How To Maximise A 24 Hour Stopover

Most airlines will allow you to stop in a city between flights for up to 24 hours without paying extra, whether this is on a revenue or award ticket. They consider this more of a transit than stopover so do not penalise you. Some airlines even encourage you to do this by offering free accommodation, transfers, and activities, in order to grow tourism in their home country.

This has allowed me to visit cities I had never even considered visiting in the past. I love this feature and where time and schedules permit, always try and work this into my travels.

If anything I wish airlines allowed up to 48 hours rather than 24, as I’ve barely scratched the surface in some cities!

I’ve had some wonderful stopovers and some ‘challenging’ ones, but here are some tips to add some extra adventure to your next trip.

Hawker Stall, Bangkok.

Choosing your city

Unless you have a particularly complex itinerary, your stopover options will likely be at the major hub of the airline you are flying, so your options may be limited.

Some cities just work better than others, and there are some key factors to consider in choosing your city.

Arrival and departure time

Where the flight schedules permit, try and have as close to 24 hours between flights as possible. Some airlines may allow you to stay an hour or two more (Qatar allowed 27 hours on a recent revenue booking).

Everyone will have a different opinion on the best arrival and departure time, but my personal favourite is to arrive on a long-haul flight in the late morning and depart at the same time the next day. This allows you to get to your hotel, hopefully check in an hour or two early, possibly have a quick nap and then explore the city over the course of the afternoon and evening.

If I’m only stopping over for 12 hours and the flight times mean I’ll arrive at 9pm and leave at 9am the next morning, I’ll usually not bother exploring the city and just opt for a convenient airport hotel for a proper sleep.

The Museum of Islamic Art during an almost free Doha stopover

Distance from the airport to the city

I had a wonderful stopover in Taipei, but the airport bus took an hour each way. When you have less than 24 hours and you need to spend at least two hours just travelling to and from the city this can really eat into your stopover time!

Similarly, Tokyo Narita is a long way from Tokyo so I stayed in Narita Town, which I did find quite charming (and very Japanese!).

Pick cities where the airport is either close to the CBD, like Boston, or has a very quick connection to the city, like Shanghai’s Maglev train.

Ease of getting around

Some cities are just made for stopovers and Singapore immediately comes to mind. It has been a favourite stopover choice for Australians heading to Europe for decades. It’s clean, everyone speaks English, it’s well-signed, always warm, has excellent transport, and even the sidewalks are wide and comfortable to walk on.

On the other hand, Seoul, while a fascinating city, was incredibly overwhelming for a stopover and I hardly had time to do anything because I was just trying to navigate the enormous metropolis. I wouldn’t dream of a stopover in somewhere like Beijing!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Cost

There are certainly ways to reduce the cost of your stopover. You can arrive in the morning and depart again that evening, saving on accommodation as you sleep on the plane. Or choose those cities where the airline or tourism commission will pick up most of the tab in order for you to visit.

I loved my stopover in Doha last year and hardly spent anything. Or just pick a cheap city to stop in.

Bangkok was a lot of fun for a cheap and cheerful blur of tuk-tuks, night markets, and cocktails.

What to do there

As much or as little as your like. The energy of exploring a new city means I’m full of energy when I land and I go pretty hard — in Taipei I was on my feet for 12 hours, and was exhausted afterwards, but it was completely worth it. I usually try and do at least the following three things every stopover:

  1. Eat a local meal at a local restaurant/market;
  2. Do a local tourist activity such as visiting an attraction; and
  3. Wander around with no specific destination in mind. I particularly enjoy this either early evening as a city transforms into night. Or early morning before the city wakes up.
There’s more to Taipei than Hello Kitty!

The X-factor: visas

Make sure you can actually enter the country you are planning to stop in! This might sound obvious, but if you can’t you’ll be stuck with a very long, uncomfortable and boring day airside at the airport!

Many countries offer transit-type visas at no cost but some countries, like Turkey or Russia, may impose a fairly substantial fee even if you are there for less than 24 hours. My stopover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was a comedy of errors from start to finish (I will save that for a separate post!) but I was slugged a US$50 visa on entry fee which in hindsight, wasn’t really worth it, given the experience I had there.

