at the stops on the map and in the bus. You know you’re point of origin is the airport so work from there. No matter what happens you know you need to get back to the airport so even if you get completely turned around you can hop in a taxi and show the map. You then point to the airport on the map and you’re all set.
3. RENT A CAR
Now this may not be possible in every situation but most airports have rental cars at your disposal. I rented a car once when I had a 9 hour layover in Charlotte. I drove around, fell in love with the city and became a resident of the Queen City a year later!
Rental car companies don’t care how long you keep the car as long as it’s paid for. If you have it in your budget, rent a car and drive around at your leisure. This is a good option if you and the people with you have lots of stuff with you. This way you can keep everything in the car while enjoying the city.
4. GET A MASSAGE
If you don’t feel comfortable leaving the airport there are still ways to enjoy your long layover. Many airports have salons where you can get massages, spa treatments, manicures and pedicures. Mind you, these are normally pricier than what you would get at home but if your goal is to relax and not stress about all of the time you have to wait then being pampered is one of the best ways to do that.
When I was in Sri Lanka I had a 30 minute foot massage and another girlfriend had an hour body massage at the airport in Mumbai. There are normally a range of options for you to choose from so you can have exactly what you’d like.
5. BUY A DAY PASS AT A LOUNGE
I had almost 10 hours to kill on my way to Capetown so I bought a day pass while in London Heathrow. I didn’t want to leave the airport so it was nice to be able to relax, have a drink or two and be in a calm environment while I waited for my flight. Most airports have lounges where you can buy entry and if you have a long enough layover it’s completely worth it. NOTE: Some credit cards have free entry to selected lounges, please check to see if you qualify for any of those benefits.