Airport Layovers That Drag On Forever: Safe And Smart Tips For Weary Travelers

Seasoned travelers will often confirm that taking flights with layovers can often work out cheaper than direct flights, which is great news for your wallet in the long run.

One of the downsides of layovers in international airports is that even a few hours wait can seem a lot longer and if you have to wait overnight for your next flight to take off, that presents a whole new set of issues, including how it might affect your personal security.

Unfortunately, not everyone you are sharing the airport with is an honest or lawful citizen like yourself, which as personal injury lawyers can confirm, leaves you vulnerable in a number of ways, unless you are vigilant and take steps to stay safe.

A necessary evil

It is perhaps not unfair to describe an airport layover as a necessary evil, as no one really wants to spend any longer hanging around an airport than they have to, but the savings that can be made mean that plenty of travelers are prepared to put themselves through this scenario.

Catching up with some sleep for a few hours while you wait for your next flight seems like a reasonable idea on the face of it, but not only is it extremely unlikely that you can achieve anything like a restful sleep stretched out over a couple of hard plastic seats, there are a number of security issues to think about too.

Eternal Sunset
Flickr CC melfoody

The need to stay alert

Anyone using most major international airports will be acutely aware of the heightened levels of security in operation due to the constant threat of terrorism, but there are plenty of other reasons why you need to stay alert at all times and resist the temptation to sleep.

You should never allow your bags to be left unattended even for a few brief moments, and no one should be permitted to inspect or handle your bags, unless they are verified uniformed airport personnel.

It is sadly a part of modern travel, that you will be subject to strict airport security and for good reason, when you consider the potential consequences if you get caught up in a major incident whilst at an airport.

If you have more than a few hours to kill and need some sleep, try to find some cheap accommodation nearby or if you can check in your bags early, this would give you a bit more freedom for the remaining part of your layover.

Watch out for thieves

There are gangs of criminals who target travelers and operate in teams at many airports.

Airports are fertile hunting ground for a thief who is looking to make off with your personal possessions, including your passport and credit cards as well as valuables.

You should be wary of any suspicious activity or undue interest being shown in you or your possessions while at the airport, and that includes being vigilant when it comes to the prospect of becoming a victim of a staged mishap.

A common practice used by teams of criminals is to create a seemingly plausible distraction, like “accidentally” bumping into you or maybe spilling a drink on. Those few brief moments where you are distracted by events, are all that another member of the gang will need to take your bags or laptop, and maybe steal your wallet.

Find a transit area

Anyone who is not staying in the country and not going to be leaving the airport, will be deemed to be a transit traveler.

You may well find that the airport you are staying in has a designated transit area. If it does, it may well be worth heading for this zone, which should be possible without having to pass through a customs area.

A word of caution for layover travelers. Some countries still require you to have a visa that permits you to land, even if you are a transit traveler and have an onward journey planned.

It is a good idea to check the visa requirements just to make sure that you won’t have an issue with staying in the transit area or any part of the airport for any amount of time.

The majority of layovers do make provisions for you to be able to leave the airport between flights, provided you have a visa if needed, although some tickets restrict your movements.

Always check what you can and can’t do with your travel plans if they include a layover, and also make sure you are careful with your personal security at all times.

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