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My 9 Things: What I pack to make the most of a long layover

Pilot Paul Holte, aka @mylayoverlife, shares his top three travel tips and the nine essential travel items he packs for an amazing stay between flights — no winging necessary. | By Leanne Philip | April 26, 2023

For pilot Paul Holte, aka @mylayoverlife, frequent travel is part of the business. Luckily for Holte, who has been flying since he was 17 years old, travel is also one of the most exciting parts of the job.

Says Holte, “The most enjoyable part of my job are the layovers and the people … Getting to explore different parts of the world with amazing people is what makes this job great.”

As it happens, the people were also one of his favorite elements during a recent stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Nashville Downtown: “I’ve always been treated like family and when you feel like your host really cares about your well-being, it makes your stay feel more like home.”

Holte’s other must-haves? “A quick and easy check in, a quiet room to rest in and proximity to local attractions ... oh, and an extra cookie as a late-night snack doesn't hurt either."

But what about when he’s not in his hotel? For someone who spends more than half the year in the air, we couldn’t help but ask — “what are your top three travel tips?” And Holte didn’t disappoint:

  • Drink a lot of water, especially on the airplane … so you don't show up to your destination dehydrated.

  • Whatever time it is where you are, that's what time you need to tell yourself it is. If you keep referring to what time it is where you live, your mind will never adjust to local time.

  • If you’re a nervous flyer, sit over the wing if you can. It tends to be less turbulent since it’s closer to the plane's center of gravity.

So, there you have it: Three top tips for flying and staying — just in time for summer travel season! All that’s left? An ultimate packing list. Read on to discover Holte’s nine travel essentials for a long layover.

Extra-long power cord

There’s no better way to ensure I stay connected during every part of my stay. Oh, and bring a power pack too — outlet options at airports aren’t always readily available.

Digital key

After a long day of flying, all I want to do is relax. Love how I can use the Hilton Honors app to check-in, download a digital keycard to my phone and head straight to my room!


Frequent flier tip: Always keep a copy of your passport with you in case it gets lost, as well as the phone number for your closest U.S. Embassy.

Snacks, snacks and more snacks

Always bring snacks because you never want to end up hangry with limited food nearby. I like almonds and fruit — just remember that you can’t bring fruit back into the U.S. after being out of the country.


Not applicable to a layover, but I recommend always bringing a pair of wired headphones for the airplane just in case you can’t connect yours to the seat back monitor.

Tennis shoes

Fashion, meet function — tennis shoes are a must when hitting the ground running to explore the city.

Swim trunks

You never know when a beach opportunity might arise. There are a handful to enjoy in and around Nashville for that summer sun fix.

Water bottle

Hydration is key when discovering a new destination. And don't forget to fill it up after airport security and before you get on the plane!

Flexible attitude

Things can change quickly while you’re traveling, and staying flexible with the mindset that you’re on an adventure will make the whole experience more enjoyable.

Leanne Philip is a content marketing manager at Hilton. She has written for numerous print and digital platforms, including Travel + Leisure, The Atlantan and Barneys New York.