Long layovers: They're not the kind of thing one looks forward to when it comes to a vacation. However, they are a normal part of travel and something that many travelers do deal with on a normal basis. Just because a flight includes a long layover - or the option for one - doesn't mean it needs to be a vacation downer, though. These long flight stops can actually add to one's vacation, especially if they're in a place, or an airport, that's known for its amenities and attractions.

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So, the next time a long layover is part of the flight plan, fear not - here's a guide on how to make the most so that these stops benefit travelers.

Related: 10 Exciting Things To Do During A Long Layover In Lisbon

Consider Turning A Long Layover Into An Overnight Layover

It might sound crazy but it's actually pretty genius. The problem with many layovers is that they're given during awkward time frames. Sometimes, a long layover will be four hours which leaves little time to do much more than circling the airport. Other times, it could be a layover that's six to eight hours, which means a traveler could leave the airport - but might not make it back in time for their flight. All of this goes to say that the layover can set the tone for the overall mood of the trip, and spending hours in the boarding area is definitely not something that a traveler wants to do when their final destination is within reach.

In order to combat hours of boredom and restlessness, travelers might want to consider turning their long layover into an overnight layover. This will give travelers the opportunity to relax, take a breather, and potentially explore the city in which their layover is. And yes, one can absolutely leave the airport during a layover period!

Some tips for long layovers:

  • Consider booking a hotel within the airport (if there is one) for easy access when returning from any adventures outside of the airport.
  • Do research beforehand to determine what tourist attractions are around the airport and which ones are within walking or a short driving distance.
  • Hold off on the car rental, Uber, and taxis, and see what's in the immediate area - consult the airport staff as well for suggestions on what to do.
  • Research the airport beforehand and see if there's anything interesting to do there, such as a museum, shopping, or fun restaurants to scope out.
  • If the option is there, avoid an early-morning flight to provide extra time to get one's bearings in the morning - or grab a bite to eat beforehand.
  • If possible, consider a layover in a city that's interesting so it functions as somewhat of a double-vacation!

If An Overnight Layover Isn't An Option, Consider How To Make Use Of The Time In Between

While an overnight layover is ideal for those who want to explore the country they're temporarily staying in limbo, it's not entirely necessary. Those who have a layover of three hours or more might be able to comfortably leave the airport and return in plenty of time, especially if there are walkable attractions nearby. The best way to plan this is to find an airport that's in the middle - or as close to the middle - of a city as possible, but just be wary about these things:

  • Return time: Missing one's flight is never an option!
  • How long it will take to check-in: If it's a big flight with a long line, it's better to be there earlier rather than later.
  • Traffic in a city: On foot, this might not be an issue, but for those using a taxi service, pay attention to heavy traffic around the airport.
  • Size of the airport: Avoid having to run to the gate if the airport is massive.

The other option is to book a layover at an airport that has enough amenities to keep one busy for a while! For example, Narita Airport in Tokyo is arguably one of the best for long layovers. With an incredible range of restaurants and shopping, along with services and lounges, one could spend days there without being inconvenienced. There are even showers for those who face flight delays or are looking to freshen up in between flights!

Layovers don't need to be a drag when flying, especially if one takes the time to research the airport and surrounding area beforehand. They can be a source of exploration and adventure for travelers, especially if the layover allows the time for one to walk around or do things they typically wouldn't.

Next: Layover In Singapore? 10 Things To Do In Only 12 Hours