Direct flights might seem like they’re always the best option, but I’m willing to endure a layover if it means a much cheaper fare or more reasonable flight times. If you’re also willing to (or have to) book a flight with a layover, you might as well choose an airport that provides a more comfortable layover.
Here are two key things to think about when picking an airport for your next layover.
1. Likelihood of delays: Weather has a significant impact on flights taking off and landing on time. If you’re traveling during winter, try to avoid airports in snowy or storm-prone regions. You can also check delay performance for major U.S. airports through the Federal Aviation Administration.
2. Activities for passing the time: Of course, you can always download shows, podcasts or books to your phone or computer to get through a layover, but if you have to be in an airport anyway, pick one that gives you other options. Some airports have extensions of popular local restaurants; others have art displays that expose you to the local culture.
If you have kids, you could pick an airport that has activity or play areas. Some also have quiet spaces, yoga or exercise rooms, lounges, or outdoor gardens. And free Wi-Fi can be a game changer, too!
Not every layover will be long enough to fully explore the airport you pick, but having options for making your layover more enjoyable can go a long way toward getting you into the vacation mindset before you even reach your destination.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of NerdWallet or its partners.