What if you could add another country to your itinerary with zero costs, and potentially lower your costs? What if you could do the most iconic trip in that country in just one day? On today’s episode we tackle a dirty word in travel – the dreaded LAYOVER – if this word strikes fear into your heart, stick around to find out how a layover can become the highlight of your trip.
#1 How to Use Layovers and When To Choose Them
Layovers can be a pain, but use them correctly and they can be a trip highlight. We would choose a layover with the following criteria:
- It’s not just an overnight layover
- There are no additional visa/documentation requirements (Check out our layover fails to see why we included this!)
- It is either very long or the airport is set up to allow for some exploration (ie: Qatar and Iceland)
- We have the time (our trip is more than a week long)
We had an amazing experience in our Iceland Layover where we got to travel the Golden Circle and even hang out in a “secret” lagoon. We skipped the more touristy hot springs in Iceland but on a return trip, we’d definitely be interested in checking them out.
#2 Success Stories and Fails
- Iceland is our #1 success story. It was actually my favorite country we visited on our 2017 trip (other countries on that trip were Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Budapest). We (self) toured the golden circle and spent about 15 hours driving around 300km on the first stop. Then on the return trip we got about 8 hours to check out Reykjavik, which included a cute farmer’s market, some amazing fish and chips and some really fun street art. A great way to spend a travel day!
- Our fail is definitely Qatar. We had an 8 hour layover and a booked excursion from the airport to check out some city highlights (a very popular thing to do from this airport). Unfortunately Bruce got COVID and while he was cleared for travel for Uganda, he would not have passed the PCR test that was required to enter Qatar. Unfortunately, that meant we had to cancel the tour and instead had to spend 8 hours lounging in an airport. Not ideal- especially after a 30 hour travel period.
#3 Our Next Attempt at an Amazing Layover
-Our next attempt at mastering the layover game will be an overnight stopover in Munich, Germany. I know we said no overnights but this one is slightly different. The flight lands at 5pm, plenty of time to do some nightlife in Munich, and it doesn’t leave the next day until almost 1pm, plenty of time to have a leisurely morning and get to the airport in time. The kicker? It’s New Year’s Eve! We’re so excited to add this extra little stint to our trip. Even better, by the time this podcast releases, we’ll have already gone!
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