Luxury Travel Hacks

Helping YOU Travel As Luxuriously As You Can, As Cheap As You Can!

Making the Most of Long Layover Flights

Sharing is caring!

Making The Most Of Long Layover Flights - Luxury Travel Hacks

Most of us avid travellers are usually trying to save a few dollars where ever we can.  While doing so can save a ton of cash, especially when following our many luxury travel hacks, it sometimes also has its interesting perks, such as long layover flights. 

Last year, my friend told me she was travelling and that she would have a 12-hour layover in Paris. “Can you believe it? A 12-hour layover! What am I going to do?” she blurted. Honestly, I was kind of confused by her reaction. I thought to myself, am I the only one who likes long layover flights?

The way I see it, long layover flights means the chance to see other places at no extra cost, which is a major win! I guess a long layover is not for everyone and it definitely comes with a disadvantage which is if you are stuck in the airport. However, if you can actually make the most of it, cheap flights with long layovers can be fantastic?

First of all, let’s not get confused between a layover vs stopover

Table Of Contents
Long Layover Flights - Luxury Travel Hacks

A Layover vs Stopover

The layover vs stopover debate. It’s simple, a layover is when the time between your connecting flight is less than 24 hours. On the other hand, a stopover is essentially an extended layover. A stopover is normally over 24 hours and means you’ll need to book accomodation.

So Why a Long Layover?

Depending on how long you have before your next flight, I think we can all agree, the best way to pass the time is to get out of the airport. If you’re lucky, your transit flight will have a layover long enough to spend a few hours sightseeing but short enough for you not to spend any money on accomodation.

After convincing my friend that her long layover flights were not a bad thing, she confessed she had been avoiding this city for a long time. Not because she didn’t want to go there but because she had always been put off by the fact it was such a big tourist hot spot. Being touristy, accommodation can be expensive, however, with this long layover she could see the city without the cost of accommodation. Great luxury travel hack, isn’t it. 

How Do Long Layovers Come About?

A few years ago, if your friend had said they were going to Dubai, Istanbul or Reykjavik you might have wondered why they would ever go there. These places were relatively uncommon tourist destinations. It is hard to imagine that now, isn’t it? So, how did these places turn into the tourist destinations they are today?

One factor came from airlines which have their base in these cities. Transforming their usual inconvenient long layover flights and turning them into an opportunity for travellers to see a new place. It is a win for everyone; the airline, the passenger and the country.

For example, in 2016, tourism in Iceland had increased to 1.75 million from a mere 400,000 in 2010. The cause of this was primarily from budget airlines Wow Air and Icelandair who opened up this transatlantic routes through cheap flights with long layovers. The airlines advertised these long layover flights and short stopovers for passengers on both sides of the Atlantic by promoting a transit flight with connection at Keflavik International Airport opening up Iceland to the world.   

In 2002, luxury airline Emirates started adding more long layover flights in their home base, Dubai. Due to its location, Dubai is often a popular long layover location for many long haul flights. Can you imagine taking a break from your journey from Europe to Australia by going on a desert safari in Dubai? Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? So, why are so many people still put off by long layover flights?

With Layover Flight Rules - They Don't Work for Everyone

You have to remember that you might not be allowed to leave the airport. Depending on the visa requirements of the country, you simply might not have any other option but to wait in the airport. Therefore it is your responsibility to check all visa requirements of the country you are transiting through. 

Another questions to ask yourself is how much time do I actually have?  If you’re in a hurry, or maybe have limited time off work, you might be eager to reach your destination of choice rather than take a forced side trip somewhere else. You really don’t want to miss your connecting flight! So, before you get excited about exploring a new city, make sure you have enough of time.

Finally, we should also factor in the additional cost. While, technically, you haven’t paid anything to visit that city, you might face high transport costs when leaving the airport.

Layover Flight Rules - Long Layover Flights - Luxury Travel Hacks

Check out this detailed article on layovers in specific regions.

Long Layovers in Specific Regions


Other Aspects of a Long Layover Flight to Consider

An easy aspect to forget is weather! For example, if you’re connecting in Amsterdam on your way to Bangkok you might not have factored in that Amsterdam will certainly be a colder than Bangkok!

Nevertheless, as keen travellers, we’re usually adaptable and have the gear for all weather. We’ll therefore take the downsides with a pinch of salt if it means we get to visit a new place.

Long Layovers - Free Layover Tours

What if I told you that many airports actually want you to visit their city? As a result, they’ll give you a helping hand by giving you free transport and a free city tour?

Singapore is one of the most expensive holiday destination in the world. It might have slipped down your bucket list of places due to this. But, is it any surprise that the once crowned “best airport in the world” offers its transit passengers, who are on a long layover, a free Singapore city tour.

Arriving in Singapore during the night? Don’t worry they also run overnight layover tours. If you have at least 5.5 hours to spare before your next flight, you can join the free guided airport layover tour by signing up upon arrival in Changi Airport. However, you need to be quick and arrive at the ideal time. Sadly, it can book out very quickly. 

Other cities which currently offer free tours for their layover passengers include:

  • Doha (Qatar) with a Doha city tour available
  • Istanbul (Turkey) with a city tour available
  • Seoul (South Korea) with a Korea transit tour available
  • Taipei (Taiwan) with a great airport layover tour available
  • Tokyo (Japan) with a city tour available

These are some interesting destinations which you might not have considered travelling to before. A few hours in these cities is enough time to experience the vibe and culture of the place. It gives you enough time to see sights and get a general idea of the place. The best part is it is FREE!

Also, the hassle of having to get yourself into the city and navigate your way around has also been taken off your hands. With a free city tour, such as the free Singapore tour, you can enjoy the luxury of having someone guide you round, without the need to worry about getting lost or making it back to the airport on time.

How to Make the Most of your Long Layover

In order to make the most of your short time in your layover location, try to plan ahead.

  • You should have a realistic plan of what you want to do and see.
  • Understand that you won’t have time to do everything, and that’s ok. 
    • Don’t run around trying to do as much as you can, you’ll feel exhausted. 
  • Try new food, obviously.
  • And of course enjoy the atmosphere and the vibe of the city.

Check out these detailed articles on layovers in: 

Layover in Shanghai – Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Visit

Layover in Oman – No Matter The Time


So Will You Consider a Layover?

STILL NOT CONVINCED? Check out – The Layover – Is It Worth It?