Let’s face it, no one likes the long layovers. To make it worse, 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:

It is 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.

Plan a rough itinerary. Know what kind of transportation you’ll need to take to go to the centre of the city.

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 six departures every day, you would need to list your name at least an hour before the tour begins.

Minimum layover time: Tours lasts for two and a half hour. Your layover should be a minimum of five and a half hour (six 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 in the Terminal. Tours depart every day at set times. It is also possible to make an online reservation in advance.

Minimum layover time: There are different types of tours, some are for an hour up to five hours. There should be a minimum of 2 extra hours in your layover. This means that two hours tour-goers should have a layover of at least four 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, visit the Doha City Tour desk.

Minimum layover time required: Five hours

Click here to know more about the tour.

Istanbul Ataturk International Airport:

How to sign up: If flying in and out of Istanbul on Turkish Airlines, visit the Hotel Desk in the Arrival lounge at least half-an-hour before the tour starts. Tours leave from 9 am – 3 pm, 9 am – 6 pm and noon – 6 pm daily.

Minimum layover time required: Tours last from six to nine hours, and you must arrive back in the terminal no less than an hour before your departing flight. This means that for a six-hour tour, you should have a seven to eight-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 9 am-noon daily. The transport is not provided for free.

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

Click here to know more about the tour.

Taipei Taoyuan Airport:

How to sign up: Tours start from the tourist centre desk in the Arrival lobby. There are two daily tours – one in the morning at 8 am and an afternoon tour at 1:30 pm.

Minimum layover time: You should have at least eight hours layover as tours normally take five to six 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 special sleep chairs or a designated sleeping sections for painless napping. South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, Vancouver International Airport in Canada and Hong Kong International Airport are a few major hubs that offer padded benches and comfy lounge chairs on which travellers can stretch out completely. Check out SleepinginAirports.net, for more information about sleeping in airports. It is an excellent resource for drowsy travellers.

 Airport Layovers

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

  1. I’ve had plenty of long layovers but never long enough to see the city unfortunately. Dubai Airport is decent! I’d love to try one of those sleep pods.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 😉

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