Nobody likes a layover. But there's a lot you can do to make your stopover as pleasurable as possible, starting with the moment you begin to pack your bags. If your vacation plans have you crashing at the airport for a while, pack these layover essentials to stay comfortable and collected.
Snag a seat near an outlet and veg out for the next few hours with some audio-visual or literary sustenance.
TV & Movies
A long layover is a great time to catch up on TV and movies. Before you leave the house, download a few titles to your phone or other device (in case the wifi is spotty or not free).
My number one airport must-have is a magazine, but to avoid the price gauge at the airport, buy these before you leave home or, better yet, try Texture. It's an app that gives you access to dozens of magazines for $10/month. You can download them to your device on your home wifi and access all your favorite glossies on the plane or at the airport.
A great book (in a digital or paper copy) will never let you down.
An Empty Water Bottle
You can't take drinks through security, but you can bring an empty reusable water bottle and fill up at a drinking fountain. If space is an issue, try something slim like the Memobottle, above, or a foldable, rollable Vapur bottle.
Toiletries & Touch-Ups
Even if you pack your main products in your checked bag, consider packing a "satellite" toiletries kit in your carry-on to freshen yourself up between flights filled with things like skin-cleansing cloths, a hairbrush and some hair products, deodorant, lotion, moisturizer and some sample sizes of your go-to makeup.
Don't check all your clothes. Leave a few things in a carry-on for maximum comfort.
Something Warm and Kinda Bulky
You probably already carry a sweater or a hoodie on to the airplane to deal with temperature swings, and it'll be useful in the airport for the same reason. A really bulky sweater, though, can be rolled up to double as a pillow if you want to lay down and catch a wink.
A clean t-shirt or an extra pair of unmentionables might help you feel fresh, especially if you have long flights or you think you might be spending the night or napping at the airport.
Anything You Need to Explore Your Un-Destination
On one unfortunate travel day, my routine Atlanta-to-Chicago flight was delayed and routed through Sarasota, Florida, for an unscheduled 8-hour layover. Like lemonade from lemons, my husband and I decided to escape the airport and took our carry-ons on a city bus to explore downtown for a while. If you know you have that sort of time between your flights, you can be ready to add a random city to your itinerary with sunglasses, bathing suits, a camera, walking shoes, travel guides and whatever else you might need to enjoy the extra stop.