Vacation Travel ~ What You Need To Know About Airport Layovers

Chances are you will fly somewhere this summer. Hopefully it’s for fun and you’re going somewhere fabulous! Regardless of why you’re flying or where you are going, there is a decent chance that you will have a longer layover than expected, or that you will experience airport delays. Weather, more people flying, Murphy’s law all play into it.

A few summers ago I got stuck in Chicago O’Hare airport for hours because United Airlines didn’t bother to send the plane! (I have never flown United since.) While on the subject of United Airlines, if you will be flying with musical instruments or pets, just choose another airline. Google it to find out more…

I buy travel insurance for all my international travels, and sometimes for domestic travel. I base it on how much I stand to lose if my flight gets cancelled or my bags get lost. Normally my domestic flights are either for work or I’m going to see friends, so I don’t need insurance. If I were going to a vacation somewhere here in the USA I would buy travel insurance, because a missed or delayed flight will still have accommodation costs, rental car excess fees – all kids of extra expenses.

I use Allianz for all my travel insurance needs, and have done for years and years. They periodically email me blog posts with travel tips, and I thought this one would be helpful to most of my travel readers.



How to Feel Right at Home During Airport Layovers

Allianz - feel at home during airport layovers

Most of us don’t plan for extended airport layovers. Instead, what was supposed to be a quick 20 minutes of downtime in between two flights grows into a lengthy travel time-out caused by inclement weather, engine trouble or some other undisclosed minor emergency.

But there are globetrotting, budget-minded travelers who purposely take extended breaks in airport terminals and lounges during layovers. They know how to stay safe, maintain a semi-healthy diet and even rest comfortably when the odds and airport security are stacked against them.

So whether you’re hoping for brief layovers or counting on long ones, here are some travel tips and advice to make sure your extended stay manageable – and even enjoyable.

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Protecting Yourself (And Your Bags) From Theft

Safety and security should be your chief concern during long airport layovers.

If you’re a savvy traveler, you already know the basic rules: keep your bags close by, keep your money and valuables even closer – “traveler’s money pouch” sounds much better than “fanny pouch” – and be wary of suspicious folks and even friendly strangers, especially when you’re tired or spending a lot of time at the bar. (Note: If you choose to drink on your layover, balance out the alcohol with water to stay hydrated).

One potential threat you may not expect comes from airport personnel. In recent years, there have been a number of luggage thefts committed by everyone from baggage handlers to TSA agents. There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from this threat within, including securing your bags with TSA-approved locks, heading directly to the baggage claim after your final flight, and even choosing brightly colored bags, which have proven to be a theft deterrent.1

Protecting yourself and your property during long layovers is more about common sense than sophisticated security protocol. But this becomes more difficult when you’re travel weary – and almost impossible when you’re sleeping in a stiff terminal chair.

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Finding Comfort and Zzzs During Long Layovers

Airports circling the globe have done a better job of meeting the needs of today’s tech-savvy travelers. Phone charging stations and Wi-Fi access are the rule more than the exception.

But airports are incredibly inconsistent when it comes to acknowledging and providing for travelers with onsite accommodations for a cat nap or a comfy overnight slumber. Some roll out the cots, and others roll out security personnel to ensure fliers aren’t closing their eyes in a reclined position. No joke. is a site dedicated to the global community of travelers who intentionally make slumbering in airport terminals part of their travel plans. They offer well informed advice: a bit of Vick’s Vapor Rub under the nose can cover up smelly terminals, sunglasses are important for airports that ban napping travelers, and disinfectant wipes are critical for clearing off your space before stretching out. The site also ranks the best and worst airports at accommodating sleeping fliers. Singapore Changi airport wins top honors for the 17th straight year with specially designed relaxation zones featuring cushioned and reclined seating, a movie theater, 24-hour massage and spa facilities, and even warm showers to help prep the body for extended rest.

