If you’ve ever had a layover, you understand how cumbersome it can be to simply wait around an airport for hours on end. Sometimes our layover is a few hours, other times a day. Sticking around the airport is the last thing we want to do while waiting around for our connecting flight, but what else can we do? Can passengers leave the airport during a layover?

As long as you’re willing to go through the security process, leave your checked luggage, and enter customs all over again, then feel free to leave the airport during a layover. For some layovers, this is a simple task that makes much more sense than just waiting around the airport. For others, you might not have time to leave and come back. Let’s take a look at when it makes the most sense to leave the airport during a layover.

Where is the Layover?

If your layover is part of a domestic flight, then you won’t need to worry about customs. If you’re flying between two locations in the same country then you should be fine to exit the airport without having to deal with customs. However, if your flight takes you outside of the country for the layover, then you may need to go through international customs. This is especially true if your layover is within the United States.

Go through customs can be quite the task and will take up a significant amount of time, so be sure that you’re not only waiting for a couple of hours, otherwise, you might find yourself going through customs just to come right back in and go through security.

Length of the Layover

The length of your layover should play a pretty big part in whether or not you can leave the airport. While there are no regulations or rules stopping you from leaving the airport during a layover, if you don’t have the necessary amount of time to leave and come back, then it’s recommended that you don’t do it. A few hours in the airport are manageable and leaving with only a 3-4-hour layover might not be smart.

However, if you’ve got 10-hours to kill in the airport, that could be about 7-8-hours of exploring wherever you are waiting. If you have a long layover, then you can feel free to explore and enjoy the location of the airport. Who knows, a long layover could lead to some pretty exciting experiences abroad.

Overnight Layovers

There comes a certain point where waiting around in the airport simply isn’t worth it, especially if your layover is overnight. In many cases, passengers who have to stick around the airport overnight have access to the airport hotel. Many major airports have a hotel within that provides plenty of space for passengers who are stuck waiting overnight.

However, this isn’t always the case and you could find yourself with an overnight layover and no access to an airport hotel. When this happens, you’ll likely want to leave the airport and find a local hotel to stay at. Feel free to leave the airport if you’re searching for a bed to stay in for an overnight layover.