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Next flight in...8 hours! What to do during a long layover?

Hello Travellers, 

What do you do when you are stuck in an airport for hours in between 2 flights. I get so bored after having visited the shops, read a book or be geeky on my phone (if wifi is available).  

I found one entertaining option. I go the bar/pub and seat at the bar. It s funny to observe people there and you get to speak to lots of people from everywhere.  

Happy week end;)

21 Answers

top answer by
Ceara from Dublin

Hi Aliotte! 

I found this problem myself during a 7 hour layover in Dubai, and my next blog post will address exactly this! To answer your question, there's a few things you can do. The best option is to leave the airport and go for a wander if you can. This will depend on the country you're in though re visas etc. But if you can leave, make sure you make in back in time to go through security again! 

As well as reading, doing crosswords, social networking you can always take the time to write up on your travels if you've been keeping a blog/journal. Sleep is another big thing. Find a few seats together in a quiet part of the airport and try charge up before boarding. If you're sitting near other travelers, don't be afraid to start up a conversation with them. Small talk can sometimes turn into the most amazing travel stories and time flies when you're having a laugh with someone!

People-watching like you've been doing is also great fun. If you're with someone, giving a live commentary on people walking by is also good fun, once they're out of ear shot! And if you're by yourself, you can always imagine their stories. ;) 

I'm sure there's more to do but I hope this helps! 

7 thankscomments (4)

answered by
Peter from Bloomington (Indiana)

I learned to juggle during a 12-hour layover in Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kotoka International Airport (attraction)
4 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Andreea from Copenhagen

 I usually have a  "to do" list for when I am in the airport (let's say organise pictures in Iphoto, delete files, organise notes, brainstorm for presentation etc)

When I finish my to do list I read the book I brought with me.

Should you change flights in Munich International Airport if you are in transit, do not get out of the gate after 21:00 because you won't be able to pass the security check until 6.30 am. If you stay in you can choose to relax inn their lounges (they have sections for economy class as well) + there's cofee and tea from Luftansa in the airport.

Happy travel!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Munich International Airport (attraction)
4 thanks

answered by
Missy from Newport

I have spent an enormous amount of time in airports. My choice is to jump in a taxi, subway, or whatever is your transportation interest and head out.  My husband and I were stuck in the Athens Airport, for around 8 hours waiting for a delayed flight to Santorini due to a short strike, so jumped in a taxi and headed to Glyfada Beach and relaxed for a great meal at a beachside taverna.  After a nice meal of mezes and fresh grilled fish sitting on an open patio right on the water, we jumped back into a taxi and were back in time for our domestic flight.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Athens (city)
  2. Santorini (island)
  3. Glyfada Beach (hotel)
2 thanks

answered by

I agree... If it's long enough, leave the airport! I spent 10 hours touring central London on a layover and saw more than friends who have spent a week there!  

Had a great time on Kao San Road in Bangkok on a 7 hour layover.  

I also got to see some of San Fransisco during a 5-hour layover. If the city has good public transit, it helps (usually safer than facing unexpected traffic jams) just make sure you head back to the airport with lots of time to spare.  

If it's overnight, I'll get a room at an airport hotel... Especially if they let you get a room by the hour. I would have loved to go into Taipei during a 7 hour layover but after a long flight I decided I needed the sleep more.

1 thanks

answered by
Jim from Texas

Once on a trip to Brazil, I had a six hour layover in Montevideo Dept.  It cost me almost $120.00, but I hired a Taix to take me around the best buildings and monuments.  We stopped at a market place.  I got a few souvenirs and got some local cuisine to eat in the car.  Had a great time and it was MUCH better than being stuck in the airport!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Montevideo Dept (state)
1 thanks

answered by
Dabs from Chicago

With 8 hours, depending on the airport's proximity to the city, I would think about leaving and seeing the city.  I've done this a couple of times in Amsterdam and London, I've seen decent trips out of Istanbul's airport, my hometown of Chicago could be visited with 8 hours, I think Hong Kong has a quick way to get in.  I couldn't leave the Guayaquil airport because I had hurt my leg, I was soooooooo bored especially since I couldn't walk around.  Even with books and a smartphone....

