Layovers: turn waiting into exploring

To many, the word layover means spending hours in the airport trying to pass the time, but it doesn’t have to! We’ve chosen 4 cities that are infamous layover hubs to show you how you can get out of your seat and make the most out of every moment.

Los Angeles / LAX

Venice Beach, Los Angeles

If you have four hours or less: Take a free shuttle from LAX to The Parking Spot on Sepulveda Boulevard and in less than 10 minutes you can indulge in a true southern California experience: The In-N-Out Burger. Want the full only-in-Cali experience? Ask for a burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.

If you have eight hours: Twenty minutes from the airport, discover the infamous, the eye-catching and the beautiful on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. While the three miles of sandy beach are stunning, it’s not the only draw. The wild assortment of extroverts on display makes this place like no other.

If you have an overnight: Chill out in the 1960s environment of The Custom Hotel, which offers complimentary transportation to and from the airport in a Mercedes Sprinter van. Travellers will welcome the outdoor heated pool with cabanas and fire pit, and the five social lounges, including the Transonic lounge dedicated to Xbox and Nintendo gaming and the relaxing Stratosphere Lounge, complete with leather massage chairs.

Munich / MUC

Old Town Hall and Marienplatz in the Morning, Munich, Bavaria

If you have four hours or less: Head outside to MUC’s Visitors Park, where there’s information about the airport, historic aircraft and a rescue helicopter on display, as well as a playground, mini-putt and hill to view the airport air traffic. Weather not cooperating? There are free daily movie screenings inside.

If you have eight hours: Head to the 1,200-year-old town of Oberschleissheim, less than 30 minutes from the airport. This small town is best known for the Schleissheim Palace Complex featuring three Bavarian castles: The Old Palace, New Palace and Lustheim Palace, which is surrounded by a beautiful baroque park and extensive court gardens.

If you have an overnight: Spend time in the ducal city of Erding, located on the outskirts of Munich. This city’s Schranneplatz is the perfect spot to shop for a German souvenir. Plus, you can sample beer while touring the world’s largest wheat beer brewery Erdinger Weissbrau, or indulge in relaxation at Europe’s largest thermal waterpark, Therme Erding.

Tokyo  / HND

surreal view of Yokohama and Mt. Fuji

If you have four hours: Did you know that your pet can get pampered at HND? The airport has a pet hotel, featuring indoor and outdoor dog runs and grooming facilities to ensure the travelling canine looks its best. Travelling with a beloved feline or other small animal? They’re welcome too.

If you have eight hours: Check out First Cabin, a capsule hotel in Tokyo’s airport. Located in Terminal 1F, it offers a “comfy and compact” retreat for you to restore and rejuvenate. Along with a bed, you’ll have access to a communal bath, lounge and free Wi-Fi.

If you have an overnight: Head to Asakusa, part of the Shitamachi district of Tokyo, to wander the souvenir shops for fans, casual kimonos or rice snacks. Not in the mood to shop? Stop at a café along Nakamise and Shin Nakamise or walk through the ancient Kaminarimon gates to the 7th century Buddhist Sensoji Temple, one of the oldest in the city.

Zurich / ZRH

Zurich, Switzerland

If you have four hours or less: – Families can find plenty of space to have fun at ZRH’s Family Service areas, located at Departure gates A and E. Featured areas include a playroom with toys, a craft workshop, a Playstation and gaming station, a kitchenette with a microwave and a nap room. With multilingual child care personnel to offer a lending hand if you need it, it’s a parents’ dream. All services are complimentary for airline passengers.

If you have eight hours: ZRH’s Transit Hotel provides options for travellers – single, double and multi-bed rooms, rest area beds with lockers, shower facilities, free WLAN/
Internet stations with printers, a prayer lounge and round-the-clock assistance. Perfect for daytime rest or a quick overnight stay.

If you have an overnight: After a 10-minute train ride to downtown, get a taste of Zurich’s history and culture with a visit to the city’s Alstadt (old town), where you’ll see narrow lanes featuring medieval houses and the two most important churches in Zurich: Grossmünster, built by Charlemagne, King of the Franks and the Fraumünster, featuring stained glass windows by world-renowned artists Marc Chagall and Alberto Giacometti.

Have you had a memorable layover?  If so, where, and what did you do to make the time fly by?