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To get to all the beautiful places in the world, the most used way of traveling is by airplane. Especially if you’re going to a long haul destinations, layovers are pretty common. Sometimes we’re lucky to have a short layover: hop off the plane and almost immediately hop on the next plane. However, sometimes we have a long layover. We need to pass the time!
On my way back home from Bali, I had a nine hour layover in Singapore. I was absolutely dreading this layover. The flight from Bali to Singapore was about 2,5 hours and the flight from Singapore to Düsseldorf was about 13 hours. The 9 hour layover in between those flights felt like a complete nightmare. Surprisingly, time flew by and it wasn’t actually that bad. It was nice to walk around, stretch my legs before the long, long flight. I, however, was lucky to have a layover at the most beautiful and best airport in the world: Changi Airport.
I know that not every airport has as much to do as Changi airport. It is (one) of the biggest airports and you could literally walk around all day and you wouldn’t even get bored. I’ve tried to come up with tips and activities to do that’ll fit almost every airport in the world.
The first thing I’d like to do is just walk around the airport. Every airport is different and has different shops, restaurants and other things to offer. Especially after a longer flight, I like to just stretch my legs and get my blood flowing again. I have a bad knee, and sitting in the same position for longer than an hour hurts pretty bad, so walking around relieves this pain. And as I said, I’d like to see what the airport has to offer and where I can find some good food like snacks if I’m hungry later during the layover!
Most airports have a few shops, so I’d like to hop in these shops and just look around. I hardly ever buy something at the airport, just because it’s not practical to take shopping bags on the plane. Honestly, I’m always struggling with my hand luggage so any additional bags will only make it more chaotic and confusing for me haha! However, I do sometimes buy a top or a t-shirt that fits in my hand luggage or I’ll wear it as a “clean shirt” (especially after a long flight).
Sometime during the layover, my phone battery is starting to die on me so I need to find a spot where I can charge my phone. This is usually after I’ve walked around a bit, looked in a shop and bought some snacks so I’ll stay here for a couple of hours. During my layover at Changi airport, I hang out at the same spot for about three or four hours. Especially if you have free wi-fi and if you’re able to charge your phone, it’s perfect to pass the time with some YouTube videos or watch Netflix. Prior to the flight, if I have good wi-fi, I like to download a few episodes of my favourite tv-show just in case the wi-fi at the airport is bad!
I always carry my e-reader with me while traveling, so prior to the journey itself I make sure to download lots of books that will keep me entertained during the adventure and during the travel time. I love a good feel-good book for the easy-read or I like to have a trilogy so I can just keep reading. However, I do like to have an extremely long book like “the Godfather”. It will keep me entertained for hours.
If you have a long lay-over by yourself, it can be quite lonely. My advice is to start a conversation with a stranger! This could just be about a book that someone is currently reading or a simple question. Time flies by when you have a good conversation and when you have fun! I was lucky to have four friends with my during the layover, and we talked and laughed all those hours. However, I still like to start a conversation with a stranger and make some new contacts or even friends! A lot can happen if you have a 5+ hour layover.
Anxiety during lay-overs
Layovers can trigger anxiety and to be completely honest, I haven’t found the perfect guide to control your anxiety during longer layovers. The biggest reason for this is because I haven’t had a layover by myself yet. I do have a few steps that I want to do myself if I ever have a layover by myself, which is going to happen someday.
Before arriving at the airport where my layover is, I want to know what the airport’s like. For example, Changi airport is extremely big and you have to get the sky-train to the different terminals. If an airport has something like this, I’d like to know beforehand and prepare for it. Just to know where I need to go at the airport to get at my gate in time, I don’t want to stress at the airport. There is always someone to guide you the way of course, you can always as a person that works at the airport!
Secondly, I will make sure to have the right music for different moods. I sometimes have moods where I need a chilled and almost instrumental playlist on Spotify. I highly recommend to get Spotify Premium, ‘cause you can easily download the playlists when you have wi-fi and listen to it offline, so it won’t cost you any data if the wi-fi is bad. The ones I’ll choose are the playlists “Relax and Unwind”, “The Most Beautiful Songs In The World”, “Creativity Boost” and “Your Favourite Coffeehouse”. If I need to have a playlist that’ll lift my mood and give me some energy, I love to listen to “Imagine Dragons”, or the playlists “Mood Booster” and “Songs To Sing In The Shower”. Sometimes I like to create my own playlist with my favourite music at that time!
At last, I like to plan some activities like reading a good book and save the book I want to read SO BAD for these moments. I can sit at a good spot, have a snack and a drink like coffee, and get lost in the book for hours. Reading combined with music will definitely keep me distracted and make the time fly.
One things that will definitely help if you’re feeling anxious, is to call someone you trust or love! Skype or FaceTime are great ways to connect with each other all over the world and seeing a familiar face might calm you down!
Like I said, I don’t have a perfect guide for the people that get anxious during layovers. Hopefully, after I’ve done some more traveling with layovers, I have the perfect list of tips that’ll help.
Hopefully your next layover will be a bit less boring and if you have any other tips and suggestions for a long layover, please comment! I’d love to get some more tips.