You’ve heard of layovers and have likely experienced them — waiting in uncomfortable chairs and eating dinner from a vending machine.
Maybe you’re lucky and have just enough time to explore the city you’re stuck in, killing time until you can continue your journey.
Did you know that you can avoid uncomfortable layovers without having to purchase pricier tickets? Here’s the secret: You can enjoy the space between flights by turning a layover into a stopover.
Imagine traveling to the outskirts of Reykjavik to watch the electric green lights of Aurora Borealis wavering in the night sky. It’s a scene so surreal and breathtaking — had you ever thought you’d see the northern lights on your trip to Paris? Add Reykjavik as a stopover destination on your way to the city of love and, suddenly, it’s a possibility.
Booking a stopover in your flight is a way to cross several destination goals off your travel to-do list. What’s even better is that you can do this for free or close to it. It’s also a great and lesser-known way to break up a long flight into two or more destinations.
Think about it — you can multiply your destinations for free!
Want to munch on frites while strolling the painterly streets of Amsterdam? Or do you prefer to get lost in the rich colors, aromas and textures of the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul? Thanks to the option of stopovers, you might not have to decide — you can have your stroopwafel and eat it, too!
First, know that a stopover is not a layover. Layover is the term used to refer to connections between flights and is kept under 24 hours.
On the contrary, a stopover is often a much longer stop, or more than 24 hours internationally. It’s part of the itinerary and usually includes a city that’s “on the way” to your final destination. Depending on the airline you choose, a stopover should incur no extra charges.
You will have to take the initiative to book a stopover on your flight, as airlines won’t automatically add it to your itinerary. Book with a specialist travel agency for help designing the multi-destination journey of your dreams.
Booking a stopover flight doesn’t have to be difficult, but it will take some investigation, research and maybe even a few phone calls to different airlines. Airlines will not tell you about the stopover — you have to choose to include it in your trip.
First, you will need to add a stopover to your ticket before you purchase the ticket. Doing so afterward will add fees. Here’s a general guide on how to book a stopover flight:
What cities are on the way to your final destination? What layovers are already planned for your trip? Chances are good you can book a stopover in one or more of these locations.
For example, if you’re heading from New York to Budapest and your flight stops in Paris, why not book a stopover and finally make it to the top of the Eiffel tower?
Another option is to choose the ” add another city ” button in an advanced search on your airline’s website or on another travel planning site. You’ll see if the city of your choice is available as a stop. You might have to play around with an airline’s search engine, but if there is an option to add a stopover on your journey, it might be as simple as clicking on a multi-city button.
Sometimes you might have to call the airline you want to book a flight with to add a stopover. If you know the cities you want to visit on the way to your end destination, explain to a travel agent or customer service representative where you wish to make a stop and they can work with you to make it happen.
Working with an experienced travel agent can help you navigate the rules and any fine print when booking a stopover. A travel specialist can also share industry insights and give advice on topics you may have overlooked. Ask for assistance with booking your next trip to ensure you get the best deals and make the most of your journey.
The most obvious advantage of a stopover flight is that you get to explore two or more different cities for the price of one. But it’s more than being able to send postcards while touring the globe. Breaking up a long flight is good for your health and your career.
Let’s take a look at the benefits, starting with the most exciting:
Booking a stopover flight is an interesting way to turn a long, uncomfortable flight into an opportunity. Take advantage of the geographical area being covered and see other places for free.
Think about it: If you were driving all the way from, say, Boston to Seattle, wouldn’t it make sense to stop and roam around Yellowstone for a few days?
With so many sites and attractions to explore, from cathedrals in Barcelona to the Taj Mahal, why not make every trip an opportunity to be an adventurous world traveler? If there are cities you’ve always wanted to visit, and some are on the way to one destination, it only makes sense to add it to the itinerary.
A stopover is a perfect excuse to visit world-renowned cities that you may not have considered before, too, since you’ll be stopping at major hubs en route to your destination. Hub cities have no shortage of things to do and see and offer something for everyone.
Did you always want to see the Sydney Opera House in person or check out Tokyo’s Disneyland? A stopover in a major city gives you the chance to choose from a variety of exciting activities you may not get to enjoy otherwise. You’ll have a lot more stories to tell and a colorfully stamped passport as proof!
Hire a local to give you a tour.
Some airlines offer a “stopover buddy” to show you how around. Having a local lead the way can help you experience more than just the tourist traps and get a real taste of a city’s culture, food and people.
