Some Advice on Sightseeing During a Business Trip Layover

Business Trip Layover sightseeing in airport

Those of us with kids have been there, sometimes the only way to get a few moments away happens either at lunchtime during work, or when we’re out of town for work.  A couple of years ago, I took a trip to Walla Walla.  That trip took me through Seattle (the only connecting flights to Walla Walla) and offered a choice: either a 4 hour layover, or a 12 hour layover.

I chose the 12 hour layover, which seems like a crazy amount of time.  But, it gave me a chance to not only have a brief work meeting in downtown Seattle, but to have lunch at Pike’s Place market, go up the Space Needle, ride the nation’s only urban Monorail, toured the Gates Foundation and generally had the opportunity to see Seattle as a tourist for almost an entire day.  It worked out so well and really, given the fact that there’s a train from the airport directly downtown, it was so easy, that it’s something I’d do again without hesitation.

Here’s my advice on taking advantage of a layover during a business trip:

Don’t Lug Your Luggage:

I can’t stress this enough.  If you can check your luggage, DO IT.  If that’s not an option because of some concern on the back end (ie baggage claim closes at a time before your flight arrives…there are small airports after all), then most airports have a space where you can leave it for that day.  Given terrorism concerns, the days of lockers seem over, but in Seattle I found a coat check style place in the terminal that kept my luggage for the day, costing about $5.

Ride Transit:

I know it’s not available everywhere, but public transit might take a few moments longer to arrive, but you save the time of renting a car, finding a parking spot etc.  Plus, it’s cheaper.  If your destination isn’t transit friendly, Uber.

5 Minutes of Prep is Worthwhile:

In Seattle, I knew that I was there during a great time of year: salmon season.  So I did a couple of minutes of research on the plane to know where a quick and easy salmon sandwich could be found.  Luckily, one of the locals favorites was directly in Pike’s Place Market, where I found a bar stool, a beer and was able to watch fish getting thrown back and forth.

Lastly, remember that this is extra time, found time….enjoy it! Think back to the last time you were sitting in the airport for an extra long layover, it was miserable wasn’t it? Taking an even longer layover seems counterintuitive at first, but if it gets you out of the airport and allows you to do some sight seeing, isn’t that better than eating some terrible airport food and sitting on an uncomfortable barstool while doing so?

Mark Aselstine is the founder and Proprietor of the monthly wine club called Uncorked Ventures, which focuses on delivering wines from the west coast directly to people’s doorsteps across close to 40 states in every month.

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