Most travelers do everything within their power to avoid a multi-hour layover. However, as most of us who fly regularly know, the occasional layover is inevitable, especially when traveling internationally. What if we told you there are some airports in the world where you would actually enjoy your layover? That’s right, in these three spectacular international airports, you’ll find no shortage of activities to pass the time. You might not even want to board that next flight when the time comes.

Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan


Did you forget to get a haircut or a manicure before you left town? No worries. With a barber and beauty salon in the concourse, Toyko’s Haneda International Airport gives you the chance to beautify while you wait for your next flight. But that’s not all! Recharge at one of the many restaurants and bars (including an oxygen bar!), surf the ‘Net to your heart’s content using the airport’s free WiFi, shower and take a nap in one of the comfortable lounges (for only $8!), or shop ‘till you drop at the tempting duty-free stores that reflect the shopping scene of Tokyo. Make sure you save time to visit the large terrace that offers incredible views of planes taking off and landing. If you have to be stuck in an airport for multiple hours, you could do much worse than Haneda. (Plus, they’re testing out using robots to guide lost passengers through their airport)!

London Heathrow, U.K.


Heathrow reflects bustling, cosmopolitan feel of the international city it serves. That means that you can easily find foodie-friendly fare at over 100 restaurants, art exhibits, and entertainment screens throughout the terminals. And the shopping… Oh, the shopping! From touristy knickknacks to name brand clothes, you can pretty much find it all at this busy airport. Heathrow also offers personal shopping services to help weary travelers find the perfect goods without expending too much energy. Honestly, one of our all-time favorite things to do in Heathrow is to get a glass of wine, perch at a bar that faces the concourse, and people watch for hours. Not that you would want to leave, but if you find yourself on a particularly long layover, you can always take the 15-minute train into London.

Keflavik International Airport, Iceland


Like many things in Iceland, Keflavik is incredibly well designed. From delightful dining options to free WiFi to fabulous shops (the Blue Lagoon beauty brand and hand-knit Icelandic goods are definitely worth checking out), this small but mighty aims to please. An excellent perk of spending your layover at Keflavik is the fact that the Blue Lagoon’s geothermal magic is only a short shuttle ride away. That’s right, you can spend your layover soaking in its famous waters and taking in the breathtaking views before hopping the shuttle back to the airport in time to catch your flight. I don’t know, it may not get any better than this.

Changi Airport, Singapore


This place is seriously unreal. For the past 14 years, it was been in the top three of the Skytrax “best airport” rankings (and has won the highest honors for the past four years)! What is lacks in architectural marvels, it more than makes up for in its free offerings and efficient processes. There are five specialty gardens scattered throughout the airport’s three terminals (including a butterfly — BUTTERFLY — garden in terminal three). There are two movie theatres, three snooze lounges, dozens of local eateries, WiFi, a science museum, foot massages, city tours… And — get this — they’re all free. Yep. Pick your jaw up off the floor and get yourself to Singapore stat.

Where are your favorite airports to spend a layover? What do you like to do there to pass the time? Let us know in the comments section!

4 Responses

  1. Cate

    Keflavik is not so wonderful at night. Nothing much open and nowhere really comfortable.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

About The Author

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing ( and Bouchard Design Co.