Bottom line

Lots of people just want to get straight to their destination as quickly as possible. But where I have the realistic opportunity, I love exploring a new city on my way.

Are there any cities where you’ve enjoyed a stopover of less than 24 hours?

Comments

  1. I did pretty much exactly this a couple of years ago, scheduling a 23 hour 50 minute layover in LHR on the way to IST. My wife and I spent a lovely day driving out to Stonehenge, then went to Salisbury to walk around and have dinner before returning to LHR in the evening. That was fun, and forced us to stay up all day, helping with jet lag.

  2. Just finished a RTW trip in Feb/March and had two 24-hour stopovers (Singapore and Abu Dhabi). In Singapore, I wanted to stay at the new Andaz (and warm up after freezing in Beijing) and Abu Dhabi to visit the new Louvre Museum.

  3. I’ll disagree with you on Seoul. In January on #RTW18, I had a great layover arriving at dawn, cleaning up with Shower in KA lounge. Then 30 minute train ride to Center of town. I visited the city park with portions of the old city wall and statues. Then the ‘high line ‘ style park, did a bit of Olympic souvenir shopping. Then back on the train for evening departure to Sydney

  4. Don’t forget that some airlines do allow longer stopovers.
    Notably Icelandair and TAP

    Neither are luxurious but both encourage longer stopovers
    And Portugal and Iceland are amazing

    You can schedule a 1,2 or 3 day on your way to or from Europe as you purchase your ticket online

    There are probably other airlines that do this too?

  5. I’ll be curious to read about the Addis Ababa adventure, as I’m planning a stopover there later this year! Good post though.

  6. Like what you said about Tokyo, sometimes there are great alternatives other than schlepping in to the city centre. For visitors “thru” LHR (home airport), I often recommend alternatives to central London:

    Oxford, an hour each way by bus/coach through the English countryside to its beautiful and easily walkable city centre. About the same distance/travel time as central London, yet beautiful buildings, loads of history, and easily walkable. Coach is called “The Airline” and it picks up at both Terminal 5 as well as the LHR Central Bus Station.

  7. Beijing is not as bad as you think if you know where you want to go to. We had a 9 hour layover recently (coming back from Japan) and went into town for a Peking Duck dinner (taking the airport train into town and then a taxi back). The subway is not too hard to navigate as well after you figured it out once.

  8. I’ve got two full-day layovers next month. London and Hong Kong. I never thought about going to Stonehenge. Thanks for the idea @MeanMeosh!

  9. @John, thanks for this LHR suggestion. I am definitely going to do that on my next long LHR layover. Beats sitting in the lounge all day.

    I did the 2 day Iceland lay over with Icelandair and I enjoyed it. Definitely a good thing to do on your way to Europe at least once…

    While not formal one-PNR layovers, I have ended long trips with a couple of days in Frankfurt and have enjoyed them. Wandering around Mainz, Wiesbaden, or Frankfurt for a day is usually a great way to catch your breath on some crazier itineraries. And so easy to get to from the airport.

  10. We just returned from a trip to New Zealand. On the way over there, we had a 12 hour layover at SFO, during which we took the BART train into San Francisco. On the other hand, two years ago, we had a long layover in São Paulo, Brazil, but because of visa costs and lack of rapid transit, we stayed at the airport.

  11. Had a perfect 12 hour stopover in Saigon a few years back. Arrived at SGN late morning and took a cab in to town (super cheap and fast). Wandered around until lunch and then had a glorious four-course lunch at an old 5-star hotel. Took a bicycle-taxi tour and then had massage and then had drinks before my short hop to BKK and then onwards to Stockholm. This stopover made a 12-hour economy trip very bearable.

  12. You don’t need to pay for visa or even for Hotel for that matter in Addis Ababa if you coming and going on the same airline(ET)or you connection time is 8 hour or more

  13. Can’t wait for a trip report on Ethiopia.
    Also, besides Iceland and TAP, what airlines permit longer stopovers?
    Thanks for the excellent posts!

  14. I really have good time at night time in my Singapore transits. So night time transit at SIN should also be encourage. Singapore might be an exception!

