Layovers can be a mixed blessing – sometimes they’re an opportunity for adventure, while other times they’re just a frustrating delay. But fear not, weary traveler! We’re here to help you navigate the world of layovers like a pro, from understanding what they are to conquering the most common challenges and making the most of your extended airport stay.

What is a Layover?

A layover is that limbo between flights where you find yourself stranded at an airport. These pauses in your journey can range from a quick hour to an overnight ordeal, and they might be a planned part of your itinerary or a surprise delay. Planning can help you survive a long layover more comfortably.

What are common challenges during layovers?

Layovers can be challenging for several reasons:

  • Boredom: Airports aren’t exactly known for their thrilling attractions.
  • Discomfort: Ever tried to sleep soundly on a row of bolted-together chairs? Yeah, not ideal.
  • Lack of resources: Unless you packed your entire life in your carry-on, you might find yourself craving fresh clothes, a real toothbrush, or just anything that’s not overpriced airport snacks.

But don’t despair! There are plenty of ways to survive a long layover and make it more enjoyable.

A young woman traveler stressed out sitting on a bench.

Tips for Making the Most of a Long Layover

But wait! Before you start counting ceiling tiles, remember layovers can be an adventure if you play your cards right.

Airport Survival Strategies

  • Get connected: Free airport WiFi is your lifeline. Stay entertained, work, or keep loved ones updated on your delay saga as a way to pass the time.
  • Seek the lounge: For more comfort, an airport lounge pass can be a lifesaver. We’ll cover those in more detail later.
  • HotelsByDay to the rescue: If a full-on nap is desperately needed, leave the airport for a few hours at a near by day-use airport hotel.

Exploring Airport Amenities and Services

Don’t underestimate your surroundings! Many airports are like mini-cities these days:

  • Spas: Stressed? Pamper yourself with a pre-flight massage.
  • Movie theaters: Some airports even offer mini movie theaters to catch a flick.
  • Quirky finds: From art exhibits to butterfly gardens, you never know what hidden gems your layover airport might hold!

Making Use of Airport Lounges During Layovers

If you crave a quiet refuge, airport lounges are like an oasis in the chaos. The LoungeBuddy app will be your trusty sidekick for finding them. Some offer showers, comfy nooks, and even hot meals. It could be the difference between sanity and a full-on airport meltdown.

Use HotelsByDay Day Use Rooms

Need a serious shut-eye session or a refreshing shower? Don’t underestimate the power of booking a hotel room for just a few hours or the day. HotelsByDay is your go-to website that caters to weary travelers stuck in layovers.

lady relaxing in hotel bed with sheet pulled up to her face

How to Stay Comfortable During a Lengthy Airport Stop

  • Seek nap zones: Many international airports offer designated rest areas or even sleep pods for your stopover. If all else fails, hunt for the least crowded corner and get creative.
  • Emergency kit: Pack an “oops, I’m here longer than expected” mini-bag in your carry-on with travel-size toiletries, an eye mask, and earplugs. You’ll thank yourself later.

How to explore the city during a layover?

Feeling adventurous? A layover can be your ticket to a mini-city break! But timing is EVERYTHING. A lot of layovers occur in airports that are located in larger cities such as New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

    • The 6-hour rule: At a minimum, you need a 6-hour layover to make this work (factoring in time to get to/from the city and re-clearing security).
    • Know your airport: Check the airport’s website or look into city tours designed for those on layovers.

Bridging a layover at Embassy Suites By Hilton LAX affords you the use of all the amenities as well as a productive room to work and relax.

Entertainment and Relaxation

Alright, so you’ve decided to embrace the layover life and stay put in the airport. No worries, because we’ve got plenty of ideas to keep you entertained! There are tons of ways to beat boredom and make the most of your time.

What to do during a long layover at the airport?

  1. Bookworm delight: Nothing banishes boredom like a captivating book. Pack a page-turner or download an ebook or audiobook to your phone.
  2. Game on: Simple mobile games can be surprisingly addictive time-killers.
  3. Mindfulness break: Stressed? Apps like Calm or Headspace offer guided meditations to bring on some zen.

How to get some exercise during a layover?

  • Stretch it out: Many airports offer walking paths or yoga rooms – a lifesaver if you’ve been cramped in a plane seat for hours.

bored woman sitting and relaxing with feet propped on top of roller luggage in airport terminal

Treat Yourself to Some Airport Pampering

  1. Indulge in a massage from a licensed therapist or visit a full-service airport spa.
  2. Many airports offer nail salons with a classic mani/pedi or try the robotic manicure option. You can also try out trendy red-light therapy for a pre-flight refresh.

Did you know?

Many airports, like Singapore Changi and Dubai International, offer free or low-cost shower facilities to help you freshen up during your layover.

manicure at nail salon

Practical Tips for Layover Management

Now that you’ve got some ideas for making the most of your time, let’s talk logistics. From staying on top of flight updates to navigating multiple layovers, here’s how to master the art of layover management.

How to check for flight updates during a layover?

Don’t get surprised! Check those flight monitors religiously or, better yet, use an app like FlightTracker that’ll send you alerts.

What to do if you have multiple connecting flights during a layover?

Channel your inner travel ninja! Map your journey in advance, familiarize yourself with terminal layouts (airport maps are your friend!), and mentally rehearse your connections. Trust us, a little planning goes a long way.

How to deal with luggage during a long layover?

The magic of baggage handlers (hopefully) means your checked luggage is whisked away to your next flight, making your transit more seamless. But if you have a super long layover and need a change of clothes, check with your airline about retrieving your suitcase. Just remember, packing light is your layover BFF.

Back view of Female tourist looking at flight schedules for checking take off time

Ensuring Your Comfort and Convenience During Layovers

Last but not least, let’s talk about some layover comfort and convenience hacks. From navigating different airport terminals to packing the perfect carry-on, we’ve got some tips to help you make the most of your layover.

Tips for Navigating Different Airport Terminals

Airport terminals can be labyrinths. Download the airport’s app or use online maps to plan your layover like a boss. Pinpoint must-visit spots like restaurants, shops, and lounges for a smooth and stress-free experience.

Managing Your Carry-on Items Efficiently

Pack smart! A well-equipped carry-on is your layover lifeline. Think essentials like a change of clothes, meds, toiletries, and a portable charger to keep your devices juiced.

Choosing the Right Airport Facilities for Your Needs

  • Peace and quiet seekers: Opt for a comfy lounge or day-use hotel room for some shut-eye sanctuary.
  • Traveling with a tribe: Look for family-friendly areas with play spaces and kid-approved eats to keep everyone entertained during a stopover.


So, there you have it! Armed with these tips and a positive attitude, you can transform a layover from a lay-down into a mini-adventure. Embrace the unexpected, conquer those long hours, and most importantly, have fun! Remember, the key to layover mastery is staying informed, prepared, and open to new experiences. Now get out there and explore those airports like a pro!

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Heather Hardy

Heather is an avid writer and reader. When she is not reading all the latest novels on the best sellers lists, she is writing her own content and creative forms. She is also a yoga enthusiast and loves to learn about anything and everything. She looks forward to new writing projects and a good cup of coffee in the morning.