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What To Do On A Long Stopover


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Marcelle Suber



Long stopovers during travels can often be seen as a hassle, with hours spent waiting at the airport before catching the next flight. However, with a little planning and a sense of adventure, a long stopover can actually become an opportunity for exploration and discovery.


Instead of spending hours twiddling your thumbs in a crowded terminal, why not make the most of your time and turn your stopover into a mini adventure? Whether you have a few hours or a whole day to spare, there are plenty of things you can do to make your stopover not only enjoyable but also memorable.


From finding accommodation near the airport to exploring the city, visiting attractions, trying local cuisine, relaxing and unwinding, shopping for souvenirs, engaging in local activities, and maximizing the facilities at the airport, this guide will provide you with a range of options to consider during your long stopover.


So, instead of dreading those long hours between flights, embrace the opportunity to experience a taste of a new destination. Who knows, your stopover might just become the highlight of your entire trip!


Finding Accommodation

When faced with a long stopover, finding a comfortable place to rest and rejuvenate is crucial. Many airports offer transit hotels within the terminals, which provide convenient and hassle-free accommodation options. These hotels are often equipped with amenities such as comfortable beds, showers, and Wi-Fi, allowing you to recharge before continuing your journey.


If you prefer to venture outside the airport, consider booking a hotel near the airport. This not only gives you the opportunity to have a proper night’s sleep but also allows you to explore the surrounding area during your stopover. Many hotels also offer shuttle services to and from the airport, making your transit seamless and convenient.


Another option to consider is staying in a hotel located in the city center. This allows you to experience the local culture, attractions, and cuisine without having to venture too far from the airport. Do some research beforehand to find hotels that offer day-use rooms or have flexible check-in/check-out times that align with your stopover.


If you’re traveling on a tight budget or simply prefer a more unique experience, consider booking a homestay or Airbnb. These accommodations provide a more intimate and authentic experience, allowing you to connect with locals and get a glimpse into their way of life. Just make sure to choose a location that is easily accessible from the airport and provides the necessary facilities and amenities for your comfort.


Regardless of the accommodation option you choose, it’s always recommended to book in advance, especially during peak travel periods. This ensures you have a guaranteed place to stay and minimizes the chances of any last-minute complications.


Remember, finding the right accommodation is the first step in making your long stopover enjoyable and restful. Take the time to research and choose an option that suits your preferences and budget, allowing you to arrive at your next destination feeling refreshed and ready for your onward journey.


Exploring the City

One of the best ways to make the most of a long stopover is to venture out of the airport and take the opportunity to explore the city. Even if you have just a few hours, there are often nearby attractions and landmarks that can provide a taste of the local culture and ambiance.


Start by researching the city’s transportation options. Many airports have efficient public transportation systems, such as trains or buses, that can easily take you to the city center or popular tourist areas. Alternatively, you can consider hiring a taxi or using ride-sharing services for more convenience and flexibility.


Prioritize your sightseeing based on your interests and the time you have available. If you’re a history enthusiast, consider visiting local museums or historical sites. For nature lovers, look for nearby parks or botanical gardens. Food enthusiasts can explore local markets or street food stalls to discover the flavors of the city.


When exploring the city during a stopover, it’s important to plan your time wisely. Keep in mind the distance between attractions and factor in travel time to ensure you have enough time to fully enjoy each place without feeling rushed. Consider using a map or a city guide app to navigate your way around and make the most efficient use of your time.


If you have a longer stopover, consider booking a guided tour to optimize your exploration. These tours can provide insightful information about the city’s history, culture, and landmarks, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the local experience. Additionally, some tours may include convenient pick-up and drop-off services at the airport, making them an easy and stress-free option.


Before heading out, check the local weather forecast and dress accordingly. Wear comfortable shoes for walking and carry a small day bag with essentials such as sunscreen, a bottle of water, and a map. Always be aware of your surroundings and take necessary safety precautions, especially if you’re exploring in unfamiliar areas.


Remember, even if you only have a short time, exploring the city during a long stopover can provide you with unique experiences and memories. So, seize the opportunity to step outside the airport and discover the charm and beauty of your temporary destination.


