Long Layover? No Problem!
Let’s talk layovers. Long layovers to be precise. I’m starting to see the beauty of having a long layover. You can get a taste of a city on your way to a new one. This is another case study: a friend is going to Berlin, and she has a 16-hour layover in Iceland. This is cool because “V” can stay overnight and try to do an activity (maybe 2!) before leaving. I like this idea since I don’t really like flying long distances unless it’s a nonstop. I typically like to get there and off the plane as fast as possible. A long layover would mean I’d have to get back on the plane… and I don’t know if I like this idea. However, I haven’t tried this strategy yet, so I should reserve judgment.
To be perfectly honest, it had never occurred to me that if you have a long layover, you could leave the airport and not stay chained for 8+ hours. I know, I know, I’m a little late to the party on this, but I’m going to come up with some tips for what someone can do if they have a layover that lasts at least 6 hours or more. I also want to recommend some things V can do while she’s on her layover in Iceland.
5 Things To Do on an Extended Layover
If you’re stuck on a long layover, the no-duh idea is to take advantage of that city. You obviously need to plan this correctly too. I remember when Eric and I went to Italy, we had a layover in Amsterdam. I wanted to leave that airport SO bad, but our layover was only 2 1/2 hours, and it wasn’t feasible. We made do with exploring their really cool airport and buying some Amsterdam chocolate, but there was so much potential! Here’s my list of what you can do, V, my thoughts for you are in bold!
1.) Stay in a hostel over a hotel
Now I still have yet to try a hostel. I really want to but I honestly don’t think I would unless it was only for a night or two. I still have the clichéd idea of a hostel being rowdy and unclean. However, this is completely unfair to the hostels provide the exact opposite of this, and plenty of them that have great reviews all over the world. I know this because I’ve researched to stay at one and then found myself chickening out.
Staying at a hostel allows you to be more social. You can meet some other travelers, grab some drinks, and chill a little. A hotel doesn’t always allow for a social element since they tend to only have a lobby and a breakfast area… sometimes. Hostels have devoted common areas, dorm rooms and generally encourage people to mingle. Obviously, this is to everyone’s preference, and each hotel and hostel are different. Based on my research, this is what I have found to be true.
My Rec for V: I think she should stay at the Reykjavik Downtown Hostel in Iceland. They have great reviews and she could spend just $48.66 for a night.
2.) Go on a short tour
If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’d know that I’m a sucker for a good tour. I love them and will always try to do one if my budget/schedule allows. Any city is going to have a special element to it, so why not take advantage of the tours that will show you what makes this city exciting? It could be about food, drinks, or history, it just would allow you get out and about for a bit.
A great example is Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Delta’s hub is there and if you have a long layover, why not catch this cool Southern Food Tour that viator.com offers? It’s 3 1/2 hours and you could really luck out on some southern cooking you may not find anywhere else!
My Rec for V: Viator offers a roundtrip tour option to the Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland which she really wants to visit on her layover. It’s a tad bit pricey at $107.5, but it offers ground transportation to and from, flexible departure times, and entrance fees. I believe she lands at 1:30 PM, so she could check in at her hostel and get picked up at 3 PM. They do returns on the hour as well, so she could stay for a couple hours and leave at 6 or 7 PM. It should also be noted that it’s 41 miles one way to Blue Lagoon Spa.
3.) Eat at a local restaurant
Speaking of food, let’s say you don’t have time to take a food tour, but you’re stopping in New York City. If you haven’t been to New York, then I would recommend you go looking for the best pizza in NYC. New York is famous for having a great metro system and you could feasibly get into Manhattan and find the best pizza. I mean, everywhere in New York boasts great pizza, so I would recommend googling or using yelp.com for some options.
4.) See a famous site
In my hunt for flights to Germany, I still haven’t booked yet, but a lot of options have layovers in Paris. Now we’ve been to Paris, but that does not mean we would give up the opportunity to get out of the airport. On our last trip, we visited the Eiffel Tower but didn’t get to go up. I read so many blogs and travel sites that said if you’re trying to save money/time, it wouldn’t be worth it. However, it is a small regret of ours and I would really love to try and go up the Eiffel Tower next time we visit.
This is definitely an example of something you could try to do on your layover, seeing a monument, museum or site that you’ve always wanted to check out. Or maybe you go see something you may not normally seek out if you’re spending more time in that particular city. Every place has somewhere you haven’t seen yet, big and small.
5.) Meet up with friends/family
Now, I have family/friends in various cities as I’m sure we all do and wouldn’t it be awesome to see them during your layover? A familiar face sounds welcoming to me, especially if you’re going to a new place and you might be nervous. We did this in Italy when we met up with my cousin who showed us around Milan for 3 hours. It was perfect and so amazing to see a new city with someone we normally wouldn’t have seen! I think this is a perfect idea for a layover, and I’m sure that friend or family member would be thrilled to meet up even if you only have a couple hours.
Now all I have to do is book a flight with a layover and report back! I hope someone finds this list to be helpful, I’m definitely sold on all the possibilities for sure.
V, I hope you have a great time traveling and good luck with booking all your stuff, I’m here if you want to bounce ideas.