10 Things to do at airports during a layover

Having layovers can be hard for many people, but if you look at the bright side of life, you can get a whole new experience out of it.

I had quite a few layovers on my travels so far, and most of the time, it was very interesting to explore yet another different airport.

Every airport is different, and the smaller ones don’t really have much to offer, still you can prepare to kill time before your connecting flight, be it at a tiny or huge airport. Here is how:

1. Freshen up

Bildergebnis für airport toilets
Source: Pinterest.com

This is probably the most important thing to do after stepping out of the plane. For this, make sure you always carry around lotion, brush/comb, and a little bit of make-up in your hand-luggage. Body Wipes or roll-on deodorants can also be handy if you feel super disgusting. Some airports even have shower rooms, but I am not sure if they are free or not. Another good idea is to carry extra clothes in your hand luggage. If you were sweating too much, or just wanna feel more comfortable, it’s gonna save your life.

2. Get your gate information

Bildergebnis für airport flight information
Source: newdelhiairport.in

Many times, the gate and time won’t be announced yet, by the time you land. This is pretty common when you have connecting flights, so you would have to make sure to keep yourself updated in front of the departues boards. It’s more relaxing if you have 3 or 4 hours until your flight, but if it’s only 1 or 2 hours, and your gate is still not being announced, make sure to ask someone at the information desk when to expect the announcement. They will be able to tell you more.

Not only gates, but sometimes, you might even have to get your ticket during a layover as well. That happened to us in March when we were flying back from Dubai to Stuttgart with Turkish Airlines. We had to get our connecting tickets at a counter right after landing, and we only had around 1 hour in total until our flight’s departure. That was very stressful, and I’d prefer airlines not doing this at all.

3. Social Networking

Bildergebnis für airport internet wifi
Source: surfsonix.com

Posting your location on Facebook or an Instagram picture of your flight is almost mandatory when travelling. Of course, not only for entertainment, but also to inform your family and friends back home and let them know you’ve landed and are safe and sound.

For this, always make sure to have your battery fully loaded or plug it in at one of the charging stations at the airport. If there is none, take a portable battery with you and make sure that it is fully loaded as well.

In January, during my flight from Taipei to Shanghai, my phone’s battery was so low that I couldn’t text my parents after landing, because I needed to show the address to the taxi driver. My parents were extremely worried by the time I finally got to my hotel. It was already midnight and they thought that something happened. After that hassle, I will make sure in the future to keep my phone fully loaded.

4. Food and Drinks

Bildergebnis für airport food courts
Source: pinterest.com

Sometimes, the food you get on the plane won’t be satisfactory to many of us. How lucky we are that there are food courts even in the smallest airports in the world. It’s nearly impossible to starve on your layover. The higher possibility is that you’ll spend an infinity on deciding where and what to eat. If you don’t wanna opt for fast food on your travels (which I wouldn’t suggest), then there are many beautiful restaurants with great food options as well.

Other than a hot meal, there are lots of cafes, bakeries and shops to get some snacks and drinks for the flight. I personally love to sit in cafes and have a cup of coffee with something sweet to keep me energized.

5. Shopping

Bildergebnis für hong kong airport shopping
Source: newjetsetters.com

Some people actually buy a lot of things in those shops at airports since it’s duty free and you can find almost every brand at one place. Especially the cosmetics sections are very popular, and even I stroll through those venues every time I’m having a layover. It’s a nice way to kill some time, but also get freshened up with high-end perfumes (I am looking at you YSL). I even bought a MAC lipstick once on my 6-hour layover in Hong Kong, one that I have been searching for a longer time. And I also bought presents for my cousin’s two kids at the Disney Store at Hong Kong Airport. Usually, I buy magazines or books at airports, but that one time in Hong Kong, I just did some last-minute shopping since I still had some money left :’D

6. Extra Activities

Bildergebnis für airport cinema
Source: cnn.com

The biggest airports in the world have more to offer than just shopping and food. If you are lucky, you can actually kill some time in an airport cinema (Changi Airport in Singapore, Hong Kong Airport, Schiphool Airport in Amsterdam,…). I would love to try that out once if I have another +4h layover somewhere, but I would think about doing No. 10 instead.

Some airports offer a cultural exhibition. There will be a small section with utensils being exhibited, almost like in a museum. Or even performances to keep the travellers entertained.

In many muslim countries’ airports, there will be prayer rooms offered for free. And I am sure that many more airports around the world will have individual activity programs designated to each airport.

7. Sleep

Bildergebnis für sleep at airport
Source: traveltalkmag.com.au

This might be one of the most popular things to do during a layover, since most of the time you won’t be able to strech out on a flight. Plus, if the jetlag hasn’t reached you at your layover airport yet, it will definitely kick in after landing at your destination, so sleeping off during a layover might be the smartest idea.

8. Read

Bildergebnis für airport bookstores
Source: flydenver.com

If you haven’t already packed an exciting read in your hand luggage, then you might as well check out the books at your layover airport. If you are not so much into books, you can also get one or two magazines.

I personally love browsing through bookstores at airports, and I even got myself a great book once at the Taipei International Airport (“Crazy Rich Asians”). I don’t always buy a book, though, since I try to bring my own.

9. People Watching

Bildergebnis für airport crowds
Source: irelandfamilyvacations.com

At an airport, there will be people from all over the world. People you might never ever see again. People who look differently, and talk in different languages. And this is one of the reasons I love airports so much. They are the places where people from almost all nations worldwide meet. I personally love people watching; guessing about their lives, where they are going to, where they are coming from, what language they are talking. I love making stories in my head for just a few minutes.

