Not looking forward to the long wait between your flights? With a bit of planning it’s easy to turn the dreaded layover into a treasured part of your holiday.
Do your research
Before you go, have a look at what the airport is offering. Does it have a lounge where you can relax for a small fee? A swimming pool? Or maybe it offers all-night shopping? When you know exactly what’s there to do, you can come prepared and even prebook some of the services.
Here is a brief overview of possible things to do at some of the most common transit airports if you’re flying from Australia.
Changi Airport has paid lounges with gym facilities, spa services and a very reasonably priced transit hotel with a swimming pool (don’t forget your swimmers!). There’s also a free tour of Singapore for transit passengers who have at least 5 hours to spare. If you’re travelling with kids, you’ll find a few playgrounds for them and they’ll also enjoy riding around on the Sky Train.
Suvarnabhumi airport is not quite as passenger-friendly as Changi. This airport is huge and there’s no transport provided to get around other than paid buggies. You’ll probably be spending a lot of time walking and you may not have as much free time as you think. If you have no access to airline lounge, there are paid lounges and a transit hotel at Suvarnabhumi, but I found that I had to walk to them for so long that it almost wasn’t worth it.
If you have a longer layover, there are tours provided for transit passengers. They’re not free, you will need to pre-book and pay, but the good thing is that most of them are private tours, you will get your own car and driver and you can do it at a time that’s convenient for you without having to wait for other passengers.
In addition to the usual paid lounges, private resting areas and shopping, you can enjoy something different at Hong Kong airport – art exhibitions. The airport is well connected to the city, you can get the train and arrive there in less than half an hour, so if you have a longer layover (6 hours or more) it’s worth taking yourself out for quick sightseeing or a visit to the markets.
Once you decide on your plans, make your hand luggage as light as possible, but ensure you have everything you need. Bring your gym gear, if you’re planning a gym visit. Check the weather forecast if you’re going into town. Pack enough snacks and toys for your kids, so that you don’t have to rush to the shops once you arrive.
Get ready mentally
If you see your layover as a nuisance, it will turn out exactly that. If you accept it as a time to relax, stretch between your flights, treat yourself to some yummy food and a fresh juice or do some bonus sightseeing, you’ll find that the hours melt only too quickly.
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