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Unlock Ultimate Travel Hacks: Master the Art of 24-Hour Layovers for Double the Adventure! Quick, Easy, and Unmissable.
Travelers frequently find themselves with a few hours to kill in an airport between flights because layovers are an almost inevitability of going abroad. While these brief stops could be a minor nuisance, larger stops (of 9 hours or more) may present opportunities.
One of the simplest methods to see more of the world in a single trip is to include a lengthy layover, commonly known as a stopover. You don’t need to be a very experienced traveler to do this.
Why do I need to add a long layover?
Being forced to swiftly pass by a place you’d otherwise like to visit is one of the worst things that can happen to a travel enthusiast. It’s simple to fit in a lengthy layover if you have enough time and flexibility. Instead of spending more than eight hours at an airport, you can travel to a new place. There are further advantages.
An extended layover breaks up a lengthy travel and may even lessen jet lag. A stopover trip is frequently less expensive than a straight flight. Additionally, planning your own route rather of purchasing a single ticket could result in even further savings (this is known as the Greek islands trick).
Here’s an illustration: round-trip tickets from Boston to Sydney, Australia, might cost roughly $1,267.
However, if you want to spend some time in Los Angeles, you can buy a roundtrip flight from Boston to Los Angeles for $197 and a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney for $710, unless of course you managed to score a Going bargain from LAX to Sydney for $477.
The difference, which is a sizeable $360, enables you to break up the lengthy flights by visiting a different city.
Other routes where it might be beneficial to include a lengthy layover include:
- Layover in a European hub like Frankfurt, Amsterdam, or London between North America and Africa
- Layover in San Francisco or Los Angeles between Australia and the US East Coast
- Layover in Iceland or another major European hub like Zurich, Barcelona, or Amsterdam between North America and Europe or the UK
- Make a stopover in a larger hub like Hong Kong or Bangkok on route to a more remote location in Southeast Asia.
What kinds of long layovers are there?
There are many different types, sizes, and lengths of layovers. A layover that is mandated by the airline, which means that you have only purchased one ticket and a layover is included in the schedule, is one sort of long layover. In these situations, the stopover could be for a short period of time or it could last all day or more.
Choose an itinerary with a lengthy stopover on the same ticket to benefit from this type of layover. Even though there are shorter flights available, if you did want to book the journey from Boston to Sydney all at once, you could opt for one with a 19-hour layover in Hawaii.
You can also arrange a stopover by making two separate reservations.
Airlines that provide no-cost layovers
As part of an incentive scheme to attract new passengers and boost tourism to an area, certain airlines provide free lengthy layovers. Everyone benefits!
- The Icelandair layover program is a great choice, and a complete marketing campaign has been created around it. You can stop over in Iceland for up to seven days on flights between North America and Europe or the UK, and there is no additional fee for the travel. (Read our overview of the business class on Icelandair.)
- Qatar Airways will give you a hotel room for one or two nights during your layover in Doha, which can last up to two days. Simply check their website beforehand to discover if you’re eligible for admission into Qatar without a visa.
- Additionally, if you fly round-trip with Finnair between Europe and Asia, you can receive a free stopover in Portugal with TAP Portugal for up to five nights in Lisbon or Porto or stay in Helsinki for up to five days.
How to plan and schedule an long layover between flights:
Make a generic search for your final destination in Google Flights to start. Say you’re traveling from New York City to London.
You are aware that on your journey there or back, you might be able to stop in Iceland. If your travel plans are changeable but you know you want to go in May, start by looking out the cheapest days to fly to and from London. After that, look for flights to and from Iceland to see when they are the cheapest.
When you have identified the dates with the most affordable airfare across the Atlantic, switch to a multi-city search. You must set up the following three searches:
- You may travel from NYC to London, London to Iceland, and then back to NYC.
- Alternately, you may fly from NYC to London, London to Iceland, and then Iceland to NYC.
Try several combinations of the dates and the sequence to discover the most advantageous one.
Google Flights neatly bundles information so that you can quickly check the cost for two or more different tickets, but you might have to visit many different websites to make a reservation.
Another option is to reserve an inexpensive round-trip ticket (for instance, from NYC to London and then back to NYC via Paris), and then reserve a separate ticket for travel from London to Paris.
Things to consider when choosing a layover city
Certainly! When choosing a layover city, there are several important factors to consider:
- Duration of Layover: Ensure the layover is long enough to explore the city without rushing.
- Visa Requirements: Check if you need a visa to leave the airport and explore the city.
- Proximity to Airport: A city close to the airport minimizes travel time.
- Transportation Options: Look for reliable and convenient transportation to and from the airport.
- Attractions and Activities: Consider what the city has to offer in terms of sightseeing, culture, and entertainment.
- Safety and Security: Research the safety reputation of the city and its neighborhoods.
- Language Barrier: Assess whether language might be a barrier and plan accordingly.
- Local Cuisine: Explore the culinary scene and try local specialties if time permits.
