The Ultimate Guide on how to Survive a Long Layover

Spread the love

The one thing we hate about travelling is the long layovers. They are tiring, boring and can be stressful.  

We have experienced a short layover time of under an hour, to as long as 5-6 hours, but some can be as long as a 24-hour layover.  

It’s hard to comprehend, how travellers can endure the tiring conditions of a layover, and some include multiple stops. But we are one of those travellers who choose to include a layover merely because it’s cheaper than a direct flight.  

So, whether you have a planned or unplanned layover, you can overcome the challenges with a little planning and creativity. Turn your layover into an opportunity for adventure and relaxation, with these simple tips on how to survive a long layover.  

What is a long layover 

A layover is a break in your journey, that may require a change in aircraft and your baggage to be transferred to another flight.  

The duration of a layover can be anything between 1 hour to 24 hours. The longer the layover the cheaper the flights.   

We often take a layover between England and Sri Lanka, when we visit Sham’s family, friends and travel the country.  

For us a layover is planned, as it is far cheaper than a direct flight and we normally stop in Doha, Qatar, or Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

Our aircraft changes from a large, normally Boeing 747 to a smaller aircraft and our luggage will transfer to our connecting flight.  

The maximum we have experienced as a layover is 6 hours, which in our experience was very challenging and tiring.  

But there are some cases, in which a layover is unplanned due to unforeseen circumstances with the plane or at the airport. 

So how do you survive a long layover? 

How to survive a long layover

Make the most of your long layover, with a plan of what you could do.  

Plan ahead 

Before your planned trip, take some time to research your layover options. 

Visit the airport’s website, check what facilities and services might be available.  

Selected airports offer guided tours of the city and the top tourist attractions for passengers with a long layover. Is this a viable option for you to pass the time? 

If you don’t feel comfortable with leaving the airport on a layover, then investigate what airport lounge facilities are available, do you need to be a member, or can you enter for free or at a premium price.  

Airplane food isn’t the best, so do some research on what restaurants and cafes are available at the airport. Try to avoid fast food and eat a more balance meal with all the right nutrients to keep you going for the rest of the journey.  

Flying causes dehydration, so keep your fluids up during your long layover. Keep refilling your reusable water bottle, to stay hydrated  

A little retail therapy is a great chance to amuse yourself while waiting for your connecting flight.  

Check your flight itinerary and luggage restrictions 

If you do leave the airport, make sure you have time to check back in and that any bags are within the airline’s luggage restrictions. It’s so tempting to bring souvenirs back, but if you don’t have the permitted weight, you could be paying a hefty luggage fee.  

By doing some planning before you travel, you can make the most of your long layover, with as little stress as possible.  

Stay entertained 

Relieve the symptoms of boredom, with some entertainment.  

Bring entertainment with you 

Another great way to survive a long layover is by reading a book, magazine, watching the latest TV series or movie, listening to music or your favourite podcast. 

Pack a book in your hand luggage to read on the journey. We prefer Ebooks, not only do they reduce space and weight in our luggage, but we can download a few books before we leave, to read while we are on holiday.  

You can read books on a kindle even without Wi-Fi connection. 

Be prepared and download your favourite TV series and movies before you travel, so you can watch it offline.  

Music and podcasts are another source of entertainment while you’re travelling. 

Ebooks, movies, TV series, magazines, music and podcasts can all be downloaded onto your preferred devices, whether that’s your phone, tablet or laptop.  

Most airports offer free Wi-Fi connection, so you can browse the internet or play games while you wait for your connecting flight.  

If you’ve forgotten something to keep you occupied, most airports will have a book shop or stationary shop, selling books, magazines and even games.  

Could you do some work while you travel. We include a slot of time to do video editing, updating our website and social media, while sat in the airport.  

Don’t forget your chargers and adapter and pack them in your hand luggage, so you can stay fully charged.  

Power banks will come in handy if you need to charge your device, while all the power outlets are being used by other passengers.  

Take advantage of the airport amenities 

Many airports offer surprising amenities from fitness centres, spas, or even movie theatres, to help passengers to pass time.  

You might also find airport lounges where you can relax, shower facilities to take a shower or somewhere comfortable to nap. 

Take full advantage of these facilities where available to rest, relax, refresh, get a workout session in, pamper yourself with a spa treatment, utilise free WIFI connection where possible to stay connected with friends and family and so much more. 

Research and planning are key to help you survive a long layover.   

Stay Comfortable 

The worst thing to wear on a long layover is the most uncomfortable clothing and shoes. You could be in these clothes and shoes for the next 1-24 hours. 

In our experience, wearing loose fitted clothing and a thick jumper, will make you feel more comfortable and at ease.  

Layers is a good option, as the plane and airport can feel cold and draughty.  

Wearing and packing a vest or long sleeve comfortable top, followed by a t-shirt and loose jumper is a great idea, with a pair of loose trousers and shoes. If you get too hot, you can remove the jumper and vest/long sleeve top. 

Use the airport shower and bathroom facilities to freshen up and change into the spare clothes, you will feel so much better for it. 

Sleep and Rest  

One of the most important things to do during a long layover is to find a comfortable spot to relax.  

Look for a quiet spot away from crowds or busy shops and restaurants, where there’s comfortable seating or couches.  

Try and relax, take a nap or sleep for a couple of hours, set an alarm to wake, ready to board your connecting flight.  

A travel pillow and blanket will help those uncomfortable chairs and couches, feel a little more comfortable.  

In a very few airports, you could find a designated sleeping area, sleep pod, or lounge where you can catch up on some much-needed rest. 

Does the airport have an adjoining hotel or nearby hotels, that you book a room for the night. 

Flying can be tiring, especially trying to sleep on the plane, getting a couple of hours sleep, will ease the symptoms of tiredness, jetlag and help with surviving the long layover.  

Spend a couple of hours exploring the city 

If you have more than a 6-hour layover in a city you have never visited before, you could plan to leave the airport for a quick adventure.  

Most airports offer easy public transport links, making this a great way to explore a new city in just a couple of hours.  

Just be sure to check the times and plan accordingly, so you don’t miss your connecting flight.  

Visit the airport information centre, to check if your layover airport offers guided tours and for more information.  


A long layover whether planned or unplanned can be a challenging experience. However, with careful planning and preparation, it is possible to turn a long layover into an enjoyable and productive experience.  

Remember to research the airport facilities, pack the essential items in your hand luggage and dress comfortably, stay hydrated and eat healthy food, explore the city if possible or find a relaxing spot to get some rest and sleep.  

By following these simple steps and remaining positive throughout your journey, you can survive a long layover and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready for your adventure that awaits you.  

Continue your travel planning, with these useful posts:

How to survive a long layover
How to survive a long layover
How to survive a layover
How to survive a layover
Tips on surviving a long layover
Tips on surviving a long layover