And the worst? Italy’s Bergamo Orio al Serio is notorious for being cold, overcrowded and booting sleeping travelers when the cleaning crew arrives in the middle of the night.2

Here is one more tip: If you can’t find a safe and comfortable place to rest or even sleep, look for a chapel, which most airports have. Also, unbeknownst to many fliers, many airline clubs offer one-day passes that give you access to comfortable seating, showers, food, drink and Wi-Fi.3

7 Reasons You Need Family Travel Insurance – Vacation Insurance for the Entire Family.

Don’t Leave Your Diet Up In the Air

Airports make it easy to grab a bite when all you care about is getting something quick and easy. But when your layover, planned or otherwise, takes place over the course of several meal times, fast food and salty snacks can play havoc with your body.

The good news is that 76 percent of restaurants at the nation’s 18 busiest airports offer at least one healthy, plant-based meal, according to The Physicians Committee’s 13th annual Airport Food Review. This is up dramatically over the past decade plus; only 57-percent of airports offered this healthy option in 2001. Denver is ranked as the top airport offering healthy dining options, while Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport ranks last and Las Vegas McCarran International airport took a dive from second to 12th.4

Once you hone in on the best options, don’t be afraid to ask for some extra veggies for that sandwich and try to eat several small meals rather than a few big, dense meals.5

With the right planning and solid on-the-fly decision-making, you can make extended airport layovers safe, comfortable and healthy. After all, you don’t just want to simply arrive safely at your final destination; you want to arrive well rested and rejuvenated, satiated and with everything you began the flight with.

Beautiful Parisian Floors

A lifetime ago when I was living in London I had to make a life altering career decision.

I had to either move to Paris or to New York.

At the time Paris was my absolute favorite city in the world and I held this naive fear that if I moved there it would just become the place I lived, and would forever lose its magic. What a fool – Paris will always be Paris!

I chose New York, wound up in Los Angeles, and life moved on. I often wonder what would have happened if my decision had gone the other way. Where would I be now? Would I be living in Le Marais? St Cloud? The 15th? Would I be married to a Frenchman? Would I have ended up in America anyway?

I always think about it when I’m in Paris. I was just there a few weeks ago and it felt as if with every magnificent corner that I turned  the city was looking back at me saying ” Yes, but you didn’t choose me…”


breakfast Cafe l'Etincelle Paris

Breakfast in Paris at the wonderful Cafe L’Etincelle in the Marais


I am obsessed with travel blogs and travel Instagram accounts. I scour them at every opportunity. I’m always looking for new or quirky things to do in the cities I travel to, something interesting from another traveler’s perspective. Travel guides can get boring and repetitive, but bloggers and Instagrammers have so many fascinating things to share, different, intriguing takes on places, with fabulous visual cues.

I study their work and then make endless lists of cool things to see and do, especially in the places I’m traveling to, but also the places on my bucket list. When I’m away and I manage to get a little free time I try to fill it with these new experiences.


Parisian Floors, Sebastian Erras



One Instagram that I absolutely love is photographer Sebastian Erras’ beautiful @parisianfloors. He posts pictures of exquisite (and wickedly cool) mosaic floors around Paris, normally including his feet in super stylish shoes.

His Instagram page is just fabulous. Every time I look at it I ache to get back to Paris and track down all these wonderful places.


Parisian Floors, Sebastian Erras


On my phone I have a list of about 40 of his floors in Paris that I want to see and photograph myself.

This past trip I was tour guiding one of my Glam Italia Tours. (This one was 6 days in Paris, 6 on the Italian Riviera and 2 in Florence) In free moments, and where possible for coffee breaks with the group, I tried to stop at places on my Sebastian Erras list.


Chloe sunglasses Corinna B's World, paris

Coffee break at cafe Benjamin on a bright sunny morning in Paris


Cafe Benjamin, Paris

Interesting looking cappuccino at Cafe Benjamin

If not for Sebastian’s Instagram I wouldn’t have known to go inside and look at the floor at Cafe Benjamin.

mosaic floor Cafe Benjamin, Paris

The gorgeous mosaic floor at Cafe Benjamin

I may have chosen a different place to stop for coffee, but I got such a kick out of going to a place on my Sebastian Erras/Parisian floors list!


Cafe l'Etincelle Paris

My pink Superga’s at Cafe L’Etincelle in the Marais, Paris.

I thought about trying to do shoe pics like he does, but his shoes and his vision are what brings his stories to life.   So I abandoned that idea.

