Most people tend to avoid booking flights with long layovers, as this is valuable time that could be spent on your vacation. Non-stop flights tend to be much more expensive, though, and for long-distance journeys they may not even be an option.Not only could you save money this way, but you could also spend the time exploring a city that you’ve never visited before or grabbing some bargains from the duty-free shopping malls. Here’s how to make the most of your time during a long layover.
Heading into the City
If you have enough time, you should consider heading into the city. Even if you’ve never considered visiting it beforehand, you might be surprised what you find and it may even turn out to be a place that you want to arrange a longer trip to in the future. Depending on where you’re staying, you may need six or more hours to comfortably explore the city while giving yourself enough time to catch your connecting flight.The Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is one of the most popular layover destinations in Europe, located just five miles from the main city itself. This handy guide from CitizenM locates all the nearby attractions. However, if you decide to do this, you should prepare for it beforehand. Not only do different countries all have different visa restrictions, but depending on your flight itinerary you may also need to give yourself an extra hour to grab your second boarding pass.
If you don’t have the time to leave the airport, you may want to consider which duty-free shopping stores are available. This can be a great way to save money on certain items. Make sure to research your own country’s duty-free exemption laws before you decide to stock up, though, as these can vary wildly.For instance, in the UK, travellers are allowed to bring an unlimited amount of most goods with them as long as they were bought in another EU country, whereas you’ll be limited to £390 in other overseas locations. Similarly, in the U.S.A., you are permitted to bring $800 worth of merchandise back. In both countries, however, numerous exceptions still apply, especially when it comes to goods like alcohol and cigarettes.
Checking into a Hotel
Finally, if you’ve just been on a long and particularly uncomfortable flight, it’s not surprising that you may not be feeling up for either of these options. If this is the case, consider checking into a nearby hotel and taking a short nap before your next flight. You’ll find that most major airports have several options nearby, as people catching early flights often prefer to stay the following night to ensure that they don’t miss their trip.You can use the Maps app included on your smartphone to check what hotels are close by and sites like lastminute.com to see if there are any cheap rooms available at the time. Occasionally, airports also include pay-per-access lounges where you can sleep, but these may be more expensive than your other options.