  15. ICN, FRA, BKK.

    I disagree with Lucky on TYO simply because there are TWO airports for TYO, NRT and HND. 😉

    (HND is closer to the city. I’ve done a 48 hour stopover back in the days of US *A awards, in to NRT, out of HND.)

    Anthony Bourdain did his “The Layover” series on a bunch of these cities… probably a bit out of date on some stuff but still useful.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Layover

  16. PS: Alaska Airlines allows stopovers longer than 24 hours on one way awards in partner hubs, so TYO, HKG, LHR. KEF, DXB, SEL, PEK, SYD, and presumably SIN and HEL once SQ and AY award charts exist.

    PPS: plus their own hubs. I am on a 6 month “stopover” in SEA myself… 😉

  17. Addis and Ethiopian are the worst (even in business class) – nobody in my family will ever fly the airline in my lifetime.
    A good daytime stopover at LHR is Windsor Palace.
    Looking forward to an upcoming stopover at FRA as the ubahn connections are fast and easy

  18. @ Bill n DC – I just found it took so long to get anywhere in Seoul. We purposely booked a hotel that was right next to the main train station and it still took us well over 30 minutes to find it after getting off the train. Compared with other major cities in North Asia very few people spoke English.

    The picture of the subway map shows how difficult I found it to navigate!

  19. @ Andrew M – that is true but the only way I could make my stopover work was by arriving on Ethiopian from Johannesburg and continuing on with Egypt Air to Cairo.

    This made me ineligible for a free transit visa and despite asking very nicely, Ethiopian refused to budge.

  20. Very nice article.

    One day is often too short but is not to be wasted. Only once, I stayed overnight in the Netherlands but have visited Utrecht once and Amsterdam about 9 times. That is equivalent to about a 5-6 day visit. There is still much more to see even in Amsterdam alone.

    A frequent way is to arrive in the morning and leave for a connecting flight to another city in Europe late in the afternoon. On the way back to North America is a little more difficult. Arrive in the mid morning and leave, hopefully, mid afternoon. I suppose I could try to arrive in the evening and stay in a hotel.

  21. One thing I consider for this, especially common on award tickets… If I can get a 1-2 hour turn I am very likely to take it. If all I can get is a 4-8 hour turn where I would just be stewing in an airport I would rather have an 18-24 hour turn and hopefully enjoy a little. This year I have long layovers like this in Warsaw, Zurich and Taipei.

    And for 8 hours in Beijing you can get a tour guide to pick you up at the airport and take you to the Great Wall. Going to check that off my list later in the year with minimal time in China.

    The nice thing is I may not really go out of my way to visit those cities for multiple days, but now I can check them out and maybe go back if I really like them. Life would be grand if I stopped over in Vienna every year for the rest of my life… 48>24.

    One other thing you could bring up is what happens with your checked bag; I know we should all be awesome and carry-on but some of us need to check for work or other things (suits are bulky).

    Good article.

  22. Nice post, James! Using my AA miles for upcoming trip to South Pacific I managed to score 22-hour stopovers in both Brisbane and Sydney.

  23. Well, we know this isn’t Lucky given the spelling of “maximise,” although the URL spelled it correctly

  24. Copenhagen is great for this. You can get from the airport to the center of the city in less than 20 minutes on the subway and then just walk everywhere. Getting back through security is a breeze as well. I fly between the US and Europe on SAS quite regularly, and I always take the same itinerary with a 6-hour layover on the way back. By now, I’ve seen pretty much all of the city one chunk at a time.

  25. Which airlines provide free stopover accommodation and what are the sweet spots? That information will be a lot more useful.

  26. @c

    Don’t be an arse (sic). It’s absolutely correct in British English to use -ise endings (and in Australian English, too).

  27. I’ve visited Addis more times I have actually planned (some missed connections while travelling with ethiopian) but I’ve never paid for visa, not even when I tried to. I had 18 hour transit (travelling in economy) arriving early morning and departing late night. At immigration I was asked about my accomodation which I did not have as I was just doing a daytime transit. I was send back to the Ethiopian transitdesk which then gave me a hotel with 2 meals and visa for free, no questions asked.

  28. We did SEA-FRA-PVG on LH that got us into FRA early morning and then back out late evening. Two redeyes together with lie flat seats. Getting into town is easy from the airport. Unfortunately it was chilly and rainy the whole day, plus with jet lag we were pretty worn out. Definately slept solid on the next redeye to Shanghai.