Cafe l'Etincelle Paris

Waiters at Cafe L’Etincelle in Paris


Corinna B's World Cafe l'Etincelle Paris

Me, at Cafe L’Etincelle

I only got to a few of Sebastian’s cafes, and didn’t get to the other places on my list, but that just means I need to get back to Paris sooner rather than later. Because after all, Paris is always a good idea…

You can find Sebastian’s Parisian Floors Instagram feed here.

Do you follow me on Instagram? You can find my feed here.

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I flew to Paris from Los Angeles on Air France and it was fabulous. I’m not sponsored by Air France and my flight wasn’t free – I paid for it. The flight was fabulous. The seats were comfortable, the in-flight entertainment was great, the food was good, the service was just wonderful.

I used to fly Air France from Los Angeles to Paris all the time, I need to fly them more often.

I always travel with travel insurance. If I were to get sick and not be able to travel it would cover me and I wouldn’t lose the money I had laid out for my trip. Travel Insurance also covers you for missed flight connections, luggage that doesn’t arrive, and super importantly it covers you if something goes wrong medically while you are away. I always buy a policy that gives me $50,000 coverage to fly home with a nurse if something bad were to happen. But allowing for the cost of medical care here in the USA I would be better off staying there…

I use Allianz Travel Insurance and have done for years.


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Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

Puglia beaches

From our apartment tot he beach in Puglia, on the Glam Italia Tour September 2016

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You’ve probably been working on your summer travel plans already, or maybe just thinking about them. I’m busy putting together this year’s Glam Italia Tours, and today will be sending all my travelers an email about buying Travel Insurance.

When you are traveling internationally it is essential that you buy Travel Insurance.

I always buy travel insurance the same day that I buy my flights. In the time between buying your flights and boarding your plane anything can happen. You can get sick, you could break your leg, you could have a family emergency – there is and endless list of possibilities of things that could potentially prevent you from getting on that plane.

Check out the Top Ten reasons why people buy Travel Insurance and see if it is right for you.

While you are en route to your final destination things can happen. Your luggage might go on it’s own vacation to a different part of the world, you may get stuck in an airport somewhere in between home and your final destination, or you might get sick and not be able to board your next flight.

While you are away there are all kinds of things that could go sideways – everything from not having your luggage, getting robbed, getting sick, breaking a leg. Hopefully nothing will go wrong while you are traveling, but you have to be prepared in the event that it does.

I once caught an upper respiratory infection on a flight to Australia, and got so sick that I wasn’t going to be able to fly home. I ended up getting excellent medical care and was cleared to travel, but without Travel Insurance it could have been financially catastrophic.

We don’t plan on anything going wrong when we travel, but it is a good idea to be prepared just in case.

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For years now I have been using Allianz Travel Insurance for all my international travel. There are plenty of travel insurance companies to choose from, and you do need to do your due diligence when researching your policy. I buy the Allianz Classic Plan, which covers me for lost/damaged/delayed luggage, medical (including transport back home with a nurse if needed), trip cancellation, trip interruption, and several other things.

You do need to read the small print about pre-existing medical conditions on any policy you buy. If you have a medical condition you need to find a policy that covers it, and make sure the company tells you in writing how they will deal with your condition should anything go wrong before you leave or while you are away.

One of my travelers last year didn’t buy her travel insurance quickly enough. She had an asthma attack that hospitalized her and prevented her from traveling, but couldn’t use her insurance to cover the cost of her airline ticket because the attack happened inside the 14 day window that her insurance company had between purchase and ability to claim. Had she purchased her travel insurance more quickly she would have been refunded all her costs except for the deductible.

Make sure you understand what is covered and what is not covered on any travel insurance policy you buy. Compare policies and make sure you have adequate coverage. Find out if your insurance company has global customer support and ask them what you have to do if something does go wrong. Allianz tells me to call them first and let them help me get the right help.

Get a Free 10-Day Look with Allianz Global Assistance, the world leader in travel insurance. Get a free quote now.

We don’t plan on anything going wrong when we travel, and hopefully will never have to use our travel insurance, but it is essential to have a good travel policy anyway.

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