We are inaugurating a new section that will go under “travel” which will be dedicated exclusively to getting the most out of your layover.
I have to admit it: I am the type of traveler that is willing to have a 9 hour layover if that’s going to save me 50 dollars on a flight. At first I would end up very annoyed about spending 5 hours in an airport doing nothing and wishing I wasn’t so cheap. Things changed, though, the first time I had a really long layover and took advantage of it by spending 4 hours in Chicago and seeing the city for the first time ever.
My actual layover in Chicago was much longer of course, somewhere around 7 hours, but you always spend a lot of time going through customs, baggage claim, transportation to city center and back, etc. Over the years, I had the opportunity to make some express visits to cities like Warsaw, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen and Mexico City, among others.
Sometimes I even choose flights that have a long layover just to be able to see a new city. I was recently booking a flight from Medellin to Havana over the phone, and the lady from Aeromexico asked me three times if I was sure I wanted to book a flight with a 12 hour layover in Mexico City. Yes, I was. It initially looked like a bad idea, though. Mostly because of Mexico City’s infamous traffic and the possibility of barely getting to see the city and missing our flight. Everything, however, turned out better than expected.
– Flights with layovers (especially long ones) are way cheaper than direct ones
– You get to visit a new city that you might have never visited otherwise
– If done with proper research, you can focus on the best places to visit/eat
– If you have friends/family living there, you totally hit the jackpot
– You are running everywhere. You have so many things to see in very little time
– Endless lines at customs. That can ruin your plans
– Not having someone to show you around and missing out on cool stuff to see/do
These articles will not be “the ultimate guide to [insert city name here]” but more like a summary of our long layover experiences around the world, what we did, what we did not do, and what we wish we would have done. This will hopefully help you next time you are getting off a plane with no plans other than walking around the terminal looking for a free wifi-spot.