  29. For Tokyo look at stopovers using Haneda HND which is increasingly international. I had a great experience last year, landed around 15:00, departed 08:00 following day. Immigration pretty quick, train into Shimbashi was about 30 minutes.

  30. For a short ICN layover, a free transit tour program is available. Walk-in and reservation both permitted.
    https://www.airport.kr/ap/en/trn/trnTourMain.do
    I think many Asian cities have this as well. TPE and DOH come to my mind.

    For an overnight stopover, just use the airport limousine bus directly to the hotel (1-2 ppl) or taxi (3-4 ppl). Although airport express train takes you to Seoul Stn from ICN in about 50 minutes, you don’t have to worry about finding the hotel with limousine bus or taxi. Unfortunately there’s no Uber in Seoul.

    Yes the Seoul metro system is indeed exceedingly complicated (less than Tokyo though). So I’d recommend taking taxi within the city as well, if not comfortable with the metro. It is not expensive at all. For 3+ people, taxi tends to be comparable or even cheaper than public transit.

    TBH I don’t really know if Seoul is an attractive destination, but for many peope cosmetics shopping and Korean BBQ seems worthwhile. And for these purpose a short stopover makes sense.

  31. Back in 2015 when UA allowed 24-hour layovers, we had an amazing 20 hours in Bangkok, 23.5 hours in Paris, and 12 hours in Frankfurt on our way from Singapore to SFO – not bad for 40K UA miles!
    It would be great to know which airlines allow free stopovers these days – SQ, QR, EK, FI, …?

  32. @thespcallednicepaul

    Definitely not “absolutely” correct, the sublime OED prefers -ize endings.

  33. Great article. But, I got a chuckle when I read the caption under the first photo. It says “Hawker Stall, Bangkok.”. My brain read that as “Stalker Hall”…! Cheers.

  34. The best was I able to do was on an Alaska intra-asia award redemption. HKG-TPE-KIX, on CX metal for both legs. The layover in TPE was 23 hours and 56 minutes! I was proud of that one~

  35. If flying on ethiopian airlines you can get a free stopover, including a free mediocre hotel and food as long as your connecting flight is more than 8 hours and less than 24; no visa fee either. However, there must not be a scheduled connecting flight to the same destination earlier than your onward flight. If so you wil probably be stuck buying a visa upon entry. I had a great 23 hours, riding public buses and meeting locals. I did this last month.

  36. Sorry, But I feel this article would be more on point if it would outline what airlines offer stopovers with the correlating points/ miles redemptions. Maybe also include Transport/lodging options rather than suggestions on what to do. There’s TripAdvisor for that kinda stuff. My two cents.

  37. On a recent 5 week trip we had two layovers I recommend– roughly 12 daytime hours in Amman on DOH-AMM-AQJ routing, so we hired a driver to take us from the airport to the Citadel, Jerash (extraordinary) and Ajloun Castle, while our routing JFK-AUH-MLE on Etihad apartment & first put us in Abu Dhabi for 21 hours overnight, so we booked the Ritz Carlton (a reasonable Marriott redemption at 30K) because they were within sight of and had a free shuttle to the stunning Sheikh Zayeed mosque, with time to visit the waterfront downtown area at night.

  38. Janice Lintz:

    Vienna is a terrific city for a stopover. I landed early in the morning from Larnaca, Cyprus and had a 6 pm flight to Bologna, Italy. The train took me directly from the airport into the city. I had more than enough time to visit the famed Hofburg Palace and the Austrian National Library before a sumptuous lunch at Steirereck. The meal was Prix fixed, so it was timely coursed and sensational. The restaurant even agreed to watch my luggage while I traipsed around the City.

    I disagree with a stopover in Narita, Japan. My daughter and I stopped on what would appear to an average person as a crazy layover, but we made it into a dining adventure.(https://www.forbes.com/sites/janicelintz/2016/07/14/how-i-went-to-the-maldives-for-less-than-1500/#c3989d7596ab)

    I think of layovers in new or favorite destinations as an amuse-bouche before or after a trip. Since I can’t obtain a Chase or United card, I use my Amex points on Aeroplan which permits me to have a stopover.

