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Two Young Tourists Waiting At The Station during a long layover

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With many hotels and travel destinations open again, people are packing their bags and taking to the friendly skies, catching up on all of those missed vacations from the last two years. However, many are facing the moment of getting to the airport only to find their flight canceled. Simple Flying reports that in just the first half of 2022 there were already more flights canceled than in all of 2021. Some get the news of a canceled flight while still at home, so it’s easy to adjust. However, if your flight gets canceled during a layover, you could find yourself stuck at an airport for a while. So are ways to make the most of a long layover.

 

Find A Nap Zone

Portrait of a young Afro woman napping on the sofa due to sore throat

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Some airports have sleep pods and mini-suites that you can rent by the hour to catch up on some Z’s. In fact, many major airports have these, including New York City’s John F. Kennedy International, Philadelphia International, Dallas/Fort Worth International and Washington Dulles International. These are private, lockable accommodations that might have a few other amenities like a desk or shower where you can get some secluded R&R and try to battle jet lag in advance.

 

Get Into A VIP Lounge

Colleagues on business travel

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Check your credit card benefits – you might find that you get access to certain airlines’ VIP lounges. And even if you don’t, sometimes the entry fee is only in the range of $25 to $75. If you’re facing a multi-hour layover, it could be worth it. These lounges often feature complimentary buffets, beverages, ultra-comfortable furniture, complimentary Wi-Fi, cable TV, magazines, coffee and more. Plus, they remove you from the loud and chaotic environment of the public spaces of the airport.

 

Leave For A Day Trip

Open Top Bus Tour In The City

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If you have a particularly long layover (think four hours or more) it could be worth it to exit the airport and explore the city you’re in. Just make sure there aren’t any travel restrictions that would keep you from getting back in, like vaccine or passport requirements for re-entry. But, if you have half a day or more, you might as well get out, take a tour of the city, try some local cuisine or enjoy some time in nature before returning to the stuffy airport.

 

Work Out

Beautiful young woman with coffee on moving staircase

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You can use the airport terminal as your personal gym. Do laps around it. Find a set of stairs and jog up and down them. Go the wrong way on the escalator. Use a rail for push-ups. You might even find that there is a gym or yoga studio inside of your airport. Here, you can get a little cubby for your belongings and enjoy a shower after you exercise.

 

Sample Some Duty-Free Items

Cancun Airport During The Covid-19 Pandemic

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If you’re in an airport with duty-free shopping, then that probably means one great thing: samples. Go ahead and take those sales associates up on their offers of samples for chocolate, cheese, whiskey and more. Try out some makeup and perfume samples so you look and smell fresh when arriving at your destination.

 

Map Your Trip

African female passenger waiting for flight at airport terminal

Source: HRAUN / Getty

You can take this time to make a detailed itinerary for your final destination, and do some research. If you didn’t have time to do that in advance, this is the perfect opportunity to make some dinner reservations, book some tours and buy some show tickets. You can also take the extra time to research coupons and discounts for your desired activities.

 

What To Pack For A Layover

Wooden toothbrush, plastic free concept

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There are a few items you’ll be glad to have with you for a long layover:

  • Freshen-up toiletries, like face wipes, a travel toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant
  • Snacks. Airport food gets pricey during a multi-hour layover. Be sure to pack tons of non-perishable items like nuts, dried fruit, air-sealed tuna and cracker packs and popcorn.
  • Books on your destination
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Wearable sleeping bag

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