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How To Book Flights With Longer Layovers

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Since layovers are an almost unavoidable element of foreign travel, many passengers have a few hours to pass in an airport between flights. While these layovers may be inconvenient, lengthier layovers (think 9 hours or more). Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to book flights with longer layovers.

Adding a long layover (also known as a stopover) between flights is one of the simplest methods to see more of the world in one trip, and it doesn’t require you to be an experienced world traveler.

Why Would You Want to Include a Lengthy Layover?

Modern airport terminal interior with travelers and directional signs, showcasing contemporary design and efficient layout.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Few things are more frustrating for travel enthusiasts than rushing through a destination you’d otherwise like to see. Adding a long layover to your flight is simple if you have enough time and flexibility on international flights.

You get to travel to a different location instead of being detained in an airport for 8+ hours. There are also other advantages…

A long layover breaks up throughout the trip and can even help with jet lag. A stopover flight is often less expensive than a straight trip.

And, rather than reserving everything on one ticket, you might be able to save even more money by creating your schedule.

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What Are The Many Forms of Extended Layovers?

Bustling Shopping Area at Liberia International Airport, Costa Rica.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

An extended layover is typically available in various forms (as well as lengths). A layover enforced by the airline, which means you’ve purchased one ticket and included a layover in the schedule, is one sort of long layover.

The layover could be as short as a few hours or as long as a day or more in these circumstances. Select an itinerary that includes a long stopover on the same ticket to take advantage of this type of layover.

Take that Boston to Sydney flight, for example; even though shorter flights are available, you could take a flight with a 19-hour stopover in Hawaii if you wanted to!

Another common sort of stopover is one that you arrange by purchasing two separate tickets.

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How To Plan A Long Layover Between Flights And Book It

In this example, we’re going to search flights at Skyscanner and search for your final destination. Assume you’re flying from New York City to London. You never know if you’ll be able to stop in Iceland on your way there or back.

If your travel dates are variable, but you know you want to go in May, start by looking for flights to and from London. Then look for flights to and from Iceland to see when they’re cheap flights. Some flights also offer free stopovers.

Move on to a multi-city search once you’ve identified the best fares across the Atlantic dates. You’ll need to conduct three separate searches:

  • You could do NYC to Iceland, Iceland to London, London back to NYC
  • Or you could do NYC to London, London to Iceland, Iceland back to NYC

Play about with the order and dates to find the finest possible combination! Skiplagged Flights neatly organizes this to see the flight price for two or more different tickets at a glance, but you may need to purchase through multiple websites to avoid extra cost.

You might also arrange a low-cost open-jaw trip (for example, from NYC to London and then back to NYC) and then schedule a separate flight (or rail) from London to Paris.

See Related: Best Day to Book Flights: Is Tuesday the Cheapest?

How Long Should You Allow For a Layover?

If you only have a short stopover, consider whether going outside the airport is worth it. In general, leaving the airport necessitates at least a 9-hour layover, though this varies by airport. Consider the following factors when determining the time you’ll need for a layover.

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Will You Have To Go Through The Immigration Process? 

Clearing immigration can take up to two hours, especially at busier airports, assuming it goes smoothly. It would be best to clear immigration whenever you enter a new state, though occasional exceptions exist while traveling within the Schengen Area.

The Schengen Area is in Europe and is the largest visa-free zone in the world. For example, suppose you’re flying from Paris to New York with a stopover in Zurich. You won’t have to go through immigration because you’re flying from one Schengen country (France) to another (Switzerland).

If you started in Dubrovnik, you’d have to go through immigration in Zurich during your layover because you’d be flying from a non-Schengen country (Croatia) to a Schengen country (Switzerland). 

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How Long Do You Think It Will Take You To And From The Airport? 

You’ll need to figure out how easy it is to get from the airport to the city ahead of time. Cities with good public transportation (like Amsterdam and London) make traveling easier, but you’ll have to check for traffic delays if there isn’t one.

It’s not a good idea to return to the airport by bus during rush hour. But be careful in these choices! In a city with good public transport, it doesn’t necessarily mean getting through the airport will be easy.

Let’s use Amsterdam and London again. If you’re flying into Amsterdam, it’ll be at Airport Schiphol. If you’re flying into London, there’s a good chance you’re flying into Heathrow. Schiphol’s train station is practically at your feet after you’ve claimed your luggage.

At Heathrow, however, you’ve got a significant walk ahead before you even get to immigration!

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How Long Will It Take To Get Through Security at the Airport

Allow at least 2-3 hours before the booking flights to return to the airport, recheck your luggage (if necessary), go through security, and locate your gate. If you’re traveling from New York to Istanbul with an 8-hour layover in London Heathrow, here’s how it works.

Although immigration is normally quite quick, this airport is one of the largest in the world, so expect huge lines. Heathrow provides baggage storage, but because you’ve checked your luggage all the way through, you won’t need to set aside time to store and retrieve it. Allow 2 hours for preparation.

Fortunately, once you finally reach the station, the Heathrow Express operates non-stop every 15 minutes to Paddington Station in Central London. The journey takes only 15 minutes but allows for 30 minutes.