  39. Good article. Doing the reverse of yourself James (a Brit living in Australia, but flying back at least 6 times a year) I try to maximise layovers if I can. Hong Kong and Singapore are both great. Doha was fun and had a great 22 hours there last August. Have also tried KL and Dubai. Flying MEL – BKK – LHR tomorrow with a layover and looking forward to it.

  40. Emirates has one of the best under 24 hour stopover options but you need to plan carefully. The past couple of years I have had an included stay at the very nice Le Meridien including great meals and transfers and found it a great way to break the trip from Australia to Europe. They allow a free stopover is more than 6 or 8 hours depending on what cabin you are flying in.

    The trick I have found on award bookings is to pick the flight out of Dubai first as not all flights have award space which in this case is an advantage and once you have found a flight out then try and find a flight into Dubia that arrives as far out as possible. t takes a bit of planning but is worth it.

    On the way back from Europe last year I had about 20 hours in Bangkok where i have been many times but found a decent inexpensive hotel called the U Sukhumvit that had a great policy of allowing 24 hours use of the room so I was able to check in around 8pm on the night I arrived and have use of the room until I checked out the next day around 5.30pm without the hassle of having to be out of the room by noon whcih made the whole stopover much more enjoyable.

  41. James your writing is so good I fucking love it. Not that the blog wasn’t amazing before but now it has a whole new factor.

    Keep it up so much plz.

  42. @James, while you are covering interesting topics I get the feeling your knowledge of fare rules and ticketing is a little off.

    Generally on any ticket on any airline a break between flights of under 24 hours is not called a stopover, it is transit. You did mention this, but to use the term stopover at all, even in the title of the article, is technically incorrect, as the word “stopover” is a technical term used in fare construction and explicitly means a stop between flights of greater than 24 hours at a point other than the final destination.

    Every airline permits routings with long transits. Some airlines permit free stopovers (and surprisingly many). Your 27 hours in DOH were not transit, they were technically a stopover. However QR allows free stopovers so it wouldn’t change the fare. EK, notably also permits 1 free stopover per ticket (doesn’t always have to be DXB), this can range from 14 days to several months, depending on the fare type and rules. When using multi-city search for instance if you select AAA-BBB (final destination) and then BBB-DXB (few days stop) then DXB-AAA it will show the final segment with the wording “No extra cost” or something. Whether you fly with a 2 hour transit or a 5 day stopover there’s no additional fee.

    @John, Emirates offers Dubai Connect to pax where your transit in DXB exceeds 8 hours (in Y) or 6 hours (in J and F) and you are on an eligible fare (revenue requirement > X threshold in Y, no requirement in J and F) and there was no earlier flight. If there was an earlier flight (including a set of completely different flights later in the day) with a shorter connection under the Dubai Connect limit you won’t qualify (but glitches sometimes still permit one to book it). They use the LM for J and F, as well as the Al Bustan near the airport, and the Copthorne and other similar hotels for Y.

  43. Seoul is a fantastic city and heaven for people who like to eat and drink! The thing is not to try to do too many things if you just have one day. For a fist time stopover, I recommend staying in the Jongno / Gwangwhamun area. This allows for visiting Gyeongbokgung palace, have a sundowner with great views of the city in Top Cloud bar, and dinner plus drinks in Jogno. All in easy walking distance from your hotel.

  44. @Maxim

    I’m afraid you’re wrong. It is “absolutely” correct in British English to use -ise endings; -ize is an acceptable (but much less common) alternative.

    British English is not standardised in all sorts of interesting ways. In America you refer to the “Oxford comma” – house style originating in Oxford University where a comma was inserted before the final item in a list, whereas pretty much everywhere else in England it was correct *not* to have such a comma.

    Those sorts of variations are typical in a living language which is constantly adapting and changing. Pedantic insistence on compliance with any particular fossilised rule is usually pretty ineffective (as an example, despite myself I mourn the loss of precise meaning that used to apply to the word “decimate”. But that just shows I’m an old fart who hasn’t kept up with the times. Insisting everyone else complies with the meaning I still assign to it is a fool’s errand).

