The opulence of exclusive entry airport lounges is no secret; what might be, however, are the free perks that are offered to all flyers, if you know where to look. Here are five unexpected airport diversions that might enable you to start your vacation a bit early -- or mix in some play on that work trip -- without ever leaving the airport.
1. Butterfly Garden, Changi Airport, Terminal 3
If you’re starved for nature after the hours of recycled air and fluorescent airport lighting, duck into the Butterfly Garden at Singapore’s Changi Airport. The greenhouse-like structure, which is filled with lush flowers, is a great place to pass a half-hour, especially for those traveling with children. Changi also has rooftop cactus and sunflower gardens for those seeking more soil beneath their feet.
2. Yoga Room, San Francisco International Airport, Terminal 2
Open 24/7, the yoga room at SFO has mats, blocks, and sanitizing wipes so you can get your downward dog on between flights no matter how wonky your itinerary is. There aren’t any instructors, so you’ll have to go with the flow on your own, but it maintains a great place to unwind. Note that sometimes the room can get noisy with outside airport announcements, so if you're heart is set on total refuge, keep your headphones handy.
3. Treadmill desks, Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, Concourses C & F
If you need to do work on a layover, you might want to check out these stand up desks that double as treadmills. They max out at two miles per hour, and there are only three total (so chances are they might be occupied when you walk by), but they’re a cool way to be productive and squeeze in a little physical activity before you sit for several hours on a plane.
4. Showers, Seoul Incheon Airport, Main Terminal
Airport showers aren’t just for spa-goers and premium lounge members anymore. At Seoul Incheon airport, bathing facilities -- plus free towels, shampoo, conditioner, and soap -- are available on the fourth floor. Additionally, all shower rooms are separated by locking doors, not just curtains.
5. Free Rijksmuseum entry, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Terminal 6
No need to delay your artistic education until you reach center city. An offshoot of the Amsterdam’s largest and most lauded art and history museum is now re-opening in mid-2016 after renovation. The 490-square-foot museum boasts 17th century Dutch paintings and takes about 15 to 20 minutes to tour. While it’s only a fraction of the size of the original location, it would be a shame for any Amsterdam-bound art lover to miss out on it.