A local guide can also add depth to a trip by placing your surroundings in a historical context. You’ll feel safer and more educated. You can have a complete cultural experience through the eyes of a local.
Imagine going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel tower. Upon your return, friends and family will demand to know how you managed to avoid it.
Experience a new city fully by touring with a local and having fun as a tourist. After all, a lot of the world’s top attractions are popular for a reason, and you wouldn’t want to miss them. Going to Rome? It’d be hard to resist checking out some ancient ruins, wouldn’t it?
Allowing yourself to get lost is an excellent way to explore your surroundings and have a complete sensory experience!
Take in the scenery — the architecture, local art, the people. Smell the scents — the spices, the pastries and floral perfumes. Let the local musicians and the sounds of a foreign language tickle your ears. The excitement of not knowing what you’ll find will be waiting for you around every turn and you might discover a hidden gem all on your own.
Of course, always consider safety and take precautions. With that in mind, sometimes aimlessly wandering is the best way to find something new and unexpected.
Let’s face it — as much as we love to travel far and wide, long flights can be uncomfortable, stressful and just plain boring. The pillow hurts your neck, the passenger behind you can’t keep from kicking the back of your chair, and oh what you would give to just stretch your legs and arms with the sun in your face.
Long-haul flights can be especially difficult for seniors. Seniors may have certain health issues they have to keep in check, so a stopover can be an opportunity to regain strength and prevent illness. Stopovers can be used to take a trip to a medical facility if needed or simply rest and relax before the next flight.
No matter your age, breaking up a long flight with a stopover is a good idea because it’ll benefit your physical and mental well-being. Long-haul flights can pose certain risks to your health such as:
Sitting in a seat for hours on end causes poor blood flow, which could lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that traveling by air for more than four hours puts you at risk of DVT. However, the risk is still small.
According to the CDC, most people who develop blood clots while traveling are:
One way to prevent blood clots is to make sure to move your legs and stand up to stretch frequently, at least every three to four hours. Also, make sure to stay hydrated.
So if you’re debating whether or not to schedule a stopover into your traveling plans, consider how it can benefit your health. With a stopover, you’ll have plenty of time to move your limbs and get your blood flowing again.
Air on a plane is dry and dries out mucous membranes, which makes it difficult for them to trap germs. The longer you are in a plane, the greater your exposure to germs. It’s smart to bring hand sanitizer with you on your flight and don’t touch what you don’t need to.
Germs are yet another reason to take a break and step out of the plane. Wouldn’t it be nice to breathe some fresh air after sitting on a plane for four or more hours anyway?
Keeping blood clots and germs in mind, you may also want to consider upgrading to business class if you’re able. Business class often offers lie-flat seats and better service all-around than economy class, helping you keep your health in check regardless of how many hours you’re flying. You’ll have a much easier time staying hydrated and nourished, and you’ll have more room to move around.
When it comes to flying, an upgrade might be worth it.
Traveling with the kids? You’ll welcome a stopover with open arms! It can be hard for the little ones to sit still for hours on end and a stopover gives them a chance to use up some of their energy.
Because your stopover will likely be in a major city, you can take advantage of the multitude of museums, shops and other fun stops with your family. Book a stopover in London to take the kids to Kew Gardens where they can walk along a treetop walkway or see through the eyes of a bird . Have a stop in Amsterdam? The kids might love the NEMO science museum where there are a ton of interactive and educational activities to engage their minds . It’s the perfect break to the monotony of a plane ride.
A stopover will provide a much-needed breather when flying great distances. When it’s time to reboard the plane again, you and your family will feel rejuvenated and you’ll have a lot of fun memories to take home with you. Your kids will thank you for it!
A stopover not only gives you the chance to indulge your curiosities and your senses, but it also provides some time to catch up on work in a place that stimulates your mind and creativity.
Get off the plane to stretch and catch up on emails or virtually attend a meeting. Any business you need to conduct can be accomplished much easier on the ground in a quiet café or hotel room than in the air with a stiff neck.
Another reason to use a stopover for taking care of business? Traveling to new places is not only an excuse to have a good time, but it’s also great for your brain and can increase productivity!
Studies show that adapting to foreign cultures promotes creativity and facilitates idea flexibility . This is because new experiences that engage the senses light up different synapses in the brain and create more pathways for creativity. A flexible brain is a creative brain, and travel to foreign places forces you to adapt and be flexible. Imagine the “yoga” stretches your brain will endure with each new city it has to process!
