The Art of the Long Layover

If you travel overseas, especially to Asia, you are bound to end up with a long layover at some point. I have had a couple long layovers so far and have learned that there is more to it than the cost of the plane ticket. Cost is important but also where you layover is important too! I have even built in a long layover on purpose so I can have a brief visit to a new place for the same amount of money (or miles) out of pocket!

Airports around the world have different amenities and options for things to do while you are waiting for your next flight. Every time I am looking at booking a flight I always consider long layovers if I can do something interesting with my time there. Here are a few examples:

  • Seoul (Incheon/ICN) - Probably my favorite layover airport. They have great airline lounges, a spa(!) in the basement (think hot tubs and massage!), and offer 2 hours and up to full day tours. You can also take the new train to the city for a day of sightseeing. Layovers here are a no brainer!
  • London (Heathrow/LHR) - A lot of flights through London coming from the USA can leave you with several hours to wait. Why not take the tube into London to see a few sites and have a meal?
  • Amsterdam (Schipol/AMS) - Same as London. Amsterdam is a great city to see by food and the short train ride to Centraal Station makes it easy. Go to Vondelpark, take the Heineken tour, or see the Van Gogh Museum. Great food everywhere!
  • Frankfurt (FRA) - Connecting to Asia via Europe at FRA can be great. Lufthansa has excellent lounges in the airport worth spending a layover to enjoy. Day trips to the city also possible.
These are just a few that I can personally vouch for. I have heard great things about Tokyo in Japan too but have yet to try it. Most of my layovers there were shorter 2-3 hour waits. Not much time for doing much else!

The next time you are faced with a long layover for substantially less money or miles do a little research on the city. You may find that you can have an extra fun stop on your trip! Out of all the long layovers I have been through I have yet to regret the decision!