To save money, Kristen and I purchased non-direct flights for this trip. You might recall my very first post about this trip, and our complicated plans that I posted back in… July? [Wow, this recap has taken a lot longer than I thought it would…]
Anyways, by the end of our trip we were TIRED. Sleeping in strange beds, changing cities every day or three, always on the go… Travelling can be tiring, and by the end of this trip we were ready to go home.
But we couldn’t. Not just yet.
Why? Because we had a 5 hour layover at Philadelphia Airport.
For the record, with the “you have to be at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight leaves” rule, 5 hours is not long enough for you to leave the airport and go sightseeing in Philly. It’s only long enough to be super annoying.
Remember this photo? Well, that’s exactly what we did on the way back. Flying past our home was utterly depressing.
Our 3 hour wait on the journey to England wasn’t too bad, but the 5 hour wait on our way home almost killed us. We were tired and cranky. We were so close to being home, and yet we were so far away. Also, having to go through customs and security again was really annoying – especially security. I opt-out of the full-body scans, which makes my journey a bit longer than the people who don’t (and also gets me dirty looks from the airport staff). Philadelphia Airport was super busy, so I had to wait a while before someone could come over for a pat-down. Maybe it’s a good thing that we had loads of time!
So what’s the lesson I’m taking away from this?
Think about how long your trip is and how tired you might be at the end of it. Think about that and then consider paying the extra money to get a direct flight home. The start of the trip is still fresh and new and exciting, but the end is a bit of a slog. One thing Kristen and I agreed on was that we’d have paid more if we could have just flown directly home.
Or, if you don’t want to shell out more money, look at your lay-over options. 5 hours is a crappy amount of time to spend in an airport. 3 hours or less gives you enough time to connect should things be delayed; depending on the location of the airport and the transportation options, more than 5 hours might give you time to leave the airport and sight-see a bit.