When I first started traveling heavily, I always looked for direct flights or shortest routes and opted to pay more to get me to my destination swiftly with as little effort on my part as possible. As I’ve started to travel more, I find myself intentionally looking for longer flights with more layovers and I’ve come to love this strategy. Here’s why.
Scheduling flights with many layovers or a long layover not only gives you the chance to get up, stretch, sleep in a regular bed and take a nice hot shower but it also allows you to get a taste of a new destination without committing to it entirely. It sounds counterintuitive but stay with me for a second. Have you ever thought about going somewhere, but there are so many other places you’d rather see first that you just can’t commit to making it a full trip? This happens to me ALL the time. Scheduling a flight with a long layover–say 8-12 hours or even up to 24 hours allows you to experience a bit of the destination. You might discover that you definitely must visit again or that you’ve seen enough and you can cross it off your list, all the while saving money by booking a ticket with a longer layover as opposed to a shorter one.
Our last trip was centered around Australia and Indonesia, but when I was looking for flights I had discovered that the cheapest route was to fly through Japan on the way home with a layover of 14 hours. It was perfect. We took advantage of the Narita transit program (see my Narita Transit Program blog for more info) and got to spend the day in Japan taking in the local culture and visiting some historical sites in the area. We fell in love and know now that we MUST make a full trip to Japan for at least 2 weeks to do it any justice at all.
When planning this year’s Europe trip, I was torn between a 24 hour layover in Dublin or a 24 hour layover in Stockholm, Sweden followed by a 25 hour layover in Oslo, Norway. Ultimately we decided on the latter. We’ve heard from several people we’ve encountered on our trips that the Nordics are some of their favorite places and we’ve always wanted to go but living in a cold weather climate, we find it hard to commit to travelling to another cold weather climate when we’re in the mood for some sunshine. With these 2 short layovers, we’ll get to experience 2 countries first hand and see if it’s something we want to commit to or not.
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a no fuss direct flight to paradise. Other times loving your layover can mean falling in love with something much bigger. Get out an explore!