Visiting Attractions

When you have a long stopover, it’s the perfect opportunity to visit some of the iconic attractions or landmarks in the city. Whether it’s a famous monument, a cultural site, or a natural wonder, exploring these attractions can give you a deeper appreciation for the destination you’re briefly visiting.


Start by researching the top-rated attractions in the city or consult travel guides to narrow down your options. Consider the proximity of the attractions to the airport and the amount of time you have available. If you have a short stopover, it’s wise to choose attractions that are easily accessible and don’t require a lot of travel time.


Many cities offer guided tours or hop-on-hop-off bus services that can take you to multiple attractions in a short amount of time. These tours provide informative commentary and convenient transportation, allowing you to optimize your visit to different sites. Keep in mind that some attractions may have specific opening hours, so plan accordingly to make the most of your time.


If you’re a history buff, explore historical landmarks or museums that relate to the city’s rich heritage. These attractions often provide a deeper understanding of the local culture, traditions, and events that have shaped the destination. Consider visiting cathedrals, palaces, or ancient ruins to immerse yourself in the history of the place.


Nature enthusiasts can seek out parks, botanical gardens, or scenic viewpoints that offer breathtaking views of the city or surrounding landscapes. Take a leisurely stroll through lush greenery, enjoy a picnic in a serene setting, or simply relax and soak in the natural beauty of the location.


Don’t forget to capture your visit with photos or videos to commemorate your experience. Take the time to appreciate the architectural details, the cultural significance, or the natural splendor of the attractions. Immerse yourself in the moment and create lasting memories of your time in the city.


Remember, visiting attractions during a long stopover allows you to add extra layers of depth to your travel experience. It’s a chance to explore the unique aspects of the destination and create special moments that you’ll cherish for years to come.


Trying Local Cuisine

No trip is complete without experiencing the local flavors and delicacies of a destination, and a long stopover provides the perfect opportunity to indulge in the local cuisine.


Research the popular dishes and specialties of the city or region you’re visiting. Look for restaurants, food markets, or street food stalls that are known for serving authentic and delicious local fare. Ask locals or browse online forums for recommendations to ensure you’re getting an authentic culinary experience.


If your layover is during mealtime, consider dining at a local restaurant to savor the traditional flavors. Try the signature dishes, regional specialties, or street food favorites. From mouth-watering street tacos in Mexico City to aromatic curry dishes in Bangkok, each destination has its own culinary gems waiting to be discovered.


If you have limited time, opt for food markets or food stalls where you can sample a variety of dishes in one place. This allows you to taste a wide range of local flavors, from savory snacks to sweet treats. Don’t forget to try the street food vendors serving up local classics like empanadas, satay, or gelato.


For those who prefer a more hands-on experience, consider taking a cooking class or a food tour. These experiences provide a deeper understanding of the local cuisine, the ingredients used, and the cultural significance behind different dishes. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from local chefs or food experts and even recreate some of the dishes at home.


When trying local cuisine, be open to new flavors and culinary traditions. Embrace the opportunity to step outside your culinary comfort zone and discover new tastes and textures. Don’t miss the chance to pair your meal with a local beverage, whether it’s a glass of wine, a refreshing cocktail, or a traditional tea.


Remember, exploring the local cuisine during a long stopover not only satisfies your taste buds but also provides a window into the culture and traditions of the destination. So, don’t miss the chance to savor the flavors and create delicious memories during your layover.


Relaxing and Unwinding

A long stopover doesn’t have to be a tiring or stressful experience. It can also be an opportunity to relax and unwind, allowing you to recharge before continuing your journey. Here are some ways to make the most of your stopover and find moments of tranquility.


Many airports have lounges or designated rest areas where you can find comfortable seating, quiet spaces, and amenities like Wi-Fi, charging stations, and even shower facilities. Take advantage of these facilities to rest, catch up on emails, or simply enjoy some quiet time away from the crowds.


