How to Survive Long Layovers While Traveling Long Distance

Happy December! I love love Christmas so you know I'm one of the more excited folks. Please, again, stop harassing people about how it's the last month of the decade, yidi yada. Honestly, who cares? Time is a social construct. Lmao. Kidding. Seriously, do not put any unnecessary pressure on yourself because of arbritary timelines random strangers created.

oNlY oNe MoNtH lEfT iN tHe YeAr/DeCaDe

Okay and?

It is not helpful or logical because really nothing really changes because we cross over from one "decade" to another; or from one month to another. Just chill. Okay for real, I am trying to make this post as short  and lighthearted as possible given recent posts. So here goes.

Long stop overs are almost inevitable if you are traveling to Africa or Asia. You almost always have about 5 Hours stop in Europe, and if you're unlucky, it could be longer. Personally, I don't mind it. I know how shocking that is LOL, considering the fact that I just gave a recent spiel about traveling. However, I don't like being cooped up in a plane for too long. So I often welcome the opportunity to stop for a while before continuing along. Many people don't like it though. So here are suggestions on how to make it more bearable.

Somewhere in Heathrow, London (for what was not actually a layover)

1.)  Prepare your mind. Accept that you are going to be waiting for a while. Do not be in too much of a hurry. Also, don't bother checking the time every minute. You will only be doing yourself harm, because the minute you start doing that (no pun intended), that's when time starts to crawl. So once you deplane and get into the airport where you will be staying for 5 or 6 or sometimes 12 hours, just settle in and relax.

2.) Speaking of settling in. If you can afford it, then definitely stay in a lounge. It's sometimes hard to say what is or what is not expensive since I don't know y'all's pockets. But in European airports, which I am surprisingly more vast with than American airports (because I have never had to wait more than 5 hours in an American airport), lounges can go from about 70 Euros and above. The advantages of staying in a lounge are numerous. You can sleep comfortably without having to literally hug your hand luggage and other items for fear of theft or worse, some other nefarious activity. There is also food and of course, booze. But fret not, all of these are available in non-lounge parts of the airports too. So skip this step if it sounds ridiculous to pay that much for a flimsy lounge, which, bear in mind, for some lounges, you can only stay for three hours before your departure—again, this defeats the purpose. But before you knock it, still try it. You might be surprised.

Paris from the sky: much more amazing than a blurry iPhone camera could capture

3.) Sleep. Lounge or no lounge, you can still sleep during your layover. Position your belongings well enough that if someone touches them while you are sleeping, you would feel it and wake up. No one can sleep through someone dragging a small box from under your head, for instance. And because many planes (if you fly Economy) are not the most comfortable for sleeping, you are probably tired by the time you land. So catch up on sleep, if even for a couple of hours. Not to mention, some airports actually have sleep pods that allow you to get comfortable. Some people choose to sleep on the floor and goodness, I COULD NEVER. SO.MUCH.GERMS. Yikes lol.

4.) Now that you are up and rested. Depending on how long the layover is; it might almost be time to depart, in which case, adieu, safe journey! If you still have plenty hours left, keep reading. For some, this is the time to venture out of the airport to go take a look at the country they are in, especially if it's an interesting place like France or Italy or Greece. Bear in mind that this is risky. Anything could happen and then before you know it you missed your flight.  Some others choose to stay. Either way, freshen up, please. There is something about being locked in a plane for a few hours that makes even the best of us stink. So yeah, hopefully you packed some deodorants, hand sanitizers, and the likes. After which, this is the time I would advise that you read. Books, magazines, your personal mail that you have been planning on reading but never quite got the time to read, all those open tabs on you computer. When you are done reading, watch one or two episodes of your favorite show. Bear in mind again that for these, you have to have prepped before hand. This means stuffing your hand luggage with your favorite reading materials. It means downloading a couple of shows on Netflix or depending on how risk averse you are, watching with Airport wifi. If these options are unavailable you can try listening to music. Again, some airports actually have personal pods with a screen option, where you can watch shows the airline offers. So for instance, if Air France has an area for public lounging in Paris Charles de Gaulle (and they in fact do), then the mini-screens on each seat has all the entertainment options available on Air France flights.

Paris is beautiful and everything is so picturesque

5.) Sightsee/explore. Who says you only have to sightsee outside the airport? When you have read every single thing you packed, and watched about two episodes of your favorite show, it's time to walk around. Sitting too much while traveling can actually be harmful to your health. So walk the length and breath of your airport. Have breakfast or lunch, but sit in the restaurant while eating. MAKE SURE YOU EAT. Seriously, budget airport food money together with the rest of your travel expenses. You can't skimp on food. Eat well, and have a great dining experience; it's all part of the trip.  Get up and keep walking but do not lose sight of your gate; make a mental note to leave enough time to walk back to your boarding gate. There are TONS of stores in airports, window shop. And dream of when you will be able to walk into Gucci at the airport and by jackets, shoes, and purses. Or maybe you already can afford to, then by all means, shop.

6.) Okay so you have done all of the above and still have time? Journal. Pick up a pen or open your laptop and just write down literally anything you are thinking. ANYTHING. Write about what your life looks like now. What about your life are you thankful for? Write it. What part sucks? Write it. Have some introspection and think about where you think you are going with your life and wonder if you are even remotely on the right track. As you begin with these simple questions, it will begin to flow. It's a very good time to think and make decisions. Don't forget to make notes of ideas and thoughts that come to mind. If there is any benefit to traveling, this is it. The ability to be by yourself and sort of hang in between—not  home but not at your destination—makes  for good uninterrupted time to really think, and hear yourself think.

7.) So somehow, there is still more time to kill? Catch up on your work. I mean, whatever you do for a living. Maybe there is something you want to work on? Do it now. Some people like to shut down/off during vacations. I can't relate.

Honestly, before you know it, boarding has started for your next flight. So long layovers are definitely not the worst things in the world. The next time you have to have one, don't be bummed about it. Just make the best of it. I'm like an expert because I have had some really LONG layovers and never ever had a terrible experience. I mean, yeah there were sometimes I was just exhausted but mostly, it's never so bad.

Dang! Why can't I just write something short eh?

Anyway, what are your tips for surviving layovers or long trips in general? If I missed any, then please share in the comment.




  1. It's always great to hear other points of view. Someone that likes layovers. I hate domestic layovers but I don't mind international layovers especially Heathrow. It's a weird thing but I don't buy alcohol in america. I just stock up (and send people) in Heathrow. Because my loyalty miles are with One World, I tend to fly BA often so I stock up going and coming and I like walking around. I've had an over long layover once where I ended up watching shows till I was delirious and just messaging friends and also sleeping while clutching purse/luggage. Happy holidays!!!

  2. Hahah see, thank God for different perspectives: it didn't even occur to me to talk about layovers, because I actually think I might dislike domestic layovers. If it's a short trip, I would not see the need for a layover at all Lol. Thanks for stopping by, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!