  45. Sorry, But I feel this article would be more on point if it would outline what airlines offer stopovers with the correlating points/ miles redemptions.

  46. Sounds like someone doesn’t know how to do Asia.

    Seoul has a direct Airport Express train (literally the stop after Incheon Airport is Seoul Station) and a standard Airport line with 13 stops. Its a waste to have such a thorough subway system (and no chaotic/rude crowds) and still find the city overwhelming (read: didn’t bother to Google where to go on the train).

    Tokyo Narita has two direct trains (JR Narita Express and Keisei Narita SkyAccess), each about 90mins to downtown. The first train, like Seoul, goes straight to Tokyo Station from the airport.

    Taipei Taoyuan has an Airport line that goes straight into downtown Taipei in 55 minutes, with 5 stops.

    Also missing, Hong Kong — just two stops and 40 minutes to Kowloon, or connect on the subway for two stops to Tsim Sha Tsui for authentic dim sum in 60 minutes.

    Even Kuala Lumpur, which is RIDICULOUSLY far out (60km), is still a 60min airport express train (and one stop) away.

    Bangkok? 40mins on the SRTET from Suvarnabhumi.

    When it comes to Europe, its often easier.

  47. OK, I’m going to be the naysayer here. I hate these kinds of transits. I can’t race around a city, thinking that somehow I have ‘experienced’ it. Make it a proper stopover, and do more than be able to tick the box, or scratch the surface to reveal the destination on a wall map in my case.

    Now I know that I am speaking from a point of privilege as I am self-employed and my work is highly transportable. So I don’t have the leave restrictions of others and can take my time.

    Good on those who can take this kind of 24-hour transit and be comfortable with it, but for me, a few days, a week, or even longer is what it takes to get a proper taste of a destination. If I can’t have that – make it the fewest number of hours transit time in an airport in the most comfortable lounge, and move me on.

  48. I look forward to more specifics for particular airlines/schemes in the future, but this has certainly inspired me, especially the idea of one-day trips not in the main city associated with an airport. Although driving (E.g. to Stonehenge) means watching the champagne consumption times.

  49. I booked a oneway Aeroplan Inter-Europe economy award about two years ago and city-hopped across Europe:

    FRA-TXL (23hrs in Berlin, stayed at the Holiday Inn, joined a walking tour in Berlin)
    TXL-CPH (22hrs in Copenhagen, stayed at the Best Western Malmo, did a walking tour and a cycling tour around Copenhagen)
    CPH-OSL (20hrs in Oslo, stayed near the airport, planned adventure was cancelled due to fog)
    OSL-KEF (Toured Iceland for 3 days)

  50. Agree with the readers above on Seoul. Super easy by train to get to the center of town and check out the palace, walk along the Cheonggyecheon, eat bbq see N Seoul Tower. Then come back

  51. A great addition to this blog. You seem to be a traveler far more like me – see as much as I can while restricted to a tight budget, as opposed to the normal “the champagne only costs $200 a bottle, how disappointing” reviews found here.

    Not that I mean to moan – I still found them interesting to read, they just aren’t remotely useful to me!

  52. what can you do if you have a sixteen hour transit in singapore before continuing onto your next destination.for instance your flight from europe leaves lunchtime but gets into singapore at 7am but your onwards connection is not till say an hour before midnight.if i was not already booked on qatar airways for my upcoming trip i would be asking this given how bad the singapore airlines connections munich to adelaide via singapore would be.thinking to myself a trip to the chinese and japanese gardens,science centre and maybe a visit to the zoo using a mix of mrt’s and taxis.

  53. On New Year’s Day, I purchased the Royal Jordanian 40% off business fare that was featured here (along with many other places). When choosing my itinerary, we made sure to include a 22 1/2 hour layover in Amman on the return. It was a great decision.

    We wanted to see Petra so we hired a driver that picked us up at the airport after entry, drove us there, waited while we toured the site, and returned us to Amman in time for a good night’s sleep (the Amman Marriott is a Category 5 – used a MegaBonus free night certificate) before heading back to the airport the next morning.

    It was definitely tiring, but we got to see an amazing site that we otherwise would have had to plan an extra trip for. I’m so glad we did it.