10. Explore the City

Bildergebnis für airport express hong kong
Source: travel2next.com

Most of the times, your layover might be around 3 hours maximum, but sometimes, you will have extremely long layovers where a short trip to the city might be actually worth it. Many big airports will have airport expresses which will take you to the city centre in less than an hour (Hong Kong, London,…). Also, airlines like Turkish Airlines will offer a free city tour in Istanbul when you have +5h until your next flight.

Until now, I only had 2 very long layovers, one 6 hours in Hong Kong and one 3 hours in Dubai. The one in Hong Kong passed by almost immediately. I did almost all activities stated above except for Nos 6, 7, and 10. I could have actually gone to the city as well, but I have already been to Hong Kong several times, and I didn’t want to be more stressed than I already was. In Dubai, I had a layover of 3 hours which made it impossible to take a trip downtown, so I just wandered around the airport and looked around most of the time.

What about you guys? What are the things you love to do at airports during a layover? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Merveille.

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10 Things that I miss about China

It’s been 9 months now, since I have been back to Germany, and as much as I have missed my parents, I have realized many things that I got used to in China so much that I miss them here now. Here are my top 10.

1 The food:

Source: meetup.com

 

Everything from street food, hole-in-the-wall-restaurants, fancy chinese restaurants, or even western-oriented cafes in big cities, I miss all of that.
It is really hard to find real authentic chinese food in Germany. It is also not very easy to find individual and hip restaurants around Stuttgart.
Anyway, if I go back to China, I will indulge in ALL the food <3
I might even write a blog post only dedicated to chinese food one day. Stay tuned!

2 Public Transportation:

Source: couriermail.com.au

Guys, I can’t tell you how important this one is for me and how much I am struggling with this here. In Germany, many people have cars, so there aren’t a lot of possibilities for public transportation. We do have a huge train system, but it is freaking expensive, even for students who get a student bargain. It would be cheaper to take the fast train from Yuyao to Shanghai (which takes about 2 hours) than to take the train from my home to Stuttgart (which takes about 30 minutes).
Other than trains, taxis are always around and so cheap. Usually, we would show them the address in chinese or even talk to them if we knew what to say.
I’d say that public transportation is cheaper in Asia in general.

3 All the Merch:

Source: gcastd.org

Pay-Day meant having the possibility to pay all the totoro- and sailor moon – stuff. And I am not even living in Japan where you can find more than you imagine. If you are not ready for Japan, China is a good place to start getting used to spending your money on Merchandise.

4 Heating Stuff in Winter:

People in China are totally afraid of the cold and the wet. So they will invent all of the things you have possibly dreamed about. One of the things are the heating bottle-pillows that we used everywhere we went to. We also found some heating pads to stick all over your body, even soles for your shoes. These things brought us through the few winter days we had in China.

5 Meeting new people:

Source: english.visitbeijing.com

In China, it is very easy to meet new people, chinese and foreigners alike. With foreigners, you will slowly start to talk out of interest about what they are doing there. With chinese people it is even easier to get into conversation since they will always approach you because of your western looks :D

6 The fame: 

Source: Theworldofchinese.com

I mentioned this before in my post about culture schocks, but as soon you get used to it, you will miss it when you’re back in Europe. It is also easier to look ridiculous or dress in an extroverted way, because even if people look at you, they look at you anyway, so do what you want!

7 Fruit shops:

Source: beijingrelocation.com

These fruit shops were life savers. You can find them at every corner, and most of them are open until midnight. You can buy all kinds of fruit here, and if you only want to buy a half of a watermelon, they will cut it for you and put it into plastic boxes. This is the best idea if you want to have a healthy lunch but have no time to cut it yourself. I ate fruits way more often than I do here now.

8 Chinese boutiques and Alibaba:

bread n butter hong kong, Angelababy, La Carmina will be in Tokyo, Japan soon! Keep your eyes peeled for casting notices, so you can join our TV show shoots. :D    But first... Phoenix, Arizona spooky press trip. Got travel suggestions for me??     PLUS photos of Marie Antoinette & Lady Gaga shoes. Enjoy :D    http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/2012/11/press-trip-travel-blogger-phoenix-arizona-tokyo-hong-kong-fashion-inspiration-womens-clothing-shoes-shops/:
Source: lacarmina.com

As long as you have a petite body type, you will find a lot of cute and beautiful clothes here. They are all unique and you can’t find anything like the things here in european countries. I bought some clothes from these shops and you will also get the attention of the shop workers immediately, who will want to take some photos and selfies of you wearing their clothes :’D
Alibaba is the chinese verison of Amazon, even bigger, more successful and with a bigger range of selection. You can literally find anything here, from food to clothes to furniture.

9 Dancing Aunties:

Source: scmp.com

I just don’t understand why many people are annoyed by them, but I just love them and I would like to hug all of these women dancing in public places. Every evening after dinner time, women in their mid-years will meet up at public places to dance together. And it is not just the dancing aunties that meet up after dinner to work-out; many chinese people will meet up to work-out and exercise outside, especially in the warmer months.

10 Rooftop Bars: 

Source: kiplingandclark.com

The amount of rooftop bars in China, or in Asia in general is ridiculous. If a rooftop bar opens somewhere in Germany, it’s a big thing. And then, you don’t even have an amazing skyline to enjoy here, whereas in China, you have the most impressive skylines.

I hope I could give you my positive experiences I had in China which were quite a lot as you can see, and some of them very important for everyday-life.
If you are thinking about travelling there or even living there, I am sure that this post will help you a lot.

Thanks for reading!

Travel well!