How to take advantage of layovers

Visit two (or more) cities for the price of one by taking advantage of layovers.

Flights with layovers are often cheaper than direct flights. Most people avoid flights with layovers and are willing to pay more to avoid wasting precious vacation time waiting for a layover at an airport. However, a common trend amongst travelers now is to intentionally seek out flights with specific layovers with the goal of adding another destination to their itinerary for the price of one ticket.

How does it work?

Airlines have “hub airports” where they frequently stop at during a journey to transfer passengers onto another (usually smaller) plane to complete their journey. This system results in less routes for the airline and better use of their aircraft. It also creates what we know as layovers.

During these layovers, connecting passengers will wait at the airport for as little as 30 minutes to as long as 24 hours. Anything over 24 hours is technically considered a stopover.

Depending on the layover, you may have enough time to leave the airport and get a glimpse of what the city and country has to offer.

You can even convert these layovers into stopovers and turn your itinerary into a proper multi-destination trip.

Book flights with longer layovers

The most straightforward way to add another destination to your itinerary is to just book flights with longer layovers. With certain layovers, you’ll be able to leave the airport and explore the surrounding country or cities. These layovers can range from a few hours to overnight.

The amount of time you need for a successful ‘long layover’ depends on you and how you travel. We all travel differently. Some may prefer overnight layovers (12 hours or longer) to get a good night’s rest and a quick glimpse of the city before continuing and finishing the journey. Others may prefer a 4-6 hour layover, just enough to grab some food and stretch their legs a bit before heading back to the airport. Some are absolutely exhausted after a flight and would much rather book the shortest flights possible. Which one are you?

Plan ahead. Most hub airports are usually equipped with an easy, cheap, and streamlined way for you to get into the city. For example, there is a $13 USD and 30 minute express train ride from the airport to the city center for a Hong Kong layover.

You should also have one or two places in mind to visit during your layover so you can efficiently enjoy your time. Or you can just frantically search TripAdvisor as you’re sitting on the express train into the city center. Whatever works for you.

Leave enough time to get back to the airport. Every airport has its minimum connection time detailed on their website. Rule of thumb is 2 hours or more.

Convert layovers to stayovers

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