Let’s face it, no one likes the long layovers. To make it worst, imagine a long layover in an airport with basic facilities. I am sure the thought of it itself is a nightmare. Flights with long layovers are often cheaper than connecting ones or those with a shorter connecting time.

I recently had an eight hours layover in Hong Kong while I was flying from Denpasar- Bali to Mumbai. That trip certainly got me a whole new idea towards it.

Here are some tips to make the most out of your layover.

Airport Layovers

Leave The Airport, See The City:

Its nice if your passport allows you to obtain a visa upon arrival,  you could take a glimpse of the city, if not you may pre arrange a visa.

Sketch out a rough itinerary ahead of time. Find out what kind of transportation you’ll need to take to and from the airport (most airport websites list this information).

Most airlines these days offer a layover tour for free irrespective of your class of travel while you transit in their hub. However, you must have enough time between your flights. Below are the details of some airports that offer a free layover tour.

Singapore Changi International Airport:

How to sign up: Head to the Free Singapore Tours counter at Terminals 2 and 3. There are 6 departure times each day, and you need to register at least an hour before the tour begins.

Minimum layover time: Tours lasts for 2.5 hours, meaning your layover should be a minimum of 5.5 hours (6 hours for the night tour).

Click here to know more about the tour.

Seoul Incheon Airport:

How to sign up: Visit one of the Transit Tour desks on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd floor of the Terminal. Tours depart at set times daily. You can also make a reservation online in advance.

Minimum layover time: Tour choices last between 1 – 5 hours. You should make sure that your layover is at least 2 hours longer than your selected tour. This means that 1 hour tour-goers should have a layover of at least 3 hours.

Click here to know more about the tour.

Hamad International Airport (Doha-Qatar):

How to sign up: If flying in and out by Qatar Airways, head to the Doha City Tour desk. Pre-booking is not required.

Minimum layover time required: 5 hours

Click here to know more about the tour.

Istanbul Attaturk International Airport:

How to sign up: If flying in and out of Istanbul on Turkish Airlines, visit the Hotel Desk in the International Arrivals terminal at least 30 minutes before the tour starts. Tours take place from 9am – 3pm, 9am – 6pm and noon – 6pm daily.

Minimum layover time required: Tour options last from 6 – 9 hours, and you must arrive back in the terminal no less than an hour before your departing flight. This means that for a 6 hour tour, you should have a 7 – 8 hour layover.

Click here to know more about the tour.

Tokyo Narita Airport:

How to sign up: You can sign up for the tours at the reception in the arrivals lobby in Terminal 1 and 2. The desk is open from 9am – noon daily. The transport is not provided for free.

Minimum layover time: Tours are all roughly 3 hours, hence your layover should be minimum 5 hours long.

Click here to know more about the tour.

Taipei Taoyuan Airport:

How to sign up: Visit the tourist center in the Airport Arrival lobby. Two tours depart daily – one around 8 am and another around 1:30 pm.

Minimum layover time required: Tours are between 5 – 6 hours, hence you should have a layover that is at least 8 hours.

Click here to know more about the tour.


Pamper Yourself:

If you are planning to spend your time in the terminal, pamper yourself by upgrading to an airport lounge, most airport lounges charge around 40 USD on an average for 6-8 hours.



Get Some Sleep:

Many airports have designated sleeping sections or special sleep chairs that make for painless napping. Hong Kong International Airport, South Korea’s Incheon International Airport and Vancouver International Airport in Canada are a few major hubs that offer comfy lounge chairs and padded benches on which travelers can fully stretch out. For more information about sleeping in airports, check out SleepinginAirports.net, an excellent resource for drowsy travelers.

 Airport Layovers

Layovers aren’t the best part of travel by a long shot, but you can use these tips to make the most out of your next layover. Do you have a way of making layovers better? Share with us in the comments below.

7 comments on “Tips On Surviving Long Layovers At The Airport.

  1. You were lucky your layover was at a decent airport.

    Hong Kong at least has plenty of seating areas, options for eating and not to mention places where you can power your laptop or other devices.

    Long transits at older, less well equipped airports make an old school paperback book or a deck of cards a great option 😉

  2. Using the layover time to go on short trips sounds like an excellent idea! You have got many airports covered by giving useful information. Ah these cute sleeping pods must be easy on pocket compared to the airport hotels/transit hotels.

  3. I have heard a lot of great things about Changi airport. It is a very useful post. Due to my frequent travel, I often get stuck up at airports. But then I know how to use my time well. I was once stuck in Sharjah airport and I explored it all day, either people watched or just checked out shops. It was interesting.

  4. Thanks for sharing the various options in different airports for the layovers. We missed the Singapore city tour the last time we were there but the Changi airport just has so many other options that an 8 hour layover just did not bother me. Hope a lot of the other airports learn from that. Cheers

  5. I wish I had stumbled upon your post couple of months before. Actually there was a layover that we had in a journey but not long enough for us to venture out. So, we had to spend time on the airport itself. Your tips to pamper oneself are worth giving a try.

  6. Layovers are many times a bane as well as a blessing. Best is when you have enough time and get out into the city and spend some time there. If not hanging around in an airport for hours is really a drag. Have spent hours in airports like Dubai, either reading or watching people, waiting for a connecting flight.

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