Use the search tool Workfrom to help you find great places to work that have Wi-Fi and comfortable working spaces in any city of your choice. This may also help you decide where and when to plan for a stopover.
Some great cities to pick as a stopover city because of access to coffee shops and work-friendly environments include:
There are also plenty of locations with comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi throughout other top business cities like Paris, London and Dubai.
Why not enjoy a frothy mug of café on your way to Hong Kong? It’s more refreshing to people-watch from a sun-drenched terrace than on the side of an airplane aisle.
There are over 738 million people on the European continent and a commercial plane can hold as few as 20 people or as many as 900. You can choose your friends wisely exploring a place off the plane because there are simply a lot more people to choose from!
So it’s ok if you got seated next to someone who could talk about their pet chinchilla for eight hours straight. You had planned a stopover destination, so you’ll only have to hear about Georgie the chinchilla for four hours. Perhaps in the streets below, in a 15th-century pub in Budapest, a new buddy awaits you with pint of porter in hand.
And if you’re feeling a tad homesick, why not use a stopover as a chance to reconnect, too? You can share your exciting experience with friends and family in the privacy and comfort of a hotel room or you can carry them with you on your phone as you stroll the city streets. Maybe you can even watch the sun set over a castle with your sweetheart, thousands of miles away.
You know you want to add a stopover to your itinerary. There are just so many amazing places on this planet to see, and life is far too short not to experience the riches of culture and natural wonder this world has to offer.
Multi-city flights can save you money while allowing you to enjoy the unique qualities each city has to offer — but what airlines offer stopovers and where do they stop? Let’s take a look at a few airlines that typically offer stopovers:
Want to make a stop in Helsinki and check out the sea fortress Suomenlinna or taste a pancake-like blini on your way to Beijing?
Consider talking to your travel specialist about booking a flight with Finnair as they offer a stopover in Helsinki for up to five days. The trick is you, might have to book mid-week to take advantage of the offer.
If you fly with Icelandair, which stops in 37 different European destinations , you can spend up to five days exploring Reykjavik and the surrounding areas. Visit the waterfalls, lagoons and natural springs of Iceland or just spend some time taking in Iceland’s breathtaking beauty.
There are reasons why Iceland ranks number three in the United Nation’s World Happiness Report. Curious to find out why? A stopover may be your chance.
Enjoy free stopovers in Amsterdam through KLM — both to and from your destination.
With dozens of world-class museums and a backdrop that could bring out the romantic painter in anyone, why not pay a visit to one of the greatest cities in the world?
If you’re already traveling to one of KLM’s many destinations, from London to Cape Town, consider adding a stop to the city of canals and coffee shops.
Japan Airlines (JAL)
If you’re planning a trip to Japan, Japan Airlines offers stopovers in cities such as Tokyo or Osaka. Speak with a JAL representative or your travel agent to see what your options are and to help you plan your trip.
Tokyo is a city worth experiencing. It ranks number eight on the IESE Business School’s Cities In Motion Index, meaning it ranks high on important factors such as technology and economy. It’s a city that’s growing fast and embraces change and sustainability — wouldn’t it be exciting to experience the energy of Tokyo firsthand?
Traveling through Panama to reach your destination? Consider flying with Copa Airlines for a stopover in Panama free of charge . The offer only applies before ticket purchase, so make sure you know all the rules first.
From museums to ancient ruins and local fish markets, rainforests replete with waterfalls and beaches surrounded by aquamarine water, Panama offers an abundance of culture and natural beauty.
When purchasing a ticket or planning a trip with your travel agency, you can add multiple cities to your flight. Check out the Ticketsroundtheworld.com online travel planner to make it easy to add stops to your itinerary. Worried about cost? Talk to your travel agent about booking with a budget airline. Using a budget airline can save you a lot of money and there are plenty to choose from.
One example of a budget airline is EasyJet in the U.K., which hops around Europe . Another airline like LAN might be a good choice if you want to explore South America . The travel experts at Ticketsroundtheworld.com can help you build an itinerary that’s satisfying and economical.
From the majestic seaside cliffs of Scotland to the jaw-dropping New Zealand wilderness, this planet is a treasure chest overflowing with colorful cultural jewels. The greatest part? The riches are for all of us to share and enjoy if we know where to look and if we plan carefully.
So if you’ve always dreamt of wandering among the shadows of Angkor Wat, but you have just as much desire to catch the full moon cast a glow on the pyramids of Giza, you know now that you may not have to decide between the two.
Don’t hesitate to speak to your travel specialist about booking a stopover on your next trip. The cities of the world await!