If the airport doesn’t have dedicated relaxation areas, consider bringing along a travel pillow, a blanket, or an eye mask to create your own cozy space. Find a quiet corner or a less crowded gate, and take a power nap or simply close your eyes for a few minutes to recharge your energy.


Some airports even offer spa services, where you can indulge in a relaxing massage or a rejuvenating treatment. Check if your airport has such facilities and make a reservation in advance for a truly pampering experience. Treatments like reflexology, chair massages, or even a simple manicure or pedicure can help you relax and feel refreshed.


If the weather permits, step outside the airport and find a nearby park or green space to unwind. Take a leisurely walk, do some stretching exercises, or find a quiet spot to meditate or practice yoga. Connecting with nature can help reduce stress and rejuvenate your mind and body.


If you prefer a more recreational activity, consider bringing a book, a puzzle, or a portable hobby to keep yourself occupied during the stopover. Engaging in activities you enjoy can help pass the time and create a sense of relaxation and enjoyment.


Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of a good meal and a hot beverage. Treat yourself to a delicious meal at a restaurant or café in the airport or nearby. Enjoy the culinary delights and savor the moment as you take a break from the hustle and bustle of travel.


Remember, taking the time to relax and unwind during a long stopover is essential for your well-being and overall travel experience. Prioritize self-care and allow yourself these moments of tranquility to prepare mentally and physically for the remainder of your journey.


Shopping and Souvenirs

A long stopover can be a great opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy and pick up unique souvenirs or gifts from your temporary destination. Many airports are known for their extensive shopping options, offering a wide range of products, from luxury brands to local crafts.


Start by exploring the duty-free shops available at the airport. These shops often offer a variety of items, including cosmetics, fragrances, chocolates, and alcohol, at tax-free prices. Take advantage of the savings and browse through the different sections to find something that catches your eye.


For those interested in fashion and accessories, look for shops that showcase local designers or brands. Discover unique pieces that reflect the local style and fashion trends. Whether it’s a handwoven scarf or a statement piece of jewelry, these items can serve as stylish reminders of your visit.


If you’re looking to bring back a taste of the local cuisine, seek out specialty food stores or markets in the airport. Purchase local delicacies, spices, or specialty snacks that can be enjoyed during your journey or shared with loved ones back home.


Don’t forget to explore the souvenir shops for small trinkets, keychains, magnets, or postcards that represent the culture and landmarks of the city you’re passing through. These inexpensive items can serve as reminders of your travel adventures and make thoughtful gifts for friends and family.


If time permits, venture outside the airport to explore nearby shopping districts or markets. Some airports offer luggage storage facilities where you can safely store your bags while you shop. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local shopping scene and discover unique products.


Before making any purchases, consider the restrictions and regulations regarding customs and baggage allowances. Make sure that what you buy complies with the airline’s regulations and that you have enough space in your luggage to accommodate your new treasures.


Remember, shopping and picking up souvenirs during a long stopover not only allow you to make the most of your time but also provide you with tangible mementos of your journey. So, indulge in a little retail therapy and bring back a piece of the destination with you.


Engaging in Local Activities

A long stopover can be an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and engage in activities that are unique to the destination you’re passing through. From cultural experiences to outdoor adventures, there are plenty of ways to make your stopover more enriching and memorable.


Research the city or region you’ll be in and discover activities that are specific to the local culture. Attend a traditional music or dance performance, visit a local art gallery, or explore a museum that showcases the history and heritage of the area. These experiences provide insights into the local artistic expressions and can be truly captivating.


Consider signing up for a city tour or a guided excursion to make the most of your limited time. These tours often cover the highlights of the city and provide interesting commentary and historical facts. Whether it’s a walking tour, a bike tour, or a boat ride, these activities can give you a well-rounded glimpse of the destination.


If the outdoors beckon, search for nature activities or outdoor adventures that are available in the vicinity. Take a hike through nearby trails, go kayaking in a nearby river, or simply find a peaceful spot to enjoy the natural surroundings. Not only will you get some fresh air and exercise, but you’ll also have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the destination.


For those seeking a more immersive experience, look for cultural workshops or classes that allow you to learn a traditional craft, cooking technique, or language. This hands-on approach can deepen your understanding of the local culture and provide unique skills or knowledge to take home with you.


