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What to do if you have a long airport stopover

Airport stopovers are renowned for being long and boring, however this doesn’t have to be the way for you. With our top tips on what to do if you have a long stop over, you will end up looking forward to them, rather than dread them!

Plane at the airportSleep

Traveling can be an exhausting experience, so sleeping is a great way to pass the time, and attempt to banish your jet lag. Some travellers find it easy to park up on an empty bench and fall asleep, however others may frown upon it, or not be able to sleep with all of the noise and light. These days, many airports now have designated sleeping zones and lounges, where you can catch up on some ‘Z’s’ in a more peaceful environment.

Leave the airport

Leaving the airport is more suited to people with a stayover that's half a day or more long. To some people, leaving the airport may sound risky, especially when you are travelling with a family and lot of luggage. However, if you are traveling alone, or as a couple, or a group of friends, then leaving the airport could be a more exciting way of spending your stop over. Usually, stopover airports are located in city centres, such as Dubai, London, and Amsterdam. The city centre locations make it easy and convenient to explore the cities famous landmarks, history, and culture, by public transport as everything is so close.

For some countries you will need a visa in order to leave the airport, so make sure you are aware if you need one or not.

People watch

People watching in general can be interesting and a good pass time. Observing what people wear, their different hairstyles and their tattoos and piercings can bring out our curious side. It gets your brain thinking hundreds of different questions: ‘Why are they wearing that?’ ‘What was the story behind that tattoo?’ and so on. And without you knowing, an hour or so has already passed!

Go duty free shopping

What better way to pass time than shopping? And with discounted prices at the airports duty free, what’s not to love? Explore all of the designer brands and snap yourself up some bargains!


Although this may not help to pass a half day stop over or longer, reading can be very handy to help pass a couple of hours. Check out the book shops at the airport and invest in some new books, magazines and newspapers to help you pass some of your waiting time. Maybe you could purchase some classic Sudoku, word search, and crossword books too!

Working on holidayPlan

Take this time to plan what you want to do on your tip. You could use the airport Wi-Fi to do some research as to what’s around your hotel, including restaurants, bars, landmarks, beaches, and historic features. Jotting down some notes on what you want to do, will mean you can get straight into enjoying your destination once you get there.

Play games

This one is for the families! It can be hard to keep yourself entertained for a stopover, let alone trying to keep young kids entertained. Take some travel games with you and a pack of cards to keep you all amused. And you can always make up games too, like ‘who can spot the first...?’, ‘Eye Spy,’ ‘Simon Says, ‘or ‘Guess the countries of the cities on the departure board.’

Test the bars and restaurants

Over the years, airport restaurant and bars have improved drastically. And what better way to prove this then by testing them all out, right? Heathrow Airport has an array of luxury bars and restaurants including a Fortnum and Mason Champagne bar, and a Gordon Ramsay Plane Food Restaurant.

Drinks at the bar

Don’t forget, you can get your travel insurance from DirectTravel at either or ring our friendly team on 0330 880 3600.