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Should You Leave the Airport on Your Layover?

Most travelers tend to avoid long layovers, preferring non-stop flights, so that they can minimize any downtime. For very long-distance journeys, though, they’re often unavoidable so it’s worth thinking about how you can make the most of your time when you get there.

If you do decide to leave and explore the city, you’ll get the chance to experience something completely new. However, since you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, make sure you have enough time or you might risk missing your connecting flight.

When Is It Okay to Leave?

Airport traveler Canva RF

When traveling internationally, it can be difficult to know if it’s okay to leave the airport during your layover. Different countries often have unique entry requirements so it’s worth checking up on the specifics of your destination beforehand.

Wherever you’re going, though, you’ll typically receive boarding passes for all legs of your journey at your first check-in.

If you used a booking engine, like Expedia or Travelocity, then it’s possible that the two flights are actually from different airlines. If this is the case, ask at the ticket counter if the two companies are partners.

If so, you should also be able to collect them both there too. Otherwise, you’ll have to collect them separately which, at large airports, can be a time-consuming process, especially if it involves taking a shuttle from one end of the building to the other.


How Will I Know Where to Go?

Even if your layover is intended to be just a couple of hours, it’s always worth researching some of the nearby attractions in case the situation changes.

Life can be unpredictable that way, and we’ve all been in the situation where our flight ends up being delayed and you’re stuck at the airport for much longer than you’d initially hoped.

Rather than sit around trying to find a decent cell phone reception, why not make the most of your time in a new place.

In these situations, your time is at a premium.

Ways to Kill Time if You Decide to Stay


If you can’t make it outside and go exploring, remember that there are still a bunch of different activities you can do to make the most of your stay.

Whether you choose to work on your cardio or simply catch an extra hour of sleep, try not to let your downtime end up being a frustrating experience.

Most airports these days offer free WiFi and plenty of power supplies, so if you’re stuck in the situation where you don’t have enough time for a layover, but have more time than you would like at the airport, pick up your smart phone, tablet or laptop and play a game.

Whether you occupy yourself with tetris, pacman, or online casino games, you’ll find this a welcome distraction from the fact that you’ve been stuck in an airport. And, if you manage to rake in some winnings from a casino game, go shout yourself an airport spa day!

That said, make sure you always check that your activities are allowed in the country / airport that you’re transiting through. For instance, if you’re vaping to pass the time, you’ll need to make sure that your layover airport allows vaping.

Like-wise, if you’ve decided to play casino games, you’ll have to make sure that the country you’re in allows gambling (for instance, here is a good list of all legal kiwi casinos if you’re stuck in New Zealand).

Pack Smart

Pack Travelan

If you do plan on leaving the airport during your layover, it’s important that you’ve packed your carry on luggage in a smart way. Have everything on hand you’ll need for the day, and make you you research the weather.

For instance, if you have a layover in Singapore, and venture out into the humidity of the city, you’ll probably want a change of fresh clothes once you’re back. Otherwise you’ll be hot and sticky on a flight.

The same goes for cold destinations; your departure airport and final destination may both be warm climates, though if you intend to leave the airport during a layover in a cold climate city, you’ll need adequate clothing. And you’ll need this in your carry-on.

Downloading a weather app before you leave is a great way to stay on top of the most recent forecasts in any destination around the world. When it comes to a free weather app that is the most accurate and has the most features, WeatherBug is one of the best (available on Google Play and iOS).

The app makes sure that you are able to see current and future radar the weather for the week in any destination, and has other free features like lightning warnings, storm alerts, wind speed, and many more. It offers the most accurate forecast out there of other apps.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

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