Have you ever wondered how you can visit two different cities for a lower cost? If you often travel internationally you’ll find that most flights include long layovers. While longer layovers may seem like an inconvenience, they can be used to your advantage to make the most of your trip. Intentionally booking flights with longer layovers is pretty simple and gives you the opportunity to explore another city for the price of one. Since you’ll have to stop in-between your trip anyway, it’s best to make it worth your while. Instead of spending your layover in an airport for hours, these layover flight hacks will help you take advantage of long layover flights.
Choose A Daytime Layover Flight
To make the most of exploring your layover destination you’ll want to choose a daytime layover. This may seem obvious, but some flights offer nighttime layovers, so this detail is important. Booking long layover flights during the day will ensure that you can actually do activities. You will also be able to get more sightseeing done while there is still daylight. Most places like restaurants and museums are more likely to be open during the day than at night. Another benefit of layovers during the day is that it may help with adjusting to time differences. If you’re traveling across multiple time zones, a layover during the day exposes you to sunlight and fresh air. This can help reduce the effects of jet lag. This will make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable, especially if you’re traveling with children. You’ll have a better variety of things to do and more energy to explore your destination if you book a daytime layover.
Check Layover Flight Destination Entry Visa Requirements
Before booking your flight, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper documents to be able to enter your layover country. When booking long layover flights, check to make sure that your layover destination doesn’t require an entry visa. If it does require a visa be sure to get one ahead of time, or make sure that you’re able to get one upon arrival to the airport. Although some countries allow you to get a visa once you arrive, obtaining your entry visa in advance will save you time.
Entry visa requirements and processes may vary depending on the country you’re flying to. Countries that allow you to obtain a visa upon arrival still have their own set of rules, so make sure you are aware of what they are. If you arrive at a destination where an entry visa is required but you don’t have one, you will be denied entry. In the event that this happens, you’ll have to spend your layover at the airport. Confirm that you have all entry information and documentation before arrival to ensure a smooth process.
Book A Long Enough Layover Flight
Be sure to choose a layover time that is long enough to take advantage of. I don’t recommend leaving the airport on a 4 hour layover, especially if you’re traveling internationally. You will want to give yourself time to go through customs. If your layover is too short, and you decide to leave the airport, you may end up missing your flight to your next destination. An 8 hour layover is the minimum amount of time you’ll need if you want to make the most of it. You also won’t have to worry about rushing back to the airport.
On our trip to Morocco with kids we took advantage of a 12 hour layover in Madrid (itinerary here). This was plenty of time to enjoy the city. We were able to have paella, tour the palace, take a boat ride on the lake, and watch a flamenco dinner show. We had a great day and we’re able to make it back in time for our Morocco flight. Along with giving you more time to explore the destination, you can find that longer layovers are sometimes less expensive and can save you money.
Choose Airports Close to the City Center
Destinations with airports near the city center will put you closer to popular things to do. Being close to the city will also give you more of a variety of activities to choose from. You will be near popular restaurants, shops, museums, and more. It also cuts down on travel time from the airport to the city. Cities with great public transportation directly from the airport make this easy and affordable. Amsterdam has an airport near the city and has lots of fun things to do. We spent 3 days in Amsterdam with our kids and had a blast. Pisa, Italy is another city with an airport about 3 miles from the city center. We visited Pisa during our two day trip to Florence with kids. Some other cities include Copenhagen, Lisbon, and Mexico City. Longer trips from the airport can get expensive so this is something to consider. This way you won’t have to take time away from your layover by taking long commutes to get around. Check out things to do in your layover destination before you arrive so you will have an idea of what you want to do. Booking activities in advanced is another great way to save time while you’re there.
Perks for Flights with Long Layovers
Free City Tours
An advantage of long layover flights is that some companies offer freebies. Select airports offer free layover city tours like in Singapore. You can learn how we made the most of our 14 hour layover in Singapore here. These tours are meant to give visitors passing through an overview of the city. They’re also designed to encourage them to make it a destination for a future trip. This is a good opportunity to discover if you’d like to revisit the city for a longer time someday.
Airports offer tours of various lengths depending on your layover time. You can sign up for a tour ahead of time or try to catch one when you land. Some other airports that offer free layover tours are Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Istanbul airport. City tours are a fun and easy way to explore the city if you don’t want to navigate it on your own. If you’re traveling with kids, a city tour may make it easier to get around.
Free Hotel Stays
Another perk for longer layovers are free hotel stays. If not free, you can find some at extremely low prices. Some airlines like Emirates and Etihad offer hotel rooms for free when having long layovers that include destinations like Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Other airlines include Qatar, Iberia, TAP Air Portugal, and Turkish Airlines. If you plan to travel with kids, check out my Qatar Airlines review and why I think it’s one of the best airlines for kids. This is perfect if you want to spend your layover getting rest in a comfortable place. It also allows you to leave your luggage in your room instead of renting baggage storage at the airport.
Intentionally booking long layover flights is one of the best ways to make the most of your trip. You get the opportunity to spend the day in another city for a lower cost. It is also a great way to get a feel for a city to see if you want to visit for a longer period of time, or not. I love getting the best bang for my buck and this layover hack is a great way to do so. Even if you’re not a seasoned traveler, this is a travel hack for anyone to try. If you want to learn how to save even more money on flights check out 12 ways to earn miles toward free flights.
Hopefully these tips were helpful and you’ll be on your way to making the most of your long layover flight. Did you find this article helpful? If so, please share this post!