Engaging in local activities also means interacting with the locals themselves. Strike up conversations with the people you meet along the way, whether it’s the vendors at a market or the guide leading your tour. Ask for recommendations on where to eat, what to see, and any hidden gems that may not be as well-known to tourists.


Remember, engaging in local activities during a long stopover offers you a chance to connect with the destination on a deeper level. It allows you to go beyond the surface and experience the essence of the place, creating memories that will last a lifetime.


Making the Most of Airport Facilities

While a long stopover may tempt you to immediately leave the airport, it’s worth exploring the facilities within the terminal itself. Many airports today offer a wide range of amenities that can make your stopover more comfortable and enjoyable.


Start by checking if the airport has lounges available for access. These lounges often provide comfortable seating, complimentary refreshments, Wi-Fi access, and sometimes even shower facilities. Take advantage of these spaces to relax, catch up on work, or freshen up before your next flight.


If you’re in need of some relaxation, check if the airport has a spa or wellness center. Pamper yourself with a massage, indulge in a beauty treatment, or simply kick back and unwind in a tranquil environment. Taking the time to rejuvenate can make a significant difference in how you feel during your journey.


For the fitness enthusiasts, seek out airports that have fitness facilities or gyms. Some airports have dedicated workout areas where you can break a sweat and stay active. This can be a great way to combat jet lag and keep your energy levels up during a long layover.


Many airports also offer opportunities for entertainment and cultural experiences. Look for art installations, exhibitions, or live performances that showcase the local culture. Some airports even have movie theaters or gaming zones where you can indulge in a little entertainment before your next flight.


Shopping enthusiasts will find plenty of options within the airport. Explore the duty-free shops for discounted luxury goods, browse through designer boutiques, or discover unique products from local brands. Whether it’s fashion, electronics, or souvenirs, there’s often something for every type of shopper.


Food lovers will delight in the diverse dining options available at airports. From casual eateries to upscale restaurants, airports have expanded their food offerings to cater to different tastes and cuisines. Take the opportunity to savor a delicious meal or try out a local specialty.


If you have young children, look for airports with play areas or children’s zones. These dedicated spaces provide entertainment and activities to keep kids busy and engaged during the stopover. It’s a great way to ensure that the little ones are well-entertained and have a pleasant break from traveling.


Lastly, make use of the airport’s Wi-Fi network to stay connected with friends, catch up on emails, or stream your favorite shows. Charging stations are often available throughout the terminal, so take the time to recharge your electronic devices before your next flight.


Remember, airports today offer a wide range of amenities to make your stopover more comfortable and enjoyable. Take advantage of these facilities to relax, rejuvenate, and make the most of your time before your onward journey.



A long stopover during your travels doesn’t have to be a dull and tedious experience. With some careful planning and a sense of adventure, it can become an opportunity for exploration, relaxation, and a taste of a new destination.


From finding comfortable accommodation near the airport to exploring the city, visiting attractions, trying local cuisine, relaxing and unwinding, shopping for souvenirs, engaging in local activities, and making the most of airport facilities, there are plenty of ways to make your stopover enjoyable and memorable.


Embrace the chance to step outside the airport and discover the local culture, landmarks, and attractions. Immerse yourself in the culinary delights of the destination, try new flavors, and indulge in the local cuisine. Engage in local activities that give you a deeper understanding of the place, whether it’s through guided tours, workshops, or cultural performances.


But don’t forget to also take time to relax and unwind. Utilize the facilities within the airport, such as lounges, spas, and fitness centers, to rejuvenate and refresh. Shop for unique souvenirs and gifts to remember your stopover by.


Ultimately, a long stopover is what you make of it. Instead of perceiving it as wasted time, see it as an opportunity to make your journey more fulfilling and enriching. Embrace the adventure, connect with the local culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


So, next time you find yourself with a long stopover, seize the moment and make the most of it. Your layover might just become a highlight of your trip, leaving you with a deeper appreciation for the world and a sense of excitement for your onward journey.