How to Prevent Your Stop From Becoming a Waste

Anyone who has tried to book a flight in recent months has probably noticed that there is still little choice . Prices are high, flight times are limited and connections are lengthy. But what if you could use this long stop to your advantage – by briefly exploring a city you would never otherwise have visited. If you have the extra time and flexibility, turning your connecting flight into an alternate destination means you can see more and often pay less. Here’s how to plan your perfect long-term transplant.

The difference between a stopover, connecting flight and stopover

First of all, let’s talk about the terminology, because what is actually called this extra stop on your flight — be it a “transfer,” “connecting flight,” or “stopover,” is an important difference.

“Connection” is the short time that exists between flights booked as a set. To get on a connecting flight, you usually need to travel through the airport to a new plane that will take you to your next destination. Suspension is the same thing, and the terms are often used interchangeably. Waiting times for a transfer (or connecting flight) usually do not exceed 24 hours.

On the other hand, a stop is a stop that lasts more than 24 hours . If your flights are interrupted due to a stop, you will probably want to leave the airport and rent a hotel to rest before your next flight.

In general, it is always better to set aside more time to stop than less time. (If you don’t turn this stop into a mini trip, you should arrange for at least one hour between domestic flights and two to three if you are flying overseas.) This will help you save time if you are flying for the first time. the flight is slightly delayed, as is the time to navigate the airport between flights. But if you want to turn this into an extra mini getaway, a few hours’ stop or even a stopover is the way to go.

How to plan your mini vacation in advance

Time is the most important factor here. Plan the time it takes to navigate the airport, additional transportation time after leaving the airport, sightseeing times, rest, lunch and the time it will take you to get back through the airport and board your next flight. Be aware that depending on where you stay, you may have to return through customs or immigration.

It’s also important to check ahead of time for any additional regulations, especially those related to the pandemic. Some countries also require a transit visa in order to do sightseeing outside the airport even for a short time.

If you wish to extend a stop beyond the time indicated on your ticket, the airport may be willing to cooperate with you and change the flight – in fact, some airlines usually provide passengers with free stops . Each of them handles the process differently and allows you to make stops in specific countries or cities on your route. Check with your operator what is possible for you.

Another thing you need to think about is what to do with your luggage. For most connecting flights, the airline will automatically transport your baggage. However, this greatly depends on the carrier and flights. Plan to have everything you need in your carry-on baggage if the airline will handle your checked baggage for you.

There may also be options for storing the bulk of your luggage at the airport for a few hours (or longer) while you explore, but be sure to check in advance so you don’t have to lug around a few suitcases with you while you try to explore a new city.

Finally, express realistic expectations. This is not a complete vacation; you are going to get but taste the area. Pick one or two things that you will definitely love – for example, a landmark and a restaurant with the best local cuisine – as close to the airport as possible. Plan them, set aside some time for impromptu walks or shopping, and then head to your final destination.

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