Make the Most of Your Layover

Layovers can feel like the bane of your existence. All you want is to get from point A to B, but sometimes budgets require a stop halfway to your destination. There are ways to make the most of your layovers—ways that don’t include flipping through the same four applications on your phone for hours at a time. Try the following to shake yourself out of the layover blues.

1. Get the Blood Pumping

Some airports, like Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), have fitness centers that allow you to hop on the elliptical or lift some weights. Moving your body following time in a cramped seat will help wake you up, giving you the strength to endure the final hours of your connecting flight.

If there are no fitness centers around, stretching will be your best bet for working out the cramped-seat discomfort. Whip out a yoga mat, or take a brisk walk or jog around the airport. For those who are more low-key, twist and stretch in your chair. Move slowly, working out every kink, and feel the tension leave your body.

2. Sleep it Out

Airplane seats can make napping a challenge. Airport terminal furniture be even harder to relax in. But some airports offer alternatives to fixed chairs. In airports such as Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Minute Suites are available to rent out for a nap. With a daybed sofa, fresh pillow and blankets and a sound-masking system, you can have the perfect nap in the middle of chaos.

3. Play a Game or Two

For those travelling with colleagues, conversation may eventually dwindle after five hours of sitting shoulder-to-shoulder. This silence can lead to boredom, and eventually favoring our phones over face-time. To keep you all entertained, pack a board game or deck of cards to pull out while waiting for your next flight. You can even invite strangers to participate—making friends at the gate has never been easier.

4. Explore the City

If you have multiple hours before boarding time, explore the city you’re in. Research restaurants and landmarks in advance, as well as shuttles to and from the airport, then sneak out on an adventure. If you have any say in where your layover is, choose a city you’ve been wanting to check out or know nothing about. You won’t be cooped up inside an airport, and you won’t mind the extra hours it takes to reach your final destination.

5. Pair a Meal and Drink

Those nicer restaurants with the bar in front are popular for a reason. Fast food may be convenient and easy to bring back to your seat, but if you have the time, why not stop in? Ask what the waiters recommend, then ask the bartender what drink pairs nicely with it. You’ll feel healthier dining on a chicken salad rather than multiple orders of waffle fries.

6. Call a Friend

When was the last time you called your mother? Best friend? Sure, there’s texting—but when was the last time you had a full conversation sans emojis? Call somebody and catch up. Genuinely ask what’s going on in their lives and share what’s happening in yours. Sometimes we forget how long a good conversation can continue on for, and it will make an hour fly by without counting the minutes. Not only are you passing the time, you’re also boosting your mood and probably making your grandmother’s day.