Literally, don’t do a 24 hour layover. It takes a while to adjust to a new city and less than a day layovers don’t give you enough time! Instead, when I see these 8-24 hour layovers, I try to see if I can extend my trip for another day or two in layover city. This gives me more time to adjust to my surroundings, potentially get more sleep, keep things a little less hectic, and enjoy the city more.
But, the key word is “try”. Realistically, if the ticket is cheap enough, I just keep the layover, try to make the most of it, then regret not having more time after. If you still insist on doing this crazy layover too, here are some tips that help me better tackle them.
Even though you’re only here for a short period of time, still do your research and make sure you’re staying in a safe, easily accessible, and centrally located area. You don’t want to die, and you want to make sure you have enough time to do your things.
If you’re a super budget traveler, see if your airlines offers a free hotel. This was something I didn’t know about until my Korea trip via Asiana, and they do make it very hard to find information on this, so at least with them, you have to make sure to call way before your trip.
Also- make sure there’s an easy/affordable way for you to get to the city from the airport. I didn’t do this in Japan, and ended up taking an hour long, $70 train to the city. Worth it? Ehhhh.
Because of the time constraint, I personally find it hard to efficiently figure out what to do in a city. How do I make sure I’m seeing the things I would like the most? How do I make sure I’m planning for my time right?
These kinds of questions keep me up at night, so I will usually talk to a friend or look up a travel blogger who has similar tastes as mine to see what they would do if they only had X amount of time in Y city. These posts are everywhere!
Also, did you know some airports offer free tours?! If you’re not feeling in the going out on your own mood but still want to make the most of your time, see if the airport has free tours.
Because I hate carrying heavy things, I always see if layover airport has a luggage check before buying the ticket (you never know!), and then check my carry-on in to the luggage check.
Also, this is probably advice in general, but make sure you have emergency cash! There was one time I spent 2 hours of my 8 hour layover trying to get cash from the ATMs which weren’t taking my card and trying to get help from Wells Fargo (who suck. Who cancels your card without telling you or sending a replacement??) while being harassed by these guys from Kazakhstan.
And that’s it! For me, these are the key things that help make sure my layover trips are successful. What other things do you do??