Look Forward To Your Next Layover
By Emily Grund
For many travelers, layovers in airports are a pain in the you know what. Unexpected delays can lead to hours upon hours of boredom and frustration.
It is safe to say that by and large, layovers are generally not what you look forward to in your travels unless of course you’re an optimist, such as Rachel Reiss, creator of Layoverguide.com.
This travel blog reviews airports around the world and gives tips to travelers passing through on what to see and do depending on their time constraints. This may mean staying within the airport and checking out a massage lounge you may have unknowingly passed by, or it may mean taking a taxi to a nearby museum to spend your free hours productively instead of trying to get comfy on the airport floor. Whatever your interests, Layover Guide has you covered, organized geographically.
Reiss first toyed with the idea of this concept in 1999.
“My brother and I were talking about traveling and how there weren’t any resources for people who get stuck at destinations they weren’t expecting. Especially for long layovers, how were you supposed to know how to find hotels?
“So we came up with an idea for a layover guidebook, and publishers were really interested in the idea but they felt it was something that could be great for the web.”
The obstacle, of course, was that optimal search engines and resources to make a successful website were slim in 1999, so Reiss put the idea on the back burner.
“Then the idea came back to me two years ago and I asked my brother, remember when we were talking about this? At that point the web was perfect for it.”
Since December 2008, Layover Guide has produced close to 250 posts. Though Reiss runs the show for the most part, she has a few contributing writers. She says she has been to approximately half of the airports covered so far, and enjoys going to new destinations to discover more fun ideas.
“I love to travel. It’s funny because I used to hate being stuck on layovers, but now it’s kind of fun. It’s like a scavenger hunt to find cool things to do, an opportunity to check out a destination, and by covering different airports I find that more and more are catering towards people who have to be in the airport for a long time. Things like salons and spas are commonly found now, services that weren’t around a few years ago.”
Layover Guide is broken down into sections around the world, so if you know you are going to a specific area you can jump right to it. Or if you’re a more spontaneous traveler, you can browse from the home page or the archives to get ideas of where the best place to stop over would be for your next trip.
Reiss’s favorite place to have a layover in is Amsterdam.
“The city itself is so close to the airport, trains from the airport go directly to the city in 10 minutes. Even if your layover only allows you to be outside for a couple hours you will be able to see a lot of sites. This would be challenging at a lot of other airports since they are set back from the actual center of the city. If you have an eight hour layover that is the good amount of time to get through customs and security with plenty of time to go out to see the fun city of Amsterdam.”
Many travelers, myself included, may not have been aware that you are allowed to leave the airport unless you were actually staying overnight. Some flights still do not allow you to leave the airport during a layover, so Layover Guide has resources to help you find out if and when you can, along with other tips on how to make sure you don’t miss your flight if you are able and do decide to leave.
Another idea I had never heard of was layover tours. As Layover Guide grows, e-mails come in to Reiss with suggestions, many of them tour guides that specifically cater to people with free time in between their next flight.
For example, London Magical Tours offers full day or half day layover tours that offer pick up and drop off service at the airport, along with a personalized tour to places from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben.
Since every traveler has a different itinerary, Reiss suggests people make their own tours as well. “Many taxi drivers will be accommodating if you tell them you have to be back at a certain time, and then you can tell them the specific places you’d like to see while you’re out.”
Readers also offer feedback on places that may not be listed on the airport website, or a place Reiss missed during her own visit.
“I am definitely open to suggestions,” she says. “This is a fun experience for me, watching it grow.” The future of the website is bright. Though it is a blog format, Reiss hopes eventually it can switch formats when she has enough content.
The ways people are finding her website are different than they were two years ago too. In the age of iPhones and other mobile devices, she finds more of her traffic is coming from people in the airports searching for things to do. “Layovers are continuing to grow throughout the world. It is becoming harder to get direct flights, and having one or two layovers are great for budget travelers.” What this means for Layover Guide is more people demanding this information and in turn a bright future for the website.
Next time you’re planning a vacation, don’t forget to check out fun things to see and do at your next layover destination at Layoverguide.com
Emily Grund is an Editorial Assistant at GoNOMAD in our South Deerfield office.
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