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FREE stuff to do during layovers
By: Eric Tiettmeyer "Mr.Student Traveler" (justin) 2012.11.20

The dreaded layover.

You are at an airport, and either a delay sets back your next flight by a few hours or you already know your connection flight is hours away.

While airports have gotten better at distracting us with free WiFi, pricey bars, and even museum galleries, there is still that itch to get out of the terminal -- and maybe even take in a new city, if only for an hour or two. The good news is the airline has your baggage, so you are free to move with only what is on your back, so take advantage of that!  And you can leave the airport and return no problem. This is usually easier for layovers in the U.S. since you don't need to go through customs. Of course, just give yourself enough time to get back and go through security again.

Here are some FREE ways to get a quick trip in when you have a layover.

1. Airport shuttles

There are car rental shuttles and hotel shuttles. But probably the best shuttle that will get you far enough from the airport to get something more to look at than a Marriott or Hertz sign is the parking lot shuttle. You will be pleasantly surprised where they will take you. At LAX (that would be in Los Angeles), the Parking Spot shuttle on Sepulveda Blvd drops you off at their garage, conveniently located next to California's favorite, In-N-Out Burger

Of course, this shuttle is free. The Double Double Animal Style with Fries and a Coke is not... There is even a little park with benches across from the popular, burger joint where you can watch the planes fly right over you. And if you really have some time to kill, there are mini malls all around within eye shot.  Note that there are two different Parking Spot shuttles going to two different lots, so make sure you get on the right one going to the lot on Supulveda Blvd.

Always check a google or satellite map to see where your airport is located. At airports like Denver, Sacramento and others are located miles from civilization, you may end up just getting out and climbing back in the shuttle back to your flight.

2. Take the city bus

Okay, so technically this isn't free, but it's cheap and most from the airport will go to a city centre. This takes a bit more planning. But in the case of LAX, a 10 minute bus ride will get you to Marina del Rey, where there is the Burton Chase Park, Fisherman's Village, and some nice walks looking at all the boats. You can even splurge and eat at Cafe del Rey.

3. Take the metro

New York is a perfect example of this. A 45 minute subway ride takes you from JFK to Manhattan. Atlanta, DC, San Francisco, and Boston all have subways that go straight to the airport. International airports in big cities are much the same. Just google the airport you are at and add subway or metro and see what comes up.

4. See the coveted information desk

This really should be number one, because near the baggage claim there is always a help or info desk. But you never really know what you are going to get at these desks. They may have public transportation info, or they may only have telephones to call a local hotel. I say do your research in the terminal and see if you want to leave the airport for a while. And if it looks promising, walk by this info desk on your way out to your mini adventure!

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