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Are Long Layovers Worth It: Pros and Cons


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Are long layovers worth it?

Layovers can be a great way to break up a long journey and explore new places, but they also come with some drawbacks. Whether or not taking a long layover is worth it depends on your individual needs and preferences. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of taking a long layover in order to help you decide if it’s right for you.

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A layover in Istanbul Airport
A layover in Istanbul Airport

1. How to Book a Long Layover?

First things first, how to book a long layover?

Are you flying through a city that you have wanted to visit for some time? Take advantage of a long layover or stopover. So, how to book a flight with a long layover? There are a few options.

1. When booking a connecting flight, just choose the one with a longer layover time (see image below; second and third options have twice as long layovers as the first option). It may be more expensive though, but not always.

Choosing a longer layover - flight with AirBaltic
Choosing a longer layover – flight with AirBaltic

2. If you want to stay at a layover city for more than 24 hours, you’ll need to book yourself a connecting flight with a stopover. You can do it by using a multi-city flight booking option on airline websites. Sometimes there are special deals on stopovers. For example, many popular airlines offer discounted or even free accommodation, free tours, and other perks for transiting passengers only.

Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, TAP and other airlines offer various layover deals.

3. Book a self transfer flight. In other words – book two separate flights.

This is the least safe option. If the first flight gets cancelled or delayed, and you miss your connection, it falls on your shoulders to book a new flight to your final destination, as well as to book yourself accommodation. It’s your responsibility, not your airline’s. Mostly you also aren’t entitled to flight compensation.

To prepare for the unexpected, it is wise to invest in a travel insurance policy that covers delays, missed connections and other disruptions. If you miss your connection, you’ll be glad you did!

Book protected self-transfer connection with Kiwi.

2. What Are the Benefits of Long Layover Flights?

Are long layovers worth it?

Taking a long layover can be an excellent way to break up the monotony of long-haul flights and make the most of your trip. Long layovers offer a number of benefits, such as allowing you to experience a destination in more depth, save money on airfare, and enjoy some sightseeing or shopping.

2.1 Cost Savings

Taking a long layover can be beneficial for your wallet.

Flights with longer layovers are often cheaper than direct flights. If you’re on a tight budget, a long layover could be a good way to save money.

Many airlines offer cheaper fares for flights with longer layovers, allowing you to save money while still experiencing a destination. For example, if you are traveling from Los Angeles to Tokyo, you could opt for a flight with an 8-hour layover in Hong Kong and save hundreds of dollars on the overall cost of your trip.

2.2 Sightseeing

Sightseeing is one of the main benefits of a long layover.

If your layover is in a city that you’ve never visited before, a long layover could give you the opportunity to explore the area and see some of the local sights.

For example, if your flight has a layover in Paris, you could use some of your extra time to spend a few hours exploring the city’s famous attractions. This could include visiting iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Louvre Museum. You could also sample some of the city’s renowned cuisine or take a stroll along the Champs-Élysées.

Many popular airlines (including Turkish Airlines and TAP) offer layover deals for their transit passengers. A layover deal, also known as a stopover deal, is a travel itinerary that includes a long layover in a connecting city, typically between 6 to 24 hours, allowing travelers to spend time in the city before continuing to their final destination.

Some airlines even offer free layover tours or hotel stays for travelers who book a layover deal, making it an attractive option for travelers who want to save money and add an extra destination to their trip.

Read more: 10 Best Layover Cities

2.3 Rest and Relaxation

If you’ve been on a long flight, a long layover could give you a chance to rest, stretch your legs, and recharge before your next flight. Many airports have lounges, day rooms, or other amenities that can help you feel more comfortable during your layover.

2.4 Shopping and dining

Some airports have great shopping and dining options.

If you have a long layover, you could take advantage of these amenities and enjoy some good food and shopping.

In larger airports like Heathrow, Singapore Changi or Tokyo Narita, there are even enclosed shopping centers with a variety of stores and restaurants. This gives you the chance to buy some souvenirs or sample some local cuisine before continuing onto your destination.

