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Learn to travel smart with our guides to the ins and outs of planning and booking stress-free holidays. From searching for the perfect all-inclusive hotel to getting the low down on the best airports for a long layover, we've got you covered with all the best tips and tricks for making travel easy, affordable, and fun.
Sometimes a layover of over four hours is simply a necessity. Whether you snag a much cheaper fare by booking flights with layovers or miss a tight connection and get rebooked on a much later flight, the resulting long layover will give you time to play with.
Regardless of the reason for your long layover, we believe that rather than sitting in agony and waiting, it's best to embrace the situation. With that in mind we thought we'd let you know about five airports across the globe that we find to be pretty extraordinary places to experience long layovers.
Changi Airport, coincidentally rated the world's best airport for many years in a row, is a an oasis for travellers facing any kind of layover — the longer the better!
Shopping has come to be expected at major airports, but Changi takes this to a whole other level with hundreds of shops throughout the airport. If shopping doesn't appeal after sitting in a plane for up to 19 hours, a good first stop might be the instagram-famous sunflower gardens in Terminal 2, the butterfly garden in Terminal 3, or the cactus garden in Terminal 1. Another perk of a layover in Changi is the free foot massage chairs located throughout the airport — not to mention that there are multiple spas accessible to travellers. Look in practically any direction at Changi and you'll see a wide variety of cuisine. There are even two-and-a-half-hour city tours available for layovers of over five-and-a-half hours.
If you land a bit too tired for any of the aforementioned activities, Changi has snooze lounges dispersed throughout all four terminals where you can get some shuteye when need be.
Any layover in North America where you can find yourself surrounded by gambling opportunities is a lot more appealing than the normal $10-sandwich layover we've come to accept as standard when traveling. So if you're itinerary involves a layover in McCarran, set aside that $10 and see if you can't turn it into more (or a free sandwich if you look at it that way)!
Beyond hitting the slots, you can take advantage of walking paths, hit the spa, wine and dine, and even visit the aviation museum in Terminal 1.
If you have a long layover in Munich, an ideal first stop (assuming decent weather) is the Visitors Park — a unique place with an exhibition of historic aircraft, a huge aviation-themed playground for children, mini golf, and an almost 100-foot high observation hill. If your long layover is during the summer, you can surf (or just observe) on a stationary wave located between terminals.
It's no secret that Munich is a (if not the) beer capital — beer culture is widely accessible at the airport too, so even if you don't have quite enough time for the 45-minute ride into the city, you can grab a brew or three at an airport beer garden. If you've got more time left after all that, you can even do a little gambling in one of the casinos or visit the Audi showroom above Terminal 1!
Much like Changi Airport in Singapore, those looking to relax during their long layover have a plethora of options. Get off your long-haul flight and head to one of three spas, a hotel, a sleeping cubicle, or just grab a free shower. There is also an indoor garden and health club for those who need to get the blood back and flowing after a long flight.
If you're layover is over eight hours, it may be worth it to buy a transit visa and take the efficient metro into the city. If for nothing else, to simply marvel up at the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
The simple fact that you can get off the plane and enjoy some amazing Korean food for a fair price is enough to get Incheon on the list. If you're not hungry right after flying, no worries! You'll have access to spas, gambling via a free shuttle bus, seven themed gardens, in-airport art exhibits, a virtual gym, an ice-skating rink, and a movie theatre — kind of makes you wonder how they managed to fit all of that in one airport.
If you're layover is on the longer side, say six hours or longer, there are many tour companies that will take you out into Seoul for a hours and show you around — not that you'd be short of stuff to do if you decided to just stay in the airport.