Remember you must return to Heathrow at least two hours before your flight. This will allow you to get through security and reach your gate quickly. Tack on around 2 hours Plus. Total time: 4.5 hours, but if you’re extra cautious, add another hour to accommodate delays.

There are now 3 hours left to explore London. Crikey. Suppose you arrive at a different London airport, such as Stansted.

In that case, you’d have to allow for an even lengthier direct train journey (up to an hour), further reducing your time in London to the point where staying at the airport might seem less unpleasant. It all depends on how you want to use your free time.

Don’t forget to consider the time of day as well. For example, if your layover is between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city, but a layover between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. is a different story.

You may want to choose a daytime stopover unless you’re using it to break up two long flights, crash at a hotel, and start fresh the next day.

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Things To Think About While Picking a Layover City

Before you hurry out to get the fantastic flight deals, bear the following in mind:

Ensure That The Destination Is Easily Accessible From The Airport Security

You’ll want to ensure you can easily navigate the town using public transportation, as in London or Amsterdam. If it’s a little airport on the outskirts of town, getting there will likely be tough, and you’ll waste a lot of time (and money) getting there.

Think Of Destinations Where Long Layovers Are Encouraged

For example, the ones listed above offer complimentary excursions or motels to assist you in saving money during your long layover.

Select Destinations Where A Visa Is Not Required

Check to determine if you’ll need a visa. You can get a transit visa expressly for the stopover in some circumstances, such as Doha, but you’ll want to avoid places like Russia, which demand an expensive visa.

Think About How The Stopover Will Fit Into The Rest Of Your Journey

Do you want to stop in frigid Frankfurt and have to haul about a bunch of extra cold-weather gear if you’re planning a winter trip to Thailand’s beaches?

Have A Plan For Your Bag

Have A Plan For Your Bag

If your stopover is longer than a day, you can check your bag or pick it up during your layover. Unless you’ve made separate bookings, you may have to collect your luggage after the first flight or leave them checked if the layover isn’t a full day and you’ve booked on one ticket.

If traveling with your bags on a shorter connection, ensure the airport has luggage storage. You don’t want to be sightseeing while lugging a large bag down cobblestone streets.

If the airport does not provide luggage storage, look for a nearby hotel or hostel that will store your belongings for a cost.

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How To Book Flights With Longer Layovers?

How Do You Book Long-Layover Flights

All dislike long layovers since everyone wants to go to their destination without having to wait at the airport or for connecting flights.

However, the situation does not always remain the same, as you may consider taking stopover flights to have enough time to visit a certain destination.

It might be a lot of fun because you’ll be able to see new sights and attractions. Several airlines provide lengthy layover flights, and you can easily book them by following the simple steps below. If you don’t know how to book, follow the instructions.

To schedule a flight with a long layover, follow these steps:

Make a Travel Itinerary

Before booking your flight, establish a travel itinerary that includes where you want to fly and where you want to stop along the way. You can research that location and then calculate how much time you’ll need to see all the attractions there.

Look For A Round Trip

After planning your vacation, you may look for a flight and round-trip flights to find the greatest discounts. With the round-trip search, you may also investigate every aspect of your journey.

Select The Best Flight With A Long Layover

Select The Best Flight With A Long Layover

You can choose the best flight from the list of stopover flights after selecting your city. You can get the benefit of visiting the city with low fares.

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Make Your Flight Payment

You may now complete your payment for the selected lengthy layover flight using your preferred payment method. You can also use a discount code or take advantage of special offers during checkout.

You can have flights with long layovers to various destinations quickly and easily using the outlined techniques. However, you can contact the customer support team directly if you have difficulties booking long layover flights or have other questions.


When flying, what does it mean to have a layover?

A stopover means you’ll have to change planes to reach your final destination when flying. A connecting flight is also known as a stopover flight. When booking a layover trip, you agree to the plane stopping en route and the passengers’ changing flights and services.

A non-stop and direct flight is never complete without mentioning a stopover flight. A layover flight consists of multiple flights, also known as connecting. If the plane you’re on is flying directly to your destination, there’s no need to change planes during a layover trip.

Why are flights with a layover less expensive?

In general, layover flights are less expensive than direct and non-stop flights. The reasons for this logic are numerous. In theory, a layover flight is a more reliable and cost-effective airline system because it reduces the danger of non-stop routing with unreliable passenger demands.

It also allows airlines to employ smaller planes and avoid using larger aircraft while covering long-distance flights. Instead, airlines can fly shorter itineraries with smaller, more crowded planes.

What happens if I don’t make my layover flight?

You have two options if you are unable to catch your stopover flight. The first option is if you miss your flight. When you miss a flight, the airline will assist you in rebooking another flight; however, the airline is under no duty.

You’ll also have to pay the flight change charge and, if applicable, the fare difference. The second option is to miss a flight due to an airline error. If you miss a layover flight due to the airline’s error, the airline will rebook you on another trip at no cost. If you can book another ticket for the following day, the airline will additionally provide you with lodging.

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