My cross-country holiday travel seems to always include a layover. Especially when you are traveling during the busiest times of the year, it is really important to take advantage of your time on the ground.
These are my top tips for making the most of your layover.
- Get Moving! It is super important to keep the blood flowing while you travel. I like to take a nice walk around the terminal during my layover to add a bit of activity to my day.
- Eat Something! Plane food is usually pretty mediocre and always expensive… not that airport food is much better. But at least you have options. I always try to get a snack during my layovers especially because you never know how long you might get stuck on the tarmac next time you get on a plane.
- Use those Credit Card Perks! My favorite travel credit card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The annual fee is high but the perks are huge. One of my favorite parts is that they give you a priority pass for lounge access at airports around the globe. My United Credit Card also gives you a set of lounge passes each year. It is amazing how rejuvenating it is to go to a lounge instead of just hanging at the gate.
- Recharge Your Devices! Every once in a while you get a seat on the plane with plugs, but you can never count on it. I always use my layover to charge my phone and kindle so that I am ready to watch movies and listen to podcasts on the next leg of my trip.
I try to be very strategic when planning my holiday travel. Sometimes it’s not just about finding the shortest trip or cheapest ticket. It’s also important to pick a layover stop that does the most for your trip. I take a look at all the options for my layover and choose my flight based on the amount of time that I’ll spend on the ground and what options the airport has.
These are my top tips for picking your airport:
- If it is a short layover, I usually take a peek at the airport map for the city I’ll be flying to and confirm that I’ll be able to get through the terminal to my gate in time. I also google the flight number to see which gate it typically lands at and where the next flight typically takes off from. This is especially important if you are changing airlines or changing airplane sizes. Sometimes smaller “local” planes fly out of different parts of the airport than the larger “cross-country” planes – so be on the lookout!
- If it is a long layover, I try to pick an airport that has a lounge that you can get into with my priority pass (a perk of my chase card) or restaurants/shops that I am interested in.
- In the winter time, I also try to fly through an airport in the southern or mid-western part of the United States vs. the airports that get a lot of weather. This helps me to avoid flight delays. Pro-tip: if you think your flight might be delayed because of a big storm, call the airline the day before and ask if you can change it for free, sometimes they will even bump you to a direct flight for no extra cost!