7 Great tips for surviving the dreaded airport long haul layover

We asked Sarah the most travelled globetrotting backpacker and Workawayer we know to pass on a few tips for those long haul layovers…

We’ve all done it; booked the cheapest plane ticket going with the longest layover possible, just to save a few pennies. And while you’re patting yourself on the back when handing over your credit card, you’re wondering why on earth you made that decision when you are 3 hours into a 9 hour layover in a country you can’t even pronounce. But you did it, and here you are wandering aimlessly around the airport duty-free hoping to find some inspiration on what to do next. Well, we are glad you found us, here are our top suggestions:

1. See if you can exit the airport

First things first avoid the wasted hours by actually seeing if you can explore the country’s airport you are currently calling your temporary home. The most important thing to check is visas. No visas equal skip to next step. Visa equals head to the luggage storage, freshen up, grab your camera and go outside and see that big world.

2. Ask about airport lounges

Didn’t get the visa? No worries, the next few hours could see you living like somewhat of a king in an airport lounge. All large international airports have them, and they are actually a lot more reasonably priced than you may think. Airport lounges come with showers, snacks, wifi, and comfy chairs and are the ultimate time-wasters paradise. Come on, can you really put a price on a nap and a shower after hours of travel?

3. Head to the Chapel

If that fails, head over to the chapel – available for everyone – for some guaranteed peace and quiet. Bring in a book and let the hours melt away. But don’t forget to keep checking the departure board as there won’t be one inside.

4. Check out the entertainment

Believe it or not, some airport have on-site cinemas, museums and games arcades. Do your research and plan some good old-fashioned fun and games. Long layover in Singapore? Well, aren’t you lucky, you’ve got two 24-hour movie theaters screening the latest blockbusters for free, a rooftop swimming pool and a butterfly garden to keep you busy!

5. Spoil yourself

In need of some R&R? Then why not treat yourself to a (let’s be honest, probably much-needed) massage or a pedicure after those long beach days. More and more airports are opening up salons now to meet demands of tired travellers.

6. Work

For all you travel bloggers and digital nomads lookalike out there, there has never been such a good opportunity to start writing up that blog or finish up some of your work you’ve been meaning to do. In fact, this could be a blessing in disguise with no distractions and little else to do. Same goes to any traveller that works online (go you!)

7. Chow down

If all else fails, go and eat yourself silly, connect to the wifi and Snapchat it all (you know, just to show you are still travelling). Don’t forget you’ll need the local currency though. Find yourself in Dallas airport? They’ve got four BBQ spots (including Ft. Worth legend Cousin’s), eight Mexican spots (Urban Taco, Pappasitos’ Cantina). eight bars (Belgian Beer Cafe), plus Sky Canyon from Dallas legend Stephan Pyles, and even a damn cereal restaurant.

So now you’ve eaten, been for a massage, written an epic blog post and made some new friends it’s time to hop on your flight. If you haven’t missed it from all the ‘time wasting’ you’ve been doing that is! Happy travels!

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About Sarah

Sarah helps with the Workaway blog. She left her secure job and daily routine in the UK 5 years ago to pursue a life of volunteering and travel. Throughout her work as a freelance writer and scuba ins... show more...

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