1 thanks

answered by
CL from Tucson

i always take a good book..... safe and blessed travels!!!!

1 thanks

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

I have spent more hours in airports, than I care to count.  1.) Make friends at the bar-find out where they are going, where they've been, their favorites-might lead to travel inspiration, 2.) just people watch!  It's highly entertaining to watch folks struggle with luggage, kids, signs....

1 thanks

answered by
Lisa from Wellington

I tend to have a book on me - or an e-reader anyway. Between that and buying magazines to do puzzles in... or listening to music. 
Exploring the airport? Maybe it has something fun to do there? (Like in Singapore with the gardens and such).
People watching, photographing the planes taking off and landing? Talking to other travellers - you may end up with a great travel story to share...

1 thanks

answered by
Janet from Emerald Hills, Ca

people watching; esp the dynamics between couples or 

yoga or learning to just "be"

answered by

Try to sleep!!

answered by
Katie from Lake District National Park

If you have enough time, and if visas aren't a problem, it's always worth heading out of the airport to look around. Feels like you're getting an extra holiday! I have an 8 hour layover in Brussels Airport in January, and I'm actually really looking forward to it. Just need to make sure I'm back in time for my flight and to get through security!

If you're staying inside the airport, taking a book and / or an e-reader is always a must, though if I'm taking a budget flight and I know I'm going to be reading all through the flight, I like to do something different at the airport. I usually work on some writing or something, or if it's a longer trip and I'm taking my laptop, maybe write a blog post or two using whatever airport scavenge I can find.

Other than that, it's exploring the airport, people-watching and having a nap. Always remember to set a phone alarm if I'm going to do that though. Don't want to miss my flight!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Brussels Airport (attraction)

answered by
Roxanne from Montreal

Yes, the bar is a good option. I look for a spa service.  Relax on the massage table or chair, enjoy !

answered by
Anne from Lafayette (California)

Read, make notes on the trip, write postcards or letters (virtual or paper), check email or social media, eat, shop, or—if it's really long layover, grab a dayroom at the airport & sleep.

answered by

If I know ahead of time I will have a long layover, I will research the local area to find out if there is an interesting place to eat. With a bit of planning you can usually get into the center of town, eat a good meal, walk a bit, and be back at the airport in no time. This assumes of course you don't need to clear any special immigration hurdles to do so.  But, if you have 5-8 hours it is more than enough time.

The other alternative with a really long layover is getting a room. Some airports literally have hotels in them or immediately connected (Heathrow, Orlando) and these sometimes offer "short rates" for like 8 hours. Sleep, shower, relax, stretch out. 

answered by
Clifford from Kenya

Walk around, get to know  some few friends on transit too.

answered by

Long airport layover

1. shopping, 2. airline lounge, 3. bar - great place to meet new people, 4. people watching, (especially kids), 5. restaurant, hey we all get hungry, 6. writing, 7. reading, 8. powering up all my electronics :), 9. watching TV, 10. try to get a short nap.

answered by
Robson from Istanbul

If we have time enough we sure go to the nearest city!
Got to visit Amsterdam like that, 8 hs layover...
If we are short in time we head to a bar, that in airports are usually pricey btw, and review our to do list,  work in our travelblog and enjoy some beers and cocktails :)
Our last Guinnes in Dublin is always at the airport!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Amsterdam (city)
  2. Dublin (city)

answered by
Marissa from Boulder

Go into the city! Depending on where your layover is, this may be more or less feasible. I have had a 7 hour layover and was able to venture out into Zurich to explore the city for a bit. It's a great way to stretch your legs and see a potentially new place. And it sure makes that long layover go by a whole lot quicker!

Another suggestion - if you decide to do this ask another trippy question, or if you are short on time check out the forums on tripadvisor as people usually have great suggestions on what to do during long layovers in all different cities. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Zurich (city)

answered by
Kathy from Wilmington

In so many international airports there are now hotels connected to the concourse. If you have 4 hrs or more use your points and get a room and take a nap and shower. The next leg of your travels will be so much better

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