For example, a long layover in Singapore Airport is really worth it, as it is one of the best airports in the world. Check out Singapore Changi Airport guide if you are planning a layover in Singapore.

Landing in Vietnam
Landing in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

3. What Are the Drawbacks of Long Layovers?

When booking a flight, travelers have the option of selecting a long layover in order to save money or time. But while it can seem like a great way to save money on airfare, there are some drawbacks associated with long layovers that individuals should be aware of.

3.1 Fatigue and Boredom

A long layover can be tiring and boring, especially if you don’t have access to comfortable seating, food, or entertainment.

3.2 Hassle and Stress

Travelers may have to navigate between different terminals or even an entirely different airport during their layover, leading to added stress and hassle.

3.3 Extra Costs

Another potential drawback of long layovers is the amount of money that travelers may end up spending at airports or on flights in order to make their connections. Many airports have high prices for food and other amenities, which can add up quickly when added together with airfare savings.

3.4 Visa Requirements

Depending on the country where your layover is located, you may need a visa to leave the airport and explore the area. If you don’t have the proper documentation, you may be stuck in the airport for the entire layover.

Read more: Do you need a visa for connecting flights?

4. Strategies for Making the Most Out of a Long Layover

If you decide to take a long layover, there are several strategies that can help make it more enjoyable and productive.

  • Head to the city during the day. Try to book your flights in such a way that you will have time to explore your destination during the day. This will give you more time to visit attractions and explore the area. If the airport has an easily accessible nearby attraction, make sure to take the time to go see it.
  • Join airline loyalty programs, which can provide access to lounge facilities where you can relax in between flights. Many airports have lounges with luxuries such as complimentary snacks, comfortable seating areas, and even showers.
  • Take advantage of the airport’s amenities. Many airports offer great dining options, free Wi-Fi and even entertainment options like movie theaters or shopping centers.
Singapore Changi Airport arrivals
Singapore Changi Airport arrivals

5. Tips for Minimizing Discomfort During a Long Layover

The key to surviving a long layover is to stay comfortable.

Always wear comfortable clothes. Sitting for long periods of time in cramped spaces can be uncomfortable, and wearing tight or restrictive clothing can make it even worse. Comfortable clothes, on the other hand, can help you relax and stay comfortable during the flight and long layover. Wearing tight or restrictive clothing can also have negative health consequences, such as restricting blood flow and causing swelling or discomfort in the legs and feet.

Bring items such as books, magazines, music or portable games to keep you entertained while waiting. If you travel often, we would recommend you to invest in an e-book reader such as Amazon Kindle. E-book readers are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry in a backpack, purse, or carry-on bag. This is especially important for travelers who want to pack light and avoid lugging heavy books or magazines around.

Additionally, pack a few snacks in your bag to keep you satisfied until your next flight. Finally, make sure that you are aware of the airport services and amenities available so that you know what resources you can access if needed.

If you are planning to explore your layover city, pack a daypack with essentials such as refillable water bottle, snacks, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, travel size sunscreen, chargers, power bank and charging cables, rain gear, etc.

Read more: What to do on a long layover?

6. Final Thoughts on Whether or Not It’s Worth it to Take a Long Layover

Should you book a long layover instead of a short one?

Whether or not taking a long layover is worth it ultimately depends on the individual’s preferences and budget.

For those looking to save money on airfare or explore a new destination, taking a long layover may be an attractive option.

However, making sure that you are prepared for the time spent in transit is important in order to make it more enjoyable and comfortable. By following the strategies outlined above, you can make the most out of your layover and hopefully have a great experience along the way.

By taking an informed approach to long layovers, travelers will be able to determine if this option is right for them. With a bit of planning and knowledge, long layovers can provide great experiences while still helping to save money and explore new places.

So, are long layovers worth it? The answer is a resounding yes!

What are your thoughts – are long layovers worth it? Do you have more questions about long layovers, or layovers in general? Do you know the difference between stopover and layover? Ask in the comments.

About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.


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This article may contain compensated links. Learn more in our disclaimer.

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