The cheapest way to travel from Manila is securing plane tickets with layovers on connecting flights that would take hours and even a day.  For budget travelers and on long-term itineraries, this could be a no-brainer choice to cut costs on transportation.


Last September 2019, I was able to secure a plane ticket that would depart from Manila thru Philippine Airlines bound for Singapore.  Then afterwards, transferred onboard Lufthansa Airlines from Singapore to Frankfurt, Germany. Finally, Frankfurt, Germany to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  It was more than 12 hours of travel time and indeed very exhausting.


The excessive layover time gives us a time though to lounge at the airport, use its facilities, do duty-free window shopping and mostly be entertained at the comforts of our mobile phones.  Running around the airport to catch the next flight was out of the question, especially if entails transfer from one terminal to another over a vast acre of a space.


For a number of people, depending on mood and interests, here are ten (10) of the recommended things to do during long layovers:


1.     People-watch


Definitely the most obvious one to do.


2.     Enjoy the airport lounge


Whether its paid or complimentary, there’s no better way to be relaxed while waiting for connecting flights than to be at the comforts of the airport lounge.  The food (buffet or ala carte) and the complimentary wifi can keep transients entertained and kept away from boredom.


3.     Go out of the airport to take a short tour of the city


Should circumstances allow and for visa-free countries, it is possible to exit and renter the airport.  For a few hours, one can visit parks and nearby landmarks for quick visit.  There are even organized tours offered at some airports, like that of Singapore.


Connecting flights in Bangkok, Thailand has mostly allowed me to go out of the airport, visit a nearby mall, dine in quickly then go back to the airport in time for the next flight.  This is all made possible due to their efficient transport system. 


4.     Play mobile games


Should one opt not to go out of the airport and just wait at the nearby gates for the next boarding, the mobile phone is the best companion.  Other than taking updates from social media platforms, there are games one can be entertained.  


I have recently come across the website mortgagecalculator.org. which focuses on money and finance, specifically real property investments.  But when not on serious business, the site offers mobile games which I find quite interesting.  Building investments may be the subject of the games but I learn something from it as applied in real life.  I am more drawn into the real estate games, where transactions on real properties occur to make a thriving LEGO city and earn tax revenues.  The graphics and the mechanics of the game is quite interesting, enough to make me entertained while in the comforts at the corner of the airport.


5.     Finalize travel itinerary and do research


No matter how prepared one can be as a traveler and perennial sojourner, there would always be something to be finalized in the itinerary.  On my end, I do not finalize specific “places to go”, “where to eat” and the likes, with the exception of “where to stay” on immediate consequent destination, thus, a free time would allow me to research more on what to do on intended destinations and mostly done on long layovers at the airport.


6.     Catch up on work tasks and assignments


For someone who needs to earn a living, work does not stop even during transient travels.  Waiting for the next flight while at the boarding gate also means being able to answer emails and accomplish pending work tasks.


7.     Book an airport hotel to rest and take shower


Unless it’s the Singapore Changi Airport, where sleeping on designated chairs is a norm with a well-lit area, a more comfortable option if resources permit would be to check-in at an airport hotel, take a shower and sleep/take a nap.


8.     Do duty-free shopping and window shop at airport stores


Window shopping itself while at the airport is comforting for me.  There are times when souvenirs bought at the central markets are not enough that I end up purchasing more items for my growing collection, i.e., ref magnets, shirts, hoodies, miniature landmarks and even statues.


I usually do not shop during layovers at airport if I have not actually visited the place.  But there is one exception to date.  A layover at Cairo International Airport en route to Morocco made me purchase antique stones, statue replicas and an additional suitcase.  It was quite heavy but who cares and to date, I have never been to Egypt.


9.     Updating on social media platforms


This is the most obvious and routinary thing to do on this day and age, unless you belong to the small percentage of travelers who don’t care about social media.


10.  Write a journal or diary to chronicle travel experience



With this, you can never be bored while on long transits for the next destination.


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