Traveling is delightful and exciting. It’s simply a wonderful experience that allows you to explore the world. Travel expenses can be a bit of drain on your budget. There’s nothing better if you manage to keep your travel expenses within limits and save some money in the process.
If you are flying to a long-haul international destination then you can choose to book flights with layovers. It has its own advantages and helps you save significantly. But, before you do so it’s quite important that you should understand the difference between a layover and a stopover. The two terms seem similar to the passengers and often misunderstood, but are quite different.
Layover vs. Stopover
A layover essentially means any connection between flights. This may be of a short stop of 30 minutes (for domestic destinations) or can be long of up to 24 hours for international flights. This term is used by the airline crew slightly differently. They essentially consider it to be an overnight stay.
A stopover can be a layover, though it can be a much longer stop, often involving a second destination as part of a multi-stop itinerary. For domestic destinations, a stopover typically qualifies for connecting flights lasting longer than four hours. However, when traveling to an international destination a stopover for connecting flight lasts longer than 24 hours.
Advantages of flights with layovers
For many layovers can be often seen to be a worrisome part of their air travel because of the time wasted at the airport for the connecting flight. But it has its own benefits and advantages too, particularly when a layover is for a longer duration. Here how to take advantage of flights with a layover.
Flights with a Short Layover
Most travelers prefer to book a flight with short layover because of the tighter schedule, while saving money in the process. Your overall travel time is considerably reduced, and it’s easier to get in and out. Flights with short layover are mostly preferred by businesspersons or those having strict timelines.
Other travelers may consider short layovers to be ideal because they will have to spend less time waiting for their connecting flight at the airport and utilize the waiting time for doing something that they wanted to do. If your connecting flight is delayed and arrives too late or is cancelled then it becomes the responsibility of the airline to provide accommodation and provide you the next available flight. This means that you will be offered vouchers for meals, provided overnight accommodation in a nearby hotel, and transportation to and from the airport.
Many frequent flyers, who already know the benefits of layovers, have been observed purposely scheduling their flights so close together that making to the connecting flight isn’t possible at all. This proves to be beneficial for them as they are able to score few free hours or get an overnight accommodation in a city of their choice. This provides them a great opportunity to visit a city that they might have not seen before with the time they have.
Things to do in a Long Layover
What will you do when your flight is of a long layover? Irksome, isn’t it. At first instance, it seems that long layovers are real pain for travelers. Just imaging the hassles you might have to go through when stuck up in such a situation. After landing you will have to get off the plane, go through security once again, transfer your baggage if necessary, and sit for longer hours waiting to catch your next flight. It’s a real headache, and becomes even more severe when the connecting flight gets delayed or canceled.
Spending time at the airports doing nothing is terrible. The simple reason is that airports aren’t interesting places at all. During a long layover you will have enough time to yourself to do something exciting. You can make the most of your long layover by visiting your friends or family when stopping off in a city on way to your final destination. This is also a good time to socialize by enjoying a meal or a cup of coffee with the people you might be meeting with.
Long layovers are quite fruitful for those on a business trip. This is perfect opportunity for you to arrange a quick meeting with your business associates in the city en route while you are waiting for your connecting flight.
For other travelers long layover can prove to be a boon. They will get an opportunity to explore the city, visit nearby attractions or sample local cuisines in a nearby restaurant. All these can be done only when you have a long layover of 24 hours or more. This is how in which you will be able to take advantage of long layovers as well.
How to handle Overnight Stay
A long layover of 24 hours and above usually comes with an overnight stay. If you are facing a similar situation then what will you do then. Many travelers have been noticed scheduling their connections so far apart that an overnight stay is compulsory for them in the city where flight has landed and from where they will be taking their connecting flight for onward journey.
This may seem more of a hassle to many because the same process will have to be repeated at the airport: getting out of the plane, passing through the security, transferring their baggage and waiting for the connecting flight. But, those who know the joys of a long layover handle the situation calmly, wisely and to their own advantage.
If you have a long layover of 14 hours and more then you will obviously want to get out of the airport and go for city exploration or sightseeing. You might also want to visit your friend or a relative staying in that city. This is possible only when you have an overnight stay during your layover. Moreover, the overnight stay is also welcome relief as you can effective tackle jet lag and travel fatigue. The biggest advantage of an overnight break is that you will reach your destination fully refreshed.
You will be able to save for yourself lot of time in customs lines when choosing your connecting airport wisely. A traveler recounting his experience said that while flying to Sweden he connected in Iceland where he had to go through customs and security line at Keflik airport, but on landing at Arlanda in Sweden he didn’t have to go through the security and customs line again. This was possible because the two countries had an agreement regarding this.
The Euro zone countries have travel agreements with each other, so connecting in one of the European countries before flying on to another EU-member is without any hassles. Even the United States and Canada have a travel agreement in place, and Canadian passport holders are offered priority treatment in U.S. airports. Travelers passing through Canadian cities can go through U.S. customs on the ground in Canada, which means they will be exempted from security and customs check at U.S. airports on landing.
You therefore require to do some research and see whether any of the airports you will be taking connecting flights belong to a country having a travel agreement with your final destination.