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How to Pass the Time During a Stopover

by Lisa Stentvedt

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When travelling on a budget, it is often necessary to spend more time at an airport in order to save money on flights. Passing the time during a stopover is a must in order to be able to relax and enjoy the time spent. With so many great airports across the world, it shouldn’t be a problem, but it is still easy to get bored and a little stressed when waiting for your next flight. This guide on how to pass the time during a stopover should be of help!

How to pass the time during a stopover


Airports are heaven for shopaholics, and will often have sales and offers you can’t find outside those ‘international borders’. I bought my first Michael Kors wallet at Kastrup, Copenhagen at half price, and even when I’m not planning on buying anything, window shopping is always fun too. If you have an hour or two to spare, make a mental list of the last 5 items you told yourself you wanted, and go on a hunt!

Some of my favourite airports for shopping: Schiphol, Dubai International, Heathrow & Hong Kong.

Research transit visas

If you’re wondering if you can leave the airport during a layover, you’ll love this. This is actually something you have to do in advance, and not on a whim in most countries. If you know you have several hours to pass at an airport, you could take this time to explore the city outside the walls. Many countries have an option to apply for a transit visa that will allow you to head into the city and do some sightseeing while waiting. In China, certain cities are operating with a 72-hour transit free policy, allowing you to stay in the city for up to 3 days without a visa! That’s reason enough to book your next flight a couple days later. If you do your research on this area, you might be able to cross an extra city off your list!

Get some zzz

Many airports, such as Dubai International, will have areas with lounge chairs, for those waiting at the airport overnight. Find one of these, set your alarm so that you will have plenty of time to find your gate, and get that power nap started. On long-haul flights sleep is vital and will help you feel refreshed when reaching your destination, in addition to passing the time during your stopover.

Alternatively, and if your stopover is for several hours overnight, you could check out whether the terminal has a hotel on-site. Many airports across the globe are now offering this, and it is a surefire way to ensure some quality sleep before the next leg of your trip.

Bring a book (or a Kindle)

I always bring several books with me when I travel, and 2 of them are usually to be found in my carry-on. Books are the best way to get lost and forget about time, just make sure to watch the time so you don’t miss your flight.

I have been lucky enough to acquire a Kindle, which I am very excited to bring on my next trip! No more heavy books taking up space in my bag, and no more having to leave books I don’t have room for abroad. Before returning home from Hawaii, I actually had to leave 4 books behind! They will never be forgotten.

Plan the trip

When I have several hours to spend at an airport, I like to prepare for when I arrive at my destination. Most airport shops have plenty of guidebooks to offer, and there are also many great apps you can use for planning your trip.

Read more: The Best Travel Planning Resources

Find a lounge

Many people underestimate the value of having a designated place to relax and unwind when spending a long time at an airport. Lounges used to be something reserved for business class travellers only, but can now be accessed by almost anyone for just a small fee. From time to time it is worth considering paying a fee in order to have a place to shower, get some coffee, and just unwind away from the crowds.

What are your best airport hacks for passing time?

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Jane 15/07/2017 - 06:02

I actually really enjoy stopovers for all the above reasons, especially the excuse to shop haha. I do love a good airport lounge too! I had no idea some cities in China had a transit free policy, definitely something I’ll keep in mind when I plan a trip there 🙂


Lisa // Fjords & Beaches 15/07/2017 - 11:14

I’m glad I’m not the only one, haha! 🙂 Yes, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind, Jane!

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