Sometimes it happens to the best of itineraries: you're on a marathon haul from one continent to another and the cheapest flight involves a 5-hour layover in a random city. Maybe you don't have a visa, maybe you don't have time, maybe you're on an organised tour and you're just not allowed... but you're stuck in the airport.
It's happened to me several times: I've been stranded in airports for up to 11 hours at a stretch. I can tell you that Paris, Chicago, and Durban are terrible airports to be stuck in, but what are the best? Here's our list of the 5 best airports for layovers:
Hong Kong - If you're stuck in an airport with kids, Hong Kong is where you want to be. Aside from the numerous bars, restaurants and shops, the airport has a movie theatre, arcades, and free Playstation set-ups sprinkled around. It also offers free wi-fi throughout.
Las Vegas - In the gambling capital of the US, you will not be surprised to see a number of slot machines dotting the concourse in the Las Vegas airport. There are other things to do though, including kid's play areas, an art gallery, free wi-fi, plenty of restaurants, bars and duty-free shops, and a huge fitness centre with sauna, jacuzzi, working equipment and showers.
Amsterdam - This airport really knows how to entertain. I've been stuck here for hours without getting bored, because there's a casino, an art museum, dozens of shops and restaurants, and a brand-new library to browse through with both physical and electronic books! There are also a lot of out-of-the-way corners if you really need to catch a nap.
Nashville - You have to pay in Nashville for wi-fi, but if you don't feel like shelling out to check Facebook you can always browse the duty-free shops, have a big helping of barbecue in one of the restaurants, play video games, get a massage, browse the art exhibitions, and catch a live concert at Tootsie's orchid Lounge, an extension of the Grand Ole Opry!
Singapore - Singapore Changi sets the standard that all other airport entertainment tries to live up to. The basics are all there: free wi-fi, bars, restaurants, duty-free shopping, and luggage lockers. There's plenty more though, with lovely gardens, koi ponds, butterfly rooms, play areas, a movie theatre, LAN gaming facilities, spa, and multiple shower facilities. Attached airport hotels up the game as well, offering a swimming pool and jacuzzi (for a fee).