Whether you’re jet-setting this summer, fall, or winter, airport connections are an inevitable part of travel. While delayed or canceled flights might lead to unexpected layovers, there’s no need to despair. Instead of wasting time at the airport, savvy travelers have found ingenious ways to make the most of their layovers. Here are some expert tips to elevate your airport experience and transform it into an adventure.
Lounge Access: A Gateway to Comfort and Luxury
For travelers seeking comfort and relaxation during layovers, airport lounges are the perfect refuge. The Priority Pass lounge network offers access to over 1,300 lounges globally, providing a tranquil space to unwind. While a Priority Pass membership costs around $470 annually, some credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum offer the same access at no extra cost. Additionally, certain lounges are exclusive to customers of specific airlines, catering to those with premium fare classes, elite status, or high-end airline credit cards.
Layovers Turned Sightseeing Opportunities
Travel expert Katy Nastro recommends booking long layovers intentionally, especially when traveling internationally. By extending your layover, you can explore exciting destinations beyond the airport’s confines. Nastro recalls booking a nine-hour layover in Copenhagen, where she rented a bike and ventured into the city to experience Danish delicacies at TorvehallerneKBH, a renowned covered food market. Planning extended layovers not only makes your journey more enjoyable but also adds a touch of adventure to your trip.
Airport Dining: A Culinary Journey
Gone are the days of standard airport fare. Airports around the world are upping their culinary game, offering a diverse range of local and international dining options. From France’s famous caviar at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to San Francisco’s beloved sourdough bread bowls at San Francisco International Airport, travelers can embark on a culinary journey without leaving the airport. Global restaurateur HMSHost leads the charge, collaborating with local chefs and brands to bring the essence of the community’s cuisine to airport terminals.
Airports Evolving into Entertainment Hubs
Long layovers no longer mean boring hours spent idly. Airports are transforming into entertainment hubs, offering various activities to keep travelers engaged. At Portland International Airport, you can catch a movie at their in-house theater, while Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport’s PGA MSP Lounge boasts a putting green and virtual driving range. Denver International Airport even has a seasonal ice skating rink for the adventurous. Furthermore, many airports now offer yoga rooms, live music, and small museums, creating a vibrant atmosphere for travelers.
The Art of Layover Exploration
Beyond the amenities offered within airports, exploring the nearby areas during layovers is a growing trend. Some airports, like New York’s JFK, have attractive features like the TWA Infinity Pool at the TWA Hotel, accessible to non-hotel guests year-round. Travelers can plan ahead and make the most of their layovers by researching nearby attractions and making the most of their time before their next flight.
Embracing the Unexpected
Layovers, once seen as tedious delays, are now viewed as opportunities for adventure and exploration. Embracing the unexpected can turn a seemingly mundane travel experience into a memorable journey. With the right mindset and these expert tips, travelers can make the most of their layovers and elevate their travel experiences to new heights. So the next time you find yourself with an airport connection, seize the chance to embark on a mini-adventure, creating lasting memories on your journey.
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