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A Collegiate Guide to Long Layovers

Debating whether to take that layover or not? If you have the flexibility, I say you’ve got nothing to lose. Ok, maybe your luggage will be at higher risk of getting lost, but the chances of that happening are low enough where you shouldn’t care too much. However, I have had my well-rounded experiences of layovers in my time. From my experience, the shortest layovers are the worst because flights are commonly delayed and it’s never fun to dash from one terminal to the other. On the flip side, the longer ones you can relax and fill with planned things to do. Below is a list of ideas of why long layovers are actually the best: 


Overnight Freedom 

Typically you wouldn’t want to be in an airport overnight because you have to find a somewhere safe to rest and normally if you miss your connecting flight due to a delayed flight, the airport is required to give you free accommodation. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced a time where the airport did not give me free accommodation on a flight that was supposed to be a long-haul overnight flight. As dreadful as I thought it was going to be, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. To survive an overnight layover, follow these steps: 

First, check with multiple airport employees to see if there is an in-house micro-hotel. These hotels are commonly used by flight employees who work late at night and then immediately in the morning, but they’re open to non-employees as well. Secondly, take advantage of the open space to practice yoga, singing, or whatever your heart desires since hardly anyone will be in your way or bothered. Personally, I did some sleepy-yoga in a food court before I went to bed. Enjoy alone time but stay safe! 

Forever Food 

If you’re lucky enough to be in a large enough airport far away from where you live, you will have the greatest opportunity to test try anything you want. There will be an array of cafés, restaurants and convenience stores that will have many items to check out. When I was in the Philadelphia airport, I tried out New York bagels to Philly style pizza. In Ireland, I tried out some of their fresh cuisine in one of their small airports as well. My favorite food I tried was definitely the pizza that I tried in the morning hours (due to jet lag) on my layover in Philly between Ireland to Chicago.  

Play Catch-up 

If you prepared for your layover, I’m sure there’s some tasks you would enjoy catching up on. From Netflix binging to finishing a novel, blog, or workout playlist, you have lots of time to do anything that day to day life doesn’t seem to offer. And if you get tired of sitting around playing catch up… speed walk around the airport with all your stuff to get a workout in! If you’re lucky enough, the airport that you’re in may even have a workout facility or spa during the daytime hours for you to waste some time in. 


Observation Games 

Didn’t bring stuff to catch up on and low on money? Playing observation games can be fun too. Take notes on how people walk and note potential reasons why. This is done best by sitting down in different terminals and observing the differences of people going to one destination compared to another. The most interesting group of people I’ve observed was the people in the Chicago airport departing to Las Vegas due to an Elvis convention a large part of the group was heading too. That was quite the sight to see! 


Overall, don’t fret if you can save money by taking the longer layover or are forced into a layover. Keep in mind my tips and you’ll have a great time compared to most people! Also, don’t forget your rights as a flight passenger if you are forced into a delay or flight change because you might be able to get a refund, food vouchers, flight vouchers, or a free hotel stay! Anything else you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments below! 

Breanna is a Professional Communication Studies Student with a Sociology minor at UW-La Crosse. Some of her favorite hobbies are growing plants, doing yoga, and keeping up with being organized. Breanna is excited to be a part of Her Campus to help bring all women together more by sharing her thoughts and stories to the community, and to just make more friends. She hopes that many will appriciate her articles on lifestyle experiences to relationship advice. 
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