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How To Make The Most Of A 24-Hour Layover

2020 is a leap year and we all know what that means, one extra day to spend at home, work, on holiday or wherever you see fit. Even though it might not seem like that long a period of time, a lot can happen in a day.

You can fly to the other side of the world (Sydney) from London in just short of 23 hours, you can walk the distance a marathon three times, you can cycle from Miami to Key West in Florida, or you can explore somewhere completely new during a 23 hours and 59 minutes layover.

A layover is essentially a connection between in-direct flights. You can choose to stay in the airport and wait, or discover a brilliant city. This can be a very powerful aspect to your travels as it allows you to experience another place along the way to your final destination.

Choose your layover city carefully

To make the most of a 24-hour layover, choose a city with a centrally located airport or one that has great transport links, as otherwise, your transfer will be eating into your valuable time.

To avoid any nasty surprises, before you choose your layover destination, it's worth doing a little research to find out if you'll need to purchase a visa before booking your flight.

Popular cities that are perfect for layovers include:

  • Amsterdam: A direct railway line connects Schiphol International Airport with Amsterdam Central Station, so you can be in the heart of the action within 20 minutes. From here, you'll be in the prime position to hop on a canal tour, visit the Anne Frank House or museums like the famous Van Gogh museum and Rijksmuseum, or find a nice cafe or restaurant to grab a drink and a bite to eat.

  • Reykjavik: The Flybus service will get you to Reykjavik from Keflavik International Airport in around 45 minutes, where you'll be able to see cultural landmarks or enjoy a whale watching tour. Other options include visiting the major attractions of the Golden Circle sightseeing route, or heading to the Blue Lagoon Spa.

  • Dubai: Take the metro and you'll reach the city centre in approximately 40 minutes. Split your time between shopping within the various malls and souks, admiring glitzy skyscrapers like the Burj Khalifa, and glimpsing at the desert on a 4x4 tour.

  • Bangkok: The Airport Rail Link city line will take you directly to Makkasan Station in about 35 minutes. Be sure to visit the Grand Palace, ride the BTS Skytrain and take a cruise along the Chao Praya River.

  • Singapore: You'll be able to transfer between the airport and the city centre within half an hour if you take the Metro. Popular tourist hotspots here include the beautiful Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands.

Plan your own travel itinerary

The countdown is on. You've landed and now got less than 24 hours to roam around before heading back to the airport for your next flight. What do you do first? Plan.

From transfers to food and activities, if you want to make the most of your layover you should make a list of everything you would like to do there, e.g. maybe there's a specific attraction you're dying to see, or you a friend has raved about a particular dish and you're keen to try it for yourself.

At the very least, you should plan to visit 2-3 landmarks or museums, walk around the city, stop off for a drink, dine at around 2 restaurants and visit the gift shop to collect a souvenir.

Store your luggage at the airport

You can choose to check your luggage to your stopover location or all the way to your final destination, but cabin luggage stays with you. Rather than carrying it around, why not utilise the left luggage service? This means that, for a fee, you can store your carry on bag securely and collect it at a later time.


Have you ever explored a new city in less than a day? Tweet @icelollyholiday and let us know how you got on and if you'd do it again!


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author bio Rae