Some airports make a long layover extra interesting than others; I’ve gladly spent hours on the Korean spa inside Seoul’s Incheon Worldwide Airport.

However for probably the most half, airports may be costly and uncomfortable. Significantly on this period of unpredictable flight schedules and understaffed meals courts, escaping the constructing could also be the perfect use of your idle time.

You could possibly go small, like ditching Los Angeles Worldwide Airport to get tacos in Inglewood, or have a distilled trip, just like the latest 26-hour layover I used to discover Istanbul on my method again from Africa.

However pulling off a profitable layover takes some planning. Whether or not you’re dealing with a prolonged delay or canceled flight or have already got an extended layover in your itinerary, listed here are some ideas for taking advantage of your time.

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For Jeff Jenkins, the journey knowledgeable and content material creator behind Chubby Diaries, if he’s stopped someplace attention-grabbing and has not less than 4 hours to spare, “I’m positively going,” he stated. “I’ve to go expertise it.”

Earlier than you allow the airport, make sure you might have enough time to get back, go via safety and make it to your gate for boarding.

Calculate how lengthy it’ll take to get into the town heart — or particular restaurant, seaside or no matter different vacationer attraction you’d prefer to see between flights — together with how lengthy it ought to take to get again and the way lengthy you want for check-in and safety. The final half will range relying on the airport; whether or not you’re flying home or worldwide; and if you must verify a bag.

Then go away room for hurdles.

“Construct in sufficient time in case there are lengthy traces at bag verify or safety,” stated Scott’s Low cost Flights founder Scott Keyes, including that it’s additionally smart to see how lengthy it takes to get to your gate. Whereas it could solely take 5 to 10 minutes at most airports, it might be as much as 30.

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Higher but, arrange a day-long layover

It’s also possible to plan your journey with a leisurely layover to take pleasure in a micro-trip.

I referred to the Scott’s Cheap Flights blog when planning my Istanbul layover, which really helpful that vacationers have not less than eight hours between flights to depart the airport. My unique itinerary gave me seven, so I switched to a later flight to offer me about 26 hours to play with as an alternative.

As a substitute of searching for round-trip tickets, Austin Graff, writer of By The Approach’s local guide to Washington, D.C., retailers for airfare utilizing the “multi-city” choice to search out what he calls “lengthy brief layovers” of not less than 12 hours.

The airline you’re flying can also supply a stopover program that makes it straightforward so as to add a layover to your journey plans, generally even at a reduced worth. Icelandair, Play Airways, Turkish Airways, TAP Air Portugal and Emirates are a few of the most notable.

Jenkins took a sponsored 14-hour layover in Doha via Qatar Airlines that included a free resort room. He had the prospect to discover the capital metropolis, go to museums and see native traditions, like folks breaking the quick throughout Ramadan.

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Make a map of choices — however set priorities

One of the simplest ways to have a horrible layover is to attempt to do an excessive amount of. Don’t cram your small window scrambling to see each attraction on the town; as an alternative, choose a aim or two and leave yourself room to wander.

There was no method I might see every thing in Istanbul in a day, so I picked a couple of features of native tradition I wished to expertise.

The day earlier than I landed, I made a reservation for a scrub at a Turkish bath (within the late afternoon, in case my flight was delayed). I picked one near the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque so I might stroll by the well-known sights earlier than my appointment.

As soon as I used to be within the metropolis, I spotted I had sufficient time to see a soccer recreation that night and acquired last-minute tickets. The remainder of the time I walked round, stopping when and the place I wished for sightseeing, consuming and ingesting, memento buying and folks watching.

For extra environment friendly exploring, save factors of curiosity in a Google Maps list. I plotted mine for Istanbul utilizing the By The Approach guide, plus ideas from mates. As soon as I obtained into the town, I might see what was most handy to go to throughout my timeframe.

Keyes says having a Google Maps record prepared helps him journey “serendipitously” whereas maintaining a backup plan. You’ll be able to spend the day wandering however pop open the map once you get hungry to see in case you’re near any eating places you flagged.

When you’ve added your factors of curiosity, save the map for offline viewing in case you’re anxious about worldwide connectivity or need to save your cellphone battery by occurring airplane mode.

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Depart as a lot as you’ll be able to behind

Even in case you’re a light-weight packer, you don’t need to lug a carry-on round throughout a layover.

Keyes says most airports have a baggage storage service the place you’ll be able to stash your suitcase for a small price. I used to be staying the evening at an airport resort, so I might go away my duffel bag and heavy gadgets behind.

However think about the important gadgets you might want through the day. That might be a conveyable charger in your cellphone, your passport or different types of ID, medicine you’ll be able to’t reside with out, or crucial garments for the weather.

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Discover one of the simplest ways to get into city (and again)

Deciding whether or not it is smart to depart the airport usually comes right down to comfort. In a spot infamous for site visitors, it could be extra stress than it’s price to get into city.

Your most secure wager is normally a spot with good public transportation. When a prepare or subway is out there to the airport, “it’s normally probably the most dependable — and least expensive — option to see the town,” Graff stated.

Figuring out he might take the prepare from the airport into Tokyo, Jenkins watched a couple of YouTube movies about the best way to navigate the system. He spent his seven-hour layover in Japan taking the prepare to Shibuya Crossing, the place he discovered a restaurant overlooking the well-known intersection.

The bus to get from the airport into Istanbul correct took about 45 minutes and price $3. I took a taxi on the best way again and arrived in an analogous period of time for $25.

It additionally value me $50 for a visa to enter Turkey, a small worth to pay for the unimaginable cultural expertise of my layover. However Graff warns it’s not all the time reasonably priced or easy to get into a rustic throughout a global journey. Test to see if there are any particular necessities to depart the airport.

“In some instances, it’s not well worth the money and time if a visa is required,” he stated.

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