You’re booking your next vacation and of course, the cheapest flight is the one with a 12-hour layover in a place you’ve never heard of. Instead of a big inconvenience, it might be the adventure-in-disguise that you didn’t even know you wanted. The option with the longest layover actually has many hidden benefits and aside from getting you to your destination a little later than planned (but what’s a day or two, really?), this is almost always the best option to take. Here’s why!
It’s more cost-effective
Often, taking two flights instead of one is the most cost-effective option. Sure, it can feel a little frustrating and possibly more anxiety-inducing wondering if you’ll make your connection, but that’s all the more reason to select an option with a big gap between flights. This way, you’ll save money but avoid the stress of running between airport terminals with your bags! Nowadays, many airlines offer the opportunity to carbon offset your flights, reducing the environmental impact of taking two flights. If they don’t offer this, there are many companies that can calculate your carbon footprint and allow you to offset it by donating to environmental projects.
Discover a totally new place
The biggest advantage of a long layover is the opportunity to discover a new place. If your layover is during the day, many airports offer day tours of the city, picking you up from the airport and dropping you back at a guaranteed time. This is a great way to see the highlights of a city, all while ensuring you won’t miss your onward flight.
If you’ve got a little more time on your hands, consider a longer stay in your layover city. It’ll give you the chance to explore an entirely new place in more depth, and it’s a great chance to visit a friend in another city that you’d never quite managed to see or tick off a bucket-list place.
Our top tip for a longer layover is to make sure it’s a country you don’t need a visa for, or arrange this with plenty of time to make sure you don’t end up stuck in an airport terminal for two days! As your layover is likely to only be a maximum of a few days, make sure you’ve researched the city and have a plan of what you’d like to do in order to maximize your time there. A walking tour is a great way to meet people and be shown around by a local.
It’s also important to consider clothing. If it’s a long-haul trip, your layover location may well have a totally different climate to your destination, so pack wisely. Of course, with your Solgaard Carry-On Closet, you’ll have plenty of room while packing for the perfect layover outfit!
Enjoy the airport experience
Airports are all the same, right? Wrong! There are some super cool airports out there, and instead of seeing them as a place of necessity, this opportunity will offer you time to kick back and enjoy the airport experience to its full potential.
If you’re someone who collects air miles, you might be lucky enough to access the airport lounge, which is a luxurious experience in itself. With great food, comfy chairs, showers, and even spas and champagne experiences in the first and business-class lounges, you really will be traveling in style.
If lounges aren’t your thing, there’s so much to see in some of the world’s coolest airports. Singapore Changi airport boasts the world’s largest waterfall—the Jewel is a whopping 130 feet tall and quite the spectacle! The airport also features several green spaces, including a butterfly garden and a rooftop cactus garden. There are also art installations, a maze, and a shopping mall. Literal days of entertainment without leaving the terminal!
Singapore isn't the only place with a great airport—Vancouver International airport has its own aquarium, Helsinki airport has some very stylish and practical sleeping pods for hire, and Hong Kong airport outdoes them all with a virtual golf course and IMAX cinema.
And there you were thinking airports are boring! One last thing to add here is the food. Larger airports have so many great options for all budgets, with much more variety than you’ll get onboard your flight. A long layover makes a nice change from grabbing an airport sandwich on the go, so take your time and enjoy a meal at your leisure.
There are health benefits, too
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination feeling excited to explore but absolutely exhausted from the journey and the change to a new time zone. Opting for a longer layover allows time for your body to adjust, combatting jetlag, so you can arrive at your destination feeling fresh and good to go.
A long layover also massively reduces stress— there’s no need to nervously check your watch ahead of your tight connection; this is especially the case if you need to go through security again or self-transfer your bags. The long layover option alleviates the rush and allows you to move at your own pace. After all, you’re on holiday!
Finally, albeit small, there are slightly elevated health risks associated with longer flights; this is especially true for older people or those with health conditions. By taking a long break between flights, you can give your body a chance to recover. So have a rest, stretch your legs, and adjust to the new time zone, totally stress-free!
An opportunity to connect
Flying provides a chance to disconnect when you put your cell into flight mode. For most of us, it can feel like a blessing as we browse the in-flight movie options or start a new book. However, on longer journeys it can be frustrating being cut off from the world, especially if traveling for work. A long layover provides you with the opportunity to reconnect—whether that’s catching up on work emails, making a phone call, or just checking in with friends or your social media platforms—all entirely at your own leisure.
So there you have it. Next time your flight-finder tool throws you a curveball of a long layover, maybe it’s worth considering. You never know what adventure it might lead you on!
Written by Annie Callahan