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Touring Guide: Making The Most Of Long Layovers

Long Layovers
By Ella Kim

Long layovers might seem like major inconveniences, but with a little bit of creativity and ingenuity, they can actually provide an outstanding opportunity to explore the best a city has to offer—an opportunity to see the most desirable spots, cuisine, and culture a destination features, in a condensed period of time.

In many ways, long layovers are like boiled-down vacations of their own.

However, layovers only provide these and other benefits to individuals who take the initiative to have a good time, as opposed to sulking and waiting for the next leg of the flight.

To help anyone who’s interested in maximizing the quality of their long layover and seeing all that their layover city has to offer, here are some tips that are sure to make the process as stress-free as possible!

Think Quick and Big

It might be tempting to visit an amusement park, museum, movie theater or other all-encompassing spot during a long layover, but doing so will effectively eliminate any chance whatsoever of exploring said layover’s actual city. As such, those who’re looking to fill-out their layover schedule with as many different pieces of a city as possible should do so by thinking quick and big.

In other words, these individuals should plan their stays by thinking of/researching a city’s biggest and most popular sights—except those with waiting lines—which are also normally its quickest sights to visit.

For example, Las Vegas’s Stratosphere (which allows visitors to experience an incredibly high-up view of Vegas) can be thoroughly enjoyed in an hour or so, as can the birds at Flamingo (a variety of exotic creatures), any number of buffets, and a plethora of casinos. Thus, in just eight hours, efficient visitors can get the full Las Vegas experience. Inversely, waiting in line for one of the city’s few rollercoasters, although an appealing course of action, can easily eat up an entire day.

Thinking quick and big will work in other layover cities as well, as opposed to just Las Vegas. In Cleveland, for instance, visiting the breathtaking Metropark, an outdoor concert, Little Italy’s many stores, the Christmas Story House, and the ever-popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (the latter stop being added because of the extra time afforded by the others, although it does technically feature lines and is a museum) will provide a full look at what the city has to offer, and can most definitely be completed in less than eight hours. Attending a Cleveland Orchestra concert or an Indians game, although awesome, will take far more time.

Talk with Fellow Fliers

Today’s airplane seating areas hardly seem like ideal spots to strike up conversation (given their long periods of sitting and general uncomfortableness), but doing so, in addition to being polite, can actually reveal potentially useful bits of information. Because, as those who’ve engaged in dialogue with fellow fliers can attest to, there’s no telling what knowledge they possess. These persons may know a “secret” spot to visit in the layover city, because they have a family member who lives there; they may even live there themselves, as many fliers book their flights with the intention of departing in a layover city, to save money versus regular flight prices. In this latter instance, an abundance of useful information will be revealed!

Don’t Stress Over the Little Things

Stressing over the little things—where to go next, where to grab dinner, the early wake-up schedule—not only puts a damper on one’s trip, but it also fills up a deceivingly large amount of time—time that could otherwise be spent seeing the best a layover city has to offer.

Kick back, relax, and explore, during layovers; understand that all the anxiety, frustration, and anger in the world won’t change the situation, and that the only logical thing to do, therefore, is take it easy.

Ask for Airline Discounts

Especially for unscheduled layovers, but also for those which were planned ahead of time, airlines typically offer fliers coupons, discounts for local amenities, and/or travel information.

Provided that passengers ask for these benefits.

To be sure, airlines are in fact businesses, and they’re accordingly committed both to customer satisfaction and saving cash. They’ll take steps to satisfy the former as is necessary, and will in most instances default to steps designed to satisfy the latter. Asking politely for layover discount information is a great way to save cash and, in turn, be in a better position to see everything a city has to offer.

These tips are sure to help most individuals with long layovers make the best of the situation and enjoy something of an extra vacation stop in the process. Thanks for reading, and here’s to the most spectacular possible layovers!

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