Skip to main content

How to Survive Long Layovers at Airports

Written by
Reading time: 3 minutes
Every wanderluster is familiar with long layovers and sleepless nights at large, international airports. Here are some useful tips on how to turn a seemingly awful scenario into a worthwhile experience.
picture of chairs inside an airport

All travellers love comfortable flights but they adore cheap flights. And cheap flights often entail long layovers. No matter if you are going to or coming back from your dream holiday, embarking on your Erasmus journey or taking a business trip, we hope you find the following tips useful.


1. Explore the city

city view
Explore the city

As attractive as option number one sounds, it only works when you have five or more hours on your hands. You might not have anywhere near enough time to really experience the city, but it is much better than being stuck at the airport for a long period of time. Also, you will know in advance how much time you have at your disposal, so you can do your research beforehand in order to use your precious time as you wish.  Keep in mind that airports are generally far away from the city, so plan your arrival time well in advance!

2. Socialise with other travellers

children doing faces
Socialise with other travellers

A lot of people usually travel alone, so why not try talking to the person sitting next to or opposite you? Maybe you actually stumble upon someone who becomes a really good friend, or more. If you do not feel like talking, try observing other people and make up stories about their lives. It is a good way to kill time as well.

3. Read


someone reading

Do your university studies/work/ESN/other obligations keep piling up like the list of books you wish to read? Bring your book or Kindle with you on your travels! It may take up some space in your hand luggage but it is worth it. In case you forget to bring your own material, many airlines offer free newspapers and other reading material to their travellers.

4. Shop

shop at airport

Explore duty-free and local souvenir shops! Do you have any foreign currency left? Use it to buy chocolate, postcards or souvenirs for your loved ones back home! A lot of airports, aside from fast food restaurants, serve local food as well - this could be your first or last chance to try local delicacies!

5.  Make use of the free Wi-Fi

people waiting at airport
Make use of the free Wi-Fi

Many international airports provide free Wi-Fi - make use of it and spend your time browsing news, social media, update your blog, send some emails or maybe even do some work if you have a full-time job. You can even prepare yourself further for your destination - there are probably some things you have not thought of before like where the closest ATM is, where to have dinner, or how much time it will take to get to your hostel. Make sure to find a place near a socket so you can charge your laptop, mobile and other electronic devices.

6. Plan your next  holiday


people at airport
Plan your next holiday

Spending time at the airport is the best way to discover cheap flights and unknown destinations. Browse over screens and do your research. When you find something that suits you, use that free Wi-Fi again to plan your next holiday!

7. Watch a movie

someone sitting looking at computer
Watch a movie

Access your Netflix or prepare several movies of various genres (you never know what mood you will be in) in advance. This is an awesome opportunity to relax before your flight and cross out some movies from your to-watch list.

8. Clean your wallet


files folder
Clean your wallet

Well, if nothing else, you can always empty your wallet of unnecessary receipts, visiting cards you know you are never going to use and other things that simply do not belong in your wallet.

Did we miss anything? Maybe you have a tip for us? Share your airport experiences with us and our readers and help us all survive those long, inevitable layovers!