A big thanks to Rachael for publishing this article. With practical tips and brilliant anecdotes, this site is an amazing inspiration for anyone looking to leave the safety of their comfort zone and explore the world! After reading this, be sure to check out the post on staying healthy while traveling.
Even for the most seasoned travelers, an airport layover can be an absolute nightmare. You just got off a long flight, you’re itching with anticipation to get to your destination, and you have to spend numerous hours stuck, in traveling limbo, in an airport.
Fortunately, if you tackle things right, you can transform any layover into a well-needed break. More often than not, travelers spend their time rushing around, jetting from location to location, hiking, swimming, partying and never taking a moment to rest — so using your layover for some well-needed recuperation is a fantastic idea.
1. Practice Yoga
Yoga is a brilliant way to recover from a stressful flight. It allows you to calm the mind while simultaneously stretch out all of the muscles that have been cramped into an airplane seat for hours on end.
People in airports are used to witnessing people break social conventions, so you don’t have to feel embarrassed about downward-dogging in the middle of a crowded terminal. However, there are often many gates that aren’t in use, which could provide you with a bit of solitude to complete your practice. If you aren’t already an experienced yogi, there are plenty of great mobile apps available to download.
2. Stretch Your Legs
If you’re not willing to commit to a full-blown yoga routine, going for a wander is a great way to stretch your legs and relax before your next flight. Often, larger airports have numerous attractions dotted through different terminals, so there’s plenty to explore.
If you have enough time, you could even consider going into the nearest city and having a look around. Just be sure to find out how long it takes to get there and the frequency of the shuttle so you don’t miss your next flight.
3. Nourish Yourself
It’s no secret that plane food is less than desirable. Fortunately, airports don’t seem to abide by that same rule and have a plethora of tasty treats available. Take some time to wander around and find your favorite option before settling down to enjoy a leisurely feast! You can even pick up dishes from different vendors if they tickle your fancy.
Doing this is a great way to try local cuisine, make healthier choices and hopefully fill up so you don’t resort to eating whatever dreaded attempt at a meal appears on your tray table in that soggy cardboard box during your next flight!
Traveling is undoubtedly a stressful experience. The odd hours, long waiting periods and time zone changes can be enough to rile up even the calmest of people. Meditation is an extremely powerful tool that can be practiced no matter where you are and is guaranteed to help you return to a place of calm and clarity.
They say that the longer you sit in stillness, the better, so why not spend your layover practicing quieting the mind and allowing your brain to rest? Not only will it pass the time, it will also help you deal with the rest of your journey. If you’re new to meditation, try an online resource such as Headspace to help you master the basics.
5. Catch Up With Loved Ones
Often, when traveling, we find there’s very little time to stay in touch with loved ones back home. Whilst this might be fine for a short trip, if you’re a long-term traveler then this can often result in loneliness and even the break down of relationships.
Fortunately, this is easily overcome by setting aside a dedicated time to catch up — and what better chance to do so than during long layovers. Most airports offer free public WiFi, so it’s easy to connect. Social network sites, such as Facebook, Skype and other VOIP services, are fantastic tools for making international calls free of charge. Some of these websites are blocked in certain countries, but you can easily get around that by subscribing to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and selecting an IP address in your home country.
Layovers don’t have to be something you dread. Instead, they can be a worthwhile break and a chance to take a step back from the manic travel lifestyle. These five tips are just a few suggestions on how to use time in the airport to your advantage.