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Four Ways to Make Airport Layovers Work For You

LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE… Ask 1,000 people if they could live with a 20% reduction in their salary, and the overwhelming majority would answer with an unequivocal no. Ask instead if those same 1,000 people could live on 80% of what they’re making, and most of them would answer yes. There’s science to explain this, but most of it can be boiled down to: It’s all how you look at it.  Or: It’s easy to view airport layovers as a “huge inconvenience” or “total waste of time.” Business travel gets more interesting—and business travel problems start to fade—when you view your next layover as “uninterrupted time to work/read/binge/FaceTime friends/Your Preference Here.” Who doesn’t want that?

…BUT PLAN FOR THE WORST. Of all the traveling for work tips to be had, this may be the most practical: Download everything you might want to read, watch, or work on before you leave for the airport. There’s nothing worse than finding out you can’t access Wi-Fi for whatever reason. Likewise—and especially if you’re checking baggage—make sure you have easy access to all the gear you’ll need to be productive (or entertained: chargers, converters, extension cords, and noise-cancelling headphones).


  • Airport Maps (free) provides  maps of 100+ airports around the world, including terminals, parking, and approach maps. Bonus: You needn’t be connected to WiFi because GPS is embedded.
  • GateGuru (free) tracks arrival/departure times for your trip, but also has restaurant reviews, terminal maps, and TSA wait time estimates.
  • Grab (free) lets you search by type of food, locate any restaurant serving it, order for pick-up and forward the receipt to Concur.
  • MiFlight (free) provides crowdsourced updates on TSA lines and directs you to faster-moving alternatives.
  • TunnelBear (free; in-app purchases) gives you simple, private access to the internet. It’s a mobile VPN that will protect you when browsing the internet on public Wi-Fi.
  • DayUse (free) identifies hotel rooms available for stays of just a few hours for as little as 25% of the price of an overnight stay.
  • App in the Air provides a helpful airport-experience timeline breakdown, but also tips on where to find well-reviewed restaurants, phone-charging stations, and free WiFi. LoungeBuddy lets you view, book, and access 300+ airport lounges, which reminds us:

TREAT YOURSELF. Skip this if you have access to one or more private airport lounges, since you already know these joints offer food, alcohol, WiFi, work centers, and—crucially—comfy chairs and couches. But most people don’t know that you can buy day passes to many lounges, including Delta’s Sky Club, American Airlines’ Admirals Club, and United Club. They’re not cheap—around $60—but for a long layover they can be worth it, whether your employer will pay for it or (more likely) not.

See how Rocketrip rewards business travelers for making extraordinary travel decisions.



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