  54. @ Callum – as per my bio I travel everything from first class to Ryanair. I’ve flown QSuites, Singapore Airlines Suites and the Etihad Apartments. They’re wonderful for those special trips that take lots of planning and miles. Ben has reviewed these many times and there’s very little I can add to his thoughts.
    But for regular travel (and I go ‘overseas’ every 3 weeks) Im happy to fly whatever is cost effective and convenient. I would rather 20 cheap trips a year than only one or two 5-star, first class trip.

  55. We had a trip recently where we had a 23hr layover in Hong Kong that was a perfect amount of time to run around and hit the high spots.

    We also had a 9 hour layover in Beijing and hired a car to take us to the Great Wall rather than fighting traffic into the city.

  56. Enjoyed the post!

    Do you have any advice or instruction on how to actual search for and book these longer layovers? Is it as simple as scrolling through the list of results on a Google Flights query sorted by longest duration? Iceland, for example, allows long layovers that don’t necessarily appear in search results.

    Recognizing this is a very broad question which surely could vary by airline, any pointers you could provide would be helpful! Cheers.

  57. @James Nice piece and I enjoyed it much more than your article on hand luggage only travel (I’m afraid I found most of your tips banal and not that relevant for business traveller types)
    Re. good stopover cities, Stockholm is great with a very fast Express train into the old city from ARN. I agree with you that the overwhelming principle especially if time is short, is to stick to one place with one purpose in mind rather than try to do everything.

  58. @ ChampagneSocialist – thanks for your comments. I don’t travel for work. Sometimes I wish I did as it would be nice having someone else paying me to travel but often I don’t as I know its not as glamorous as it seems!

  59. @ Ben W – try using the multi-city function on any OTA like Google Flights, or on an airlines own search engine, rather than searching a simple return flight. Most search engines will not display a stopover of longer than 24 hours on a normal return flight as most passengers want to get to their destination as quickly as possible.

    When you start adjusting the stopover longer and longer (by changing the date of the second flight) the price will likely jump up once the stopover is more than 24 hours. Often there can be a big price difference between a 23 and 25 hour stopover.

    A few readers have asked about which airlines offer free/cheap stopover packages – it was too much info for this post but I might write a subsequent post on this topic specifically at some stage – thanks for the suggestion.

  60. @James – awesome advice, I suspected there was a relatively simple trick to it. I’ll look forward to that follow on post on stopovers. Thank you!

    Congrats and welcome to the OMAAT crew btw. Enjoy reading your work and looking forward to what you have coming next.

  61. James – really nice and practical article! Keep them coming!! By the way, it is now easier to go between TPE (Taoyuan) airport and downtown Taipei with the airport MRT Line. For the “Express” train (departing every 14 minutes), it only takes about 35 minutes and there is no need to worry about traffic congestion. Even for the slower “Commuter” train (departing between the express trains), it only takes about 1 hour.

  62. @ Ben W, @ Dennis and @ others – thank you so much for your kind words. I’m not able to respond to every single comment on the posts I write (as I’m getting hundreds a week right now!) but rest assured I do read them all and all your support and encouragement has been awesome.

    I wasn’t sure how the OMAAT community would welcome a ‘new voice’ given how used to Ben and Tiffany we are, but you have all been wonderful and I’m so happy you guys like my style.

    I already have plenty planned, but if you have any suggestions for what you would like me to cover don’t hesitate to let me know.

    Cheers
    James

  63. HKG is another good place for a stopover. I did one a while back. Arrived late afternoon from the US and my flight to CMB was almost exactly 24 hours later. On my way back from Australia next month I will be there about 20 hours. Train to the city is quick and easy. Plenty of hotel options (I’m using my Hyatt free night at the Hyatt Regency TST). No visa needed. It’s a place I can take in small doses.

  64. Did it in DEL in 2011; 13 hour stop-over. No local language knowledge (Hindi). Traveled by a combination of metro train and bus and a lots and lots of walking. Airport has a luggage room where you can store the luggage for a fee.

    Managed to visit Qutub Minar, Connaught Circle etc.

  65. The mass transit is one of the highlights of a visit to a city. The subway system in Seoul is a destination in itself. I could easily spend a 12 hour layover simply exploring the subway and the associated amenities.

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