Tuesday Travel Tips: Three Ways to Make it Through Your Airport Layover


Growing up close to Atlanta, I was spoiled when it came to air travel and knew little of the airport layover.

Simply put, you can get non-stop flight from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to almost anywhere in the world. San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, you name it. All I had to do was make it to the airport on time, find the right gate, and in a matter of a few hours I landed at my destination.

However, once I moved to Helena, Montana and then Jackson, Mississippi I realized not everyone is so lucky. And I’ve since spent a lot of time, well, killing time.

How can you make it through your airport layover? Here are just a few ideas:

Eat (Healthy) and Get Some Exercise

For most of us, our natural travel instinct is to grab a candy bar or hamburger and then find a semi-comfortable place to sit and wait.

Jan 25, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; A Delta Airlines 767 airplane flies with the Seattle Seahawks over downtown Phoenix during the team arrival in preparation for Super Bowl XLIX at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

However, take a cue from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, which aims to be “the healthiest airport in the country, if not the world.” DFW has implemented a wide range of “healthy heart” menu options for guests visiting their restaurants and kiosks, and even built a free walking path and yoga studio for passengers.

“You know what it’s like being trapped in the airport. You can only eat so much food or read so many magazines,” spokeswoman Cynthia Vega told CNN in 2013. “There is an inherent stress that goes along with traveling. This is a good way to shake it off.”

A healthy meal option and a brisk walk or relaxing yoga session will help keep you refreshed while waiting.

Make it Fun

Not in the mood to exercise? Maybe walking paths or yoga studios aren’t for you or they aren’t available wherever you’re stuck. You can still keep yourself moving with an airport layover scavenger hunt.

Before you begin your trip or on the first leg of your journey, jot down ten things to search for from the time you land until you take off again. Assign points for each item, and compete with friends or family in your traveling party.

Of course, you can participate even if you’re traveling alone. Here’s a sample from a scavenger hunt developed from The IndependentTraveler.com:

"– One person using all the outlets at a charging station for his or her multiple devices.– The traveler pretending not to know English in order to board the flight before his or her zone is called.– Someone with a carry-on bag on the chair next to him or her in the waiting area to discourage anyone else from sitting there."

A scavenger hunt will keep your mind engaged and help the time pass more quickly.

Pamper Yourself

Traveling can be stressful, especially when you can’t get directly from Point A to Point B. Luckily, there are plenty of options when it comes to relaxing and pampering one’s self.

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Many airports have salons where you can get a shave and a hair cut and most have full service spas where travelers can get a massage, a facial, and a manicure or pedicure.

There are also several options for lounges away from the hustle and bustle of the concourse. I’m a fan of the Delta Sky Club, which always has a comfy place to sit, as well as cocktails, healthy snacks and WiFi included in your membership or daily pass fee.

If you’re stuck with an airport layover you don’t have to sit and stare at the clock or flip through a magazine. Find something to do that’s enjoyable. It’ll make the time go by faster and you’ll feel better for the second (or third) leg of your trip.

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