So, you purchased a flight deal to the destination of your dreams, but there’s one catch: there’s a ten-hour layover elsewhere. A long layover is hardly ever ideal, but sometimes they can’t be avoided. Here are a few ways to make your next lengthy layover a little bit better.
- Leave Your Baggage Behind: Be nimble. Heavy baggage will only slow you down. Thankfully, most airlines will accept checked bags up to six hours before your scheduled flight. In the event that your airline doesn’t, there are plenty of other options for storing your bags. In Switzerland, for example, you can check into a Swiss or Lufthansa flight at major train stations up to 24 hours before receiving your boarding pass. Travel+Leisure has a great list of airports that easily connect to nearby cities via public transportation and that have luggage storage. Not only do they list how long your layover needs to be for it to be worthwhile, they also include travel time and cost, what public transit to take, and what to do once you arrive in the city. Do a little research on your specific city to see what’s nearby.
- Mind Your Time: Be realistic. You may want to see everything there is to see in that particular country, but this is just a layover. You will never be able to accomplish in six hours what you can do in three days. Sometimes the best course of action is to find a restaurant in the center of the city, order a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) and people-watch. Plaza Bolivar in Bogota, and Centro in Cartagena are both surrounded by boutique hotels, each with a rooftop restaurant, that provides endless hours of people watching and beautiful views.
- Consider A Package: Be open to tours. Most of my travel is DIY – I research, plan and execute the perfect trip. I want to feel like a nomad more than a tourist, so often I ignore tours and packaged deals. On an extended layover, however, I ease up a bit and am more open. Through the airport-based tour companies at the Reykjavik airport in Iceland, for example, you can book transportation and entrance for a trip to the Blue Lagoon.
- Ask A Local: Be inquisitive. No one can give you better answers about the realities of travel to/from the airport then someone who commutes to the airport daily. On an extended layover in Dakar, Senegal, I wanted to shop in the Village des Arts, but was warned of the horrors of traffic on the Corniche. Instead, I had crepes for lunch and went sight-seeing along Cap-Vert, the westernmost point of the continent.
- Enjoy Yourself: Be grateful. To travel is a great luxury. If what they say is true, every moment we live affects us, and every minute we spend elsewhere defines our character. In a month, I will take the scenic route home from Cyprus, which includes a 15-hour stop in Moscow. I look forward to pre-checking my bags, exploring the city and people-watching with the Red Square in the background.