EXPLORE: How I Turn a Layover into a Fun Day

When flying, I usually go for the cheapest flight possible. It saves money up front and allows you to have more of an adventure. As you probably know by now, I love to save money on travel so that I can experience more! Cheaper flights can mean long layovers. But having a long layover doesn’t have to be a boring day in an airport. Read on to see how I make the most of a long layover in a new city. I’ve included a lot of tips and tricks if you’d like to try it out yourself!

How I Turn a Layover into a Fun Day

Ask Friends

Once you book a flight and know where your layover is, ask a friend or coworker what they suggest you do and see. Friends can suggest neighborhoods to go to, shopping destinations, and restaurants to try.

Have a Plan

When you book your flight or have a cross country drive you can use some of your time to see a new location. The trick is to have a game plan! When I booked my trip to Maui I had a full day in Portland and a full day in San Diego. I had a great adventure by adding extra destinations to my trip but I was careful to plan meticulously. I knew exactly where I wanted to be and when I wanted to be there.


Pack Accordingly

If you are going to flee the airport for a day out you’ll need to pack accordingly. Your carry on should be full of everything you need for the day: make-up, change of clothes, phone charger, sunglasses, and whatever else you might need to get ready for the day or to survive the day. I suggest packing in a backpack!

Checked Luggage

If you have checked luggage you should make sure that it is taken care of before leaving the airport for the day. If you are jumping from airline to airline you will need to recheck your luggage before leaving. I usually pack in a carry all backpack or stay the night with a layover.

Know How to Get Around

Most cities have trains, cabs, buses, and car services. Know how you are going to get around before you take off into the city.

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Ask Your Driver for Advice

My Lyft Driver in San Diego suggested I eat at a place on the beach and check out the pier before I went to the zoo. I’m so glad I followed his advice! I had a quiet breakfast with a beautiful view before seeing the ocean. Ask your driver for advice! They’re usually happy to share info about their city with you.

Ask Locals for Advice

Locals are a great resource for advice. I usually ask police officers where to eat and waitresses for ideas on things to do. Other people I ask are cashiers and bartenders! They’re usually happy to share info about their city with you.

Keep an Eye on the Time

Be sure to keep an eye on the time while you are out seeing the city during your layover. I like to set timers on my phone to keep me moving along. Try not to cram too much into your day and have a priority list to follow!


Be Prepared to Miss Your Flight

Real Talk: If you leave the airport you risk missing your next flight. I think it’s fun and exciting to go out and explore but there is the very real possibility of traffic or other hang ups keeping you from getting back to the airport.

A Note on Food…

You should always try new foods while you’re out in a new city! Try to plan a lunch or dinner in your layover city. Remember, you have to follow TSA regulations when checking back into the airport. That means no drinks allowed!

Have you ever had an awesome day instead of a drab layover? Share your story in the comments below. Advice for other travelers is always welcome, too!