picture taken at Eiserner Steg, Frankfurt, Germany
Honestly, I don’t understand how people haven’t caught on to this one yet. Others may moan and groan about long layovers during their travel, but ever since I caught the traveling bug, it was a no-brain-er.
I love, love, LOVE long layovers because it gives me a chance to explore other countries without buying a full price ticket. When I travel, I actually look for the flights with longer/overnight layovers and many stops. Sometimes, the these tickets even come out cheaper than a straight shot flight, and who doesn’t like saving money?
Before The Ticket Purchase
Before I purchase my ticket, I check to make sure there are no visa requirements. Here is a link to the site I use to find out the document requirements for any country. This way, I can plan accordingly prior to traveling. It would suck to buy a ticket with a long layover and then find out I’m not allowed into the country.
Secondly, I plan my flight according to the time and day I need to arrive at the final destination. For example, if I had to be in Lagos by the 15th and I still wanted to explore another country on my way there, I would plan to leave Los Angeles a day or two in advance. This way, I can stop at one place, and still make it to Lagos on time. During my trip to Peru, the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City only let people leave the facility on a layover five hours or longer. On the other hand, when my brother’s girlfriend landed in Bangkok during a layover flight to Vietnam, the Don Mueang International Airport airport wouldn’t let her leave to see me. Moral of the story: Google the requirements, if any, for entering the country or leaving the airport. If there are none, I shoot for a layover with at least 5 hours to spare when I find a ticket. Lastly, I budget an extra 45 minutes to an hour and half getting out of the airport, going into the city, and getting back in time for the flight to the next destination.
Got The Ticket–Now What?
Once I’ve figured out the travel requirements, and purchased my ticket, I learn aboout the city I’m going into and map out the route. This way, I make the most of my time exploring the area.
Tip: If you are doing an over night layover, take into consideration when businesses or travel attractions close in the city or research the night life scene. Also, don’t forget to look into accommodations for overnight stay in the city if you don’t want to go back to the airport the same night.
Sometimes, if the layover is long enough, I’ll have to get my luggage and recheck it at the time of my next flight, and other times, the airline will transfer it for me. When it comes to the weather in each place you land in, pack your carry-on accordingly. I learned this the hard way. Coming from Nigeria in 100 degree weather, I landed in Frankfurt, Germany wearing sandals. I walked around freezing my toes off in 35 degree weather because I packed my tennis shoes in my check-in bags instead of the carry-on.
Getting Into The City
When I’m in the airport, I make it a point to ask airport officials for recommendations of places to go in the city. In Panama, I asked the employees in the airport for ideas and there just so happened to be a free shuttle straight to the Metromall in Panama City. Talk about convenient!
With travel becoming the new trend among young adults, it doesn’t have to be expensive! New ideas like travel hacking and layover exploring are great ways to visit multiple countries for the price of one, so grab your passport, buy the two-stop flight with the 10-hour layover, and get those stamps!
pictures taken at Eiserner Steg, Frankfurt, Germany