- Time of Day: Consider if the layover falls during daytime or nighttime, affecting available activities.
- Airport Amenities: Check if the airport itself offers amenities like lounges, showers, or sleeping pods.
- Flight Schedules: Ensure your layover aligns with available flight options.
- Budget: Factor in costs for transportation, food, and any entrance fees.
By considering these aspects, you can make the most of your layover and enhance your travel experience.
How much time to allow for a layover
The ideal layover time depends on several factors including the airport, destination, and airline policies. Here are some general guidelines:
- Domestic Flights: A layover of at least 45-60 minutes is usually sufficient for domestic flights. This allows time for deplaning, navigating the airport, and boarding the next flight.
- International Flights (Same Airline): For international flights with a single airline, a layover of 1.5 to 2 hours is recommended. This accounts for potential delays, customs, and security checks.
- International Flights (Different Airlines): If you’re switching airlines, allow at least 2-3 hours. This provides a buffer for potential delays, immigration, baggage claim, and check-in for the next flight.
- Customs and Immigration: For international layovers, consider the time needed for customs and immigration checks. This can vary based on the destination and time of day.
- Airport Size and Layout: Larger airports may require more time to navigate, especially if you need to change terminals.
- Security Checks: Factor in time for security screenings, which can vary in duration depending on the airport and the time of day.
- Unforeseen Delays: Allow for unexpected delays, such as weather, air traffic, or mechanical issues.
- Personal Preferences: Consider your own comfort level and preferences. Some travelers prefer longer layovers for peace of mind.
Ultimately, it’s best to consult with your airline or travel advisor for specific recommendations based on your itinerary. They can provide insights based on their experience with the specific airports and routes involved in your journey.
How to Pass Time During a 12-Hour Lay over
Certainly! A 12-hour layover can be a great opportunity to explore and make the most of your time. Here are some suggestions to help you pass the time:
- Explore the Airport:
- Many large airports have a variety of amenities, including shops, restaurants, lounges, and even activities like art exhibits or gyms.
- Read a Book or E-Book:
- Bring a book you’ve been wanting to read or load up your e-reader with some interesting titles.
- Work or Study:
- If you have work or study materials with you, this could be a productive way to spend your time.
- Watch Movies or TV Shows:
- Download some movies or TV episodes onto your device before your trip or check if the airport has entertainment options.
- Some airports have gyms or walking paths. If not, you can do some light stretching or yoga in a quiet corner.
- Listen to Music or Podcasts:
- Bring your headphones and enjoy some music or listen to interesting podcasts.
- Explore the City:
- If it’s feasible, and depending on visa requirements, you could leave the airport and explore the city. Just be sure to leave enough time to get back through security.
- Play Games:
- Bring a deck of cards, a travel-sized board game, or play games on your phone.
- Write or Draw:
- Bring a journal, sketchbook, or start a travel blog to document your experiences.
- Learn a New Skill:
- Bring a language learning app, a musical instrument (if portable), or some materials for a new hobby.
- Strike up conversations with fellow travelers. You never know who you might meet!
- Meditate or Practice Mindfulness:
- Find a quiet spot and take some time to relax and center yourself.
- Plan Your Next Adventure:
- Research and plan activities for your upcoming destination.
- Pamper Yourself:
- Many airports have showers or spa services. Treat yourself to a massage or a refreshing shower.
- If it’s an overnight layover, consider taking a nap to recharge.
Remember to stay mindful of the time and set alarms or reminders so you don’t miss your connecting flight. Additionally, keep your important documents, like your passport and boarding pass, easily accessible.
can you leave the airport during a layover
Yes, you can often leave the airport during a layover, but there are some important considerations:
- Visa and Immigration Requirements:
- Check if you need a visa to enter the country where the airport is located. Some countries have strict visa requirements, while others may offer visa-free transit.
- Time Constraints:
- Ensure that you have enough time to leave the airport, go through immigration, explore the city, and return in time for your connecting flight. It’s recommended to have a layover of at least 6-8 hours for international travel.
- Consider the logistics of carrying your luggage with you. Some airports have storage facilities or lockers where you can leave your bags.
- Research the transportation options available from the airport to the city center. This could include taxis, public transportation, or airport shuttles.
- Safety and Security:
- Be mindful of the safety situation in the city you’re visiting. Avoid risky areas and keep your belongings secure.
- Ensure you have a way to stay in contact with your airline in case of any unexpected delays or changes to your flight.
- Local Currency:
- It’s a good idea to have some local currency on hand for expenses like transportation, food, and small purchases.
- Time of Day:
- Consider the time of day. If you have a layover during the night, some attractions or services might be closed.
- Airport Policies:
- Check with the airport authorities to make sure there are no specific restrictions or guidelines regarding leaving the airport during a layover.
Always plan ahead and do some research about the layover destination to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Remember to allow extra time for potential delays in traffic or security checks when returning to the airport.