Today’s hub-and-spoke model of air transportation means that the chances are good you will have at least one layover on your next domestic flight. Whether you stop in Denver or Atlanta, Dallas or Chicago, there is a strong likelihood that you will be spending some of your time at the airport killing time. Worry not, though, as you can actually use this time to your advantage! Here are several ways to spend your time wisely during your next layover (and if you need more, check out how is technology actually improving your health):
Get Some Exercise
Most modern airports are cumbersome, enormous affairs with acres upon acres of floor space. Some, like Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth, even have their own subway systems, complete with stations. That should tell you something about how large airports have become. But, you can actually put this space to work!
Sitting on a plane for a couple of hours at a time can leave you feeling lethargic, stiff, and sore. Walking a few laps of the airport, stretching, or any number of other airport exercises can help loosen your muscles and joints, and revitalize your energy. Many airports now have yoga rooms as well. If you’re feeling stressed by the trials of modern air travel, nothing will put you at ease like practicing yoga in the middle of your trip.
Go on a Food Tour
Anyone who traveled frequently during the 1990s can tell you that the airport food scene was a bit lackluster. Typically, your options were either McDonald’s, Burger King, or Pizza Hut – all national chains, and all uniformly mediocre. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.
Foodies will find that the “Eat Local” food trend has found its way to airports across the country. From San Francisco and San Diego on the West Coast to New York on the East, if you want to experience the best food that a city has to offer, in many cases, that city’s airport is now your best bet!
You would think that sitting in a chair for a couple of hours would make you feel relaxed, but when that chair is inside of an airplane next to 100 other identical chairs, it tends to have the opposite effect! If you are feeling stressed out or tired, pamper yourself at one of the many great spas popping up in airport terminals across the country. From facials to massages, you will find that decompressing from a long flight – and prepping yourself for the next leg of your journey – has never been easier (or more enjoyable).
Netflix and Chill
Let’s be honest: many of us pop out our mobile devices as soon as the outer door on the airplane is opened. And that’s okay! After all, modern smartphones and tablets are do-everything-go-everywhere devices. They’re really, really handy. So if you decide to plop down and watch the latest episode of “The Bachelor,” we won’t judge you for it!
However, if you do decide to catch up on your favorite TV shows and movies, consider avoiding the often slow airport Wi-Fi. Carriers like T-Mobile, with its rather innovativeBinge-On program, make it possible to stream movies and television shows from your iPad or iPhone 6s without burning through your data. And it means that you don’t have to fill up your internal storage with movies either.
Wash your face, use the restroom, brush your teeth, floss, and even consider shaving. We assure you, nothing makes you feel fresh and ready to go like freshening up. Perhaps that’s why it’s called “freshening” up in the first place! You will feel ready to take on the world, and won’t have to cringe on the inside every time you catch your reflection in a window or mirror.
Leave the Airport!
If you have a long layover, don’t make the mistake of sleeping in the terminal. You will wake up looking and feeling like someone who slept in an airport terminal! Instead, explore the city. In some cases, it might be your only opportunity to see what that city has to offer. Many of us will never make the effort to visit Kansas City or St. Louis, to say nothing of smaller towns like Bozeman and Boise. So if the opportunity presents itself, take advantage! To truly make the most of your day-trip in your new city, consider booking a rental for the night on AirBnB. Skip the hotels and live locally, even if only for an evening.
Airports Don’t Have to Feel Claustrophobic
Nobody likes layovers. But you might be surprised to find just how tolerable they can be with a little bit of luck, effort, and ingenuity on your part. Instead of bemoaning the stops on your itinerary, look at them as opportunities – opportunities to try new foods, see new places, catch up on movies, and spend some time pampering yourself. Heed these tips and you’ll never look at a layover the same way again!