10 Creative Ways To Pass Time At The Airport During A Layover

By Lisa Melillo on March 9 2020 in Travel

Airport layovers can be quite boring but not so if you learn to spend it in some real creative ways.
Airport layovers can be quite boring but not so if you learn to spend it in some real creative ways.
  • Airport restaurants are a great way to sample the area’s cuisine and experience local culture.
  • Many airports now offer free therapy dogs for passengers to pet between flights – San Francisco’s even has a pig.
  • Airport lounges are upgraded spaces where you can pay a flat fee to enjoy more comfortable seating, unlimited food and beverages, and other amenities.

There’s nothing worse than being stuck in an airport on a layover with nothing to do. Whether you have 45 minutes or six hours to kill, these creative activities are sure to prevent you from getting bored.

10. Take a walk

Traveling by airplane means spending hours stuck in a cramped seat with no opportunity to stretch your legs. Get some light exercise during your layover by going for a walk around the terminal. Since exercise releases endorphins, you’ll arrive at your final destination feeling happy and refreshed.

9. Listen to a podcast

Podcasts are free and can be downloaded to your smartphone in a matter of seconds. From politics to history to true crime, there’s a podcast topic for every interest. You might even find an interesting episode about the city your layover is in.

8. Browse the bookstore

An brewbooks

An airport is a great place to check out the latest book titles and even rediscover some old classics. Spend some time browsing the selection and looking for good deals on discounted books. If you find one you want to buy, you’ll have another activity to help pass the time even faster.

7. Make some pocket money

Most airports offer free Wi-Fi to passengers on layovers. Image credit: Donald Trung/Wikimedia.org
Most airports offer free Wi-Fi to passengers on layovers. Image credit: Donald Trung/Wikimedia.org

Most airports offer free Wi-Fi to passengers on layovers. Why not take advantage of the complimentary connection and make a few extra dollars for your trip? Kill time by filling out online surveys for companies that will pay you anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars for your opinion.

6. Phone a friend

Calling up friends and family is a great way to spend time at the airport. Image credit: www.publicdomainpictures.net
Calling up friends and family is a great way to spend time at the airport. Image credit: www.publicdomainpictures.net

We all have distant friends and relatives we mean to keep in touch with, but never find time to pick up the phone and call. A long layover is the perfect time to dial a loved one and catch up.

5. Pet a therapy animal

What better way to brighten your layover than with furry cuddles? Los Angeles, Charlotte, Miami, and San Jose are among the U.S. cities with airports that offer access to therapy animals. You’ll mostly find dogs volunteering their services, although San Francisco’s airport also boasts a therapy pig.

4. Visit an airport lounge

Naples airport lounge in the early morning. Image credit: Angelo DeSantis/Wikimedia.org
Naples airport lounge in the early morning. Image credit: Angelo DeSantis/Wikimedia.org

Airport lounges require a fee for entry, and the cost depends on the airport. But some lounges are more than worth the price. For as little as $30, you can get access to unlimited food and beverages, comfortable seating, power outlets, and sometimes even showers. Factor in the sky-high cost of airport food and this could easily pay for itself.

3. Try local food

A samosa cafe at Nadi Airport, Fiji. Image credit: Maksym Kozlenko/Wikimedia.org
A samosa cafe at Nadi Airport, Fiji. Image credit: Maksym Kozlenko/Wikimedia.org

Most airports feature restaurants that specialize in local cuisine to help highlight the area’s culture. If you’re hungry, venture out of your comfort zone by opting for one of these local hotspots and trying something new.

2. Spend time meditating

A prayer room at the Heathrow Airport. Image credit: Tiia Monto/Wikimedia.org
A prayer room at the Heathrow Airport. Image credit: Tiia Monto/Wikimedia.org

Nearly every airport has a chapel or prayer room that is free for all passengers to use. Whether you consider yourself religious or not, this spiritual space is the perfect location to spend some quiet time in prayer, reflection, or meditation.

1. Make small talk

Talking with co-passengers is a great way to spend your time at the airport. Image credit: Shankar s./Flickr.com
Talking with co-passengers is a great way to spend your time at the airport. Image credit: Shankar s./Flickr.com

You may be surprised to find out how many other travelers in the terminal are also trying to find ways to pass the time during a layover. Why not introduce yourself? Don’t be afraid to say a quick hello to others who appear to be looking for things to do. If they’re interested in chatting, they’ll quickly strike up a conversation. Who knows? You might just make a new friend.

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