4 Ways To Make a Layover More Manageable and Fun

4 Ways To Make a Layover More Manageable and FunYou’ve probably never seen the words “layover” and “fun” in the same sentence. I know I never have.

Layovers don’t have to be bad though. I’ve had layovers as long as 12 hours long before, and this has happened several times.

One time I had a 12 hour long layover and I wasn’t allowed to leave the airport (I didn’t have my passport when I traveled to Puerto Rico and I didn’t realize that when we stopped in St. Croix that we would need our passport or a birth certificate) and I managed to survive.

I’ve also had a long layover in Los Angeles when we were on our way to Hawaii. It was an overnight layover. We thought about leaving the airport and staying at a hotel but we figured out that we would only be able to be at the hotel for a few hours (after getting there, settling in, driving back to the airport, and going through security) and that just wasn’t worth it to us.

Below are four ways to make a layover more manageable and fun:

1. Leave the airport.

If you have enough time to get back through security so that you can make your flight, I would look into possibly leaving the airport you are at and quickly visiting the town you are in. You may not be able to see a whole lot of the city, but you may be able to visit a beach, hit up some restaurants, and/or do something touristy such as visiting somewhere famous.

You always want to make sure you have enough time though! You need to factor in time to leave the airport to get to where you want to go, the time that it would take to do whatever you want to do, the time it would take you to get to the airport, and the time it would take you to get through security and arrive at your gate.

2. Get some work in.

What’s great about layovers for me is that it can be a great time for me to work. Since sometimes there is not much else going on, I can really concentrate on working because there is really nothing else going on. I don’t even connect to the internet, this way I can just get some work in without social media bothering me.

3. Read a book.

When I have a long layover, I try to find a quiet area to sit in where I won’t be bothered by people constantly coming and going because of flights that leave before mine. This way I can sit in peace and read a favorite book of mine. I might buy some magazines too at a kiosk at the airport in case I have no books left to read.

4. People watch.

This is probably my most favorite thing to do during a layover at an airport. There are so many interesting people from all over the world at an airport, so it would be really hard to not have fun people watching.

What do you usually do when you have a layover? 

What’s been your longest layover?

 

Image via Flickr by Simone Ramella

Tipping In Different Countries

Tipping In Different CountriesFor me, I like to learn as much about other countries as I can before I visit. The planning and researching part is just as fun as actually visiting the country for me. I know, I’m weird!

However, I think doing your research is important. Each and every country in the world is different, and there are little things that are wise to know before you visit a country.

One area that many people usually have questions or are unsure about include how tipping works in other countries.

Since I live in the United States, I tip. I usually tip anywhere between 20% to 30%, and that probably makes me an over tipper but as a person who used to work in customer service and a person who has had many waiter/waitress/bartender friends, I know how little these people make.

I know that some people like to skip out on tips entirely to save money, and I do not agree with that at all. However, I also know that in some countries a tip is considered an insult, and that is something that you probably wouldn’t know unless you did your research.

Below is how tipping works in a few different countries.

Tipping in Morocco.

Tipping in the country of Morocco can be confusing. Sometimes the tip is included on your receipt but other times it is not. It’s always best to check your final bill. If you do tip, then 10% is considered good. When at a hotel, tipping is somewhat similar to the U.S. Your porter usually receives a few dollars and your room keeper usually receives around $5 each day.

Tipping in Mexico.

A tip of around 10% to 15% is standard for a restaurant bill in Mexico.

Tipping in Brazil.

When eating at a restaurant in Brazil, tip in usually already included in your bill so it is not required. When at a hotel, it is similar to that in the U.S., except you do not usually have to tip the concierge.

Tipping in Caribbean countries.

When in the Caribbean, tipping is pretty similar from country to country. You will usually want to tip around 15% to 20% unless you are at an all-inclusive resort. Even though gratuity is usually included at an all-inclusive resort, tipping a few extra dollars is usually appreciated.

Tipping in Egypt.

In the country of Egypt, the tip is usually included in the bill already. Some will add an extra 5% or 10% to the bill when at a restaurant. Tipping at hotels is similar to that of tipping in the U.S.

Tipping in Costa Rica.

When at a restaurant in Costa Rica, the tip is already included in the bill. You can tip extra but that is up to your discretion. When at a hotel, a tip of around $0.50 for each bag to the porter is recommended and $1 each day for the room keeper.

Tipping in Thailand.

In Thailand, tipping is pretty cheap. You usually tip around $1 per person when at a restaurant, and there is no tip needed for your room keeper.

What tipping rules am I forgetting?

Do you have an interesting tipping story to share?

 

Image via Flickr by naotakem

St. Thomas, V.I. Beaches

St. Thomas, V.I. BeachesI’ve been to St. Thomas three times now, and it just never seems to get old.

It’s very easy to travel to. It’s only about 2 hours away from Miami by plane, and you can usually get there quite early in the day if you fly and still have the day to have fun on the island.

There are also many cruises that visit St. Thomas, so you may even be able to make it there on a port day.

St. Thomas isn’t just nice because it’s easy to get to, it’s amazing because of how beautiful it is as well. It has some of the clearest water I have ever seen. I remember being out in 10 feet of water and it was so incredibly clear that you could see anything and everything beneath you. I’ve seen turtles, fish, and huge shells all in the water there.

There are also beautiful sunsets, nice people, great music, beautiful sailboats, and more.

Here are three of the amazingly beautiful beaches on the island of St. Thomas:

Coki Point Beach

Coki Point Beach is one of my favorites. It is located right next to Coral World. This beach can be crowded, but it’s usually not too bad. The water is clean and usually very calm.

Magens Bay

Magens Bay is said to have some of the whitest sand in the world. There is beautiful blue water here and many people tend to flock to this beach. That being said, many people go to this beach so if you want to go to a secluded beach, then it is probably not it. At Magens Bay, there are rentals available (such as kayaks, snorkeling equipment), a place to change, and more.

There is a fee to go to this beach. It is $1 for each car and then $1 again for each person who visits.

Lindquist Beach

Lindquist Beach is a popular beach spot. It is located near Sugar Bay Resort and Spa (an all-inclusive resort on the island). It is usually not crowded at all. There have been movies and commercials filmed here on this beach as well.

Have you ever been to St. Thomas? What did you think of it?