Travelling can be a hassle when things don’t go as scheduled. While I was a student of University of Cape Coast, Ghana, I traveled a lot as I reside in Abuja, Nigeria. Usually, I’d take connecting flights from Accra to Abuja (i.e. Accra to Lagos and then to Abuja). I wish I took straight flights to Abuja but those flights were early morning flights, and I couldn’t meet up because my school was in Cape Coast and from Cape Coast to Accra is 3 hours. See why early flights were so inconvenient?
Anyway, there were times where I had to wait at Murtala Muhammed International Airport for up to 8 hours because I booked a late flight to Abuja (to be on the safe side in case of delays) or because somehow, the flight was delayed for some reasons like the weather.
Waiting at the airport can be difficult, you want to come off a flight and get into the next one right away, but sometimes, layovers really can’t be helped; whether it is an international layover or a domestic one.
“Layover refers to a connection point between cities, sometimes as short as 30 minutes or as long as 23 hours”
I will be sharing some tips I use to while away time during those layovers. I believe they will be helpful to you also, but before I get right into it, there are certain things you need to get ready for when travelling and when expecting layovers.
Generally, during travel, comfort is your crucial attire. You don’t want an uncomfortable dress, shirt or shoe adding to your problems (trust me). It’s also essential you put all that you will need into your small hand luggage or handbag such as a sweater (for the cold), power bank and charger, toiletries (so you are not taken unaware) and any other thing you feel might come in handy when you wait.
You also need to check out the flight options for the destination you want to travel, so you get affordable prices. For destinations such as New York, Travelstart is one agency that offers cheap flights to New York. Always have in mind your departure times, so you don’t get carried away and miss your flight.
So let’s get right to the tips.
7 Tips to Surviving Long Layovers
Explore your environment
This is an excellent way to spend time at the airport. I usually go around the airport just for sightseeing. Sometimes, I do window shopping, and what I can afford, I buy. It’s fun, and it’s a way to get rid of time. For domestic layovers, I know you can leave the airport. So in those times, you could look for nearby places to check out. As for international layovers, it’s not all the time that one is allowed to leave the airport due to visa issues, but you can check that with your flight attendants.
If you are going to be exploring, one thing you have to keep in mind is your luggage. You don’t want your bags to go missing at the airport so it’s important you keep it safe or you could carry it around. It’s easier to move around if you packed light.
Have a nice meal/Explore dishes
Who doesn’t love good food? I have a special place at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport I visit. They make really nice meals and sell one of the best meat pies I have ever had (I love meat pies!). If you have a place like that, you can always go there to treat yourself to something delicious. However, if it’s your first time in that airport or you don’t have a favorite spot, you could explore and find one that works for you. You can also try different dishes of the country people, do something exciting, and take something new.
Most times after a long flight, you feel exhausted. At this point, you wish you could get a bed to lie down on. You could rest your head on a seat and sleep. If you decide to sleep and you are travelling alone, make sure that your luggage is secured. You can do this by putting your hands, head or legs on them so that if by chance it moves, you’d wake up.
Read a book
Books have always been helpful. Make sure you pack one that you can read. If you have none, there are books sold at the airport that might interest you.
Watch a movie
Watching a movie or binge watching a favorite series can make time go fast. Whatever you watch it on, be it a phone, iPad, laptop, make sure you have got a place to charge, or you came with a power bank, so you don’t run out of battery.
Start a conversation with someone
You can start a conversation with someone; you’d be surprised at the interesting people that come to the airport. You could even make a friend. Learning about people and the stories they have to share is quite interesting. One time at the airport, during one of my wait periods, I started talking to a lady that sat next to me and right now, we are friends. Feel free to try.
Catch up on Social Media/ Work
You can check social media or surf the internet while you wait. If your layover is a domestic one, this isn’t a problem, but if it’s an international one, you might not be able to do this except you are roaming on a network, or you are using the airport’s Wi-Fi. For those who have work to do, you could always complete it at the airport. I have done this once, and it was helpful.
Waiting must not be as frustrating if you know the right things to do to take your mind off it. Explore, meet new people, watch a movie, get around and before you know it, you will be boarding your next flight. Next time you have a lay