Why Long Layovers? 3 Important Reasons

It seems like people always search for the most direct route to their destination. No one likes to wait. Direct routes make sense if you are in a time crunch. It works just fine if your travels are short and sweet, and great if you are a single traveler. But let’s face it, almost every traveler will experience some kind of layover en route to their destination. Once we hear “long layover”, we cringe at the thought.

I, personally, enjoy long layovers. Why long layovers? Let me give you 3 important reasons. But first, let’s go over what exactly is a layover.

What is a Layover?

The most basic dictionary meaning of layover is “a period of rest or waiting before a further stage in a journey”. Layovers are usually connections between flights. They can be as short as 30 minutes and as long as 23 hours depending on the travel itinerary.

Time to Catch Your Next Flight







The first important reason for a long layover is to ensure that you have time to catch your next flight. I highly suggest that when booking a travel reservation with multiple flights that you try to schedule at least 3 hours in between each flight most especially when traveling internationally and/or having to change airlines.

A long layover will give you time to disembark the aircraft, pass all immigration lines, claim any check-in bags, get through customs, locate the check in counter for your next flight, get through TSA security, and locate your next departure gate. A long layover will allow you to do all of this in good time with less hurry and with more ease.

Time to Stretch Out

The second important reason for a long layover is that it gives you time to physically stretch out. This is especially important with travelers with children of all ages. A long layover can bring respite to the entire family from being cooped up sometimes for too many hours in an airplane. During a long layover, you are able to freshen up and recoup yourself for the next flight. Utilize the many restrooms and sometimes shower rooms available at the airports. Many international airports might have areas where you can take a nap and rejuvenate.

Layovers also give you time to catch up on your texts, messages and emails because many airports offer free WiFi service. You can have time to download movies to watch on your next flights. You can make phone calls to tie any loose ends that may need to be made.

Enjoy the Surroundings

The third important reason for a long layover is that you can enjoy the surroundings of a place that you might not have ever visited or will ever visit again. If you have an extra long layover of more than 4 hours you might be able to go outside of the airport and do a little sight seeing. Think of it as an added ultra mini vacation. All you have to do is plan ahead if you know that you’ll be having a long layover. Research things to do near the airport.

If you aren’t adventurous enough to explore outside of the airport, then take in the scenery at the airport. Some airports have museums and exhibits and gardens that you can enjoy. Or you can just take long walks around and just get lost in the hustle and bustle of the airport. If you’re like me, grab a cup of coffee or two and just people watch. It’s also time to eat a good meal and maybe indulge in something authentic to the area that you are in. Then, there’s also all the duty-free shopping you can enjoy.

Whichever you choose to do, just simply enjoy the moment.


So, there you go….3 Important Reasons for Long Layovers.

Sure you can always book the most direct flights to your destinations and rush on through your travels. OR you can enjoy your travels even more and be a citizen of the world by engrossing yourself in the places you travel through and embrace the moments and make even better memories.

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20 Replies to “Why Long Layovers? 3 Important Reasons”

  1. I feel like this article will help relieve a lot of peoples frustration with layovers. While it is always nice to get to your destination quickly, I personally don’t mind the layovers as it adds to the travel experience. I really like your three perspectives on this topic as they certainly have merit. What is your absolute favourite thing to do when you have a layover?

    1. I just absolutely love having a cup of coffee and people watch for hours at a time. Other than that I just enjoy walking around and just absorbing everything that I can in a new environment.

  2. Very great post and surely worth reading. Often times, we engage in layovers but we dont seem yo know the major reasons for it but having expatiated better here, it can be well understood. To say the truth, this is great and I will put all these into considerations when preparing for my next flight. Thumbs up

  3. Hello Geri!

    While I flied by plane only two times in my life, I find layovers useful for travelers as long as they need some rest (instead of rushing excessively), and then having layovers may also help us see, notice, know more things about what’s happening around us, in the new place we are in.

    As for concrete cases of travelling by plane, this extra time includes airport formalities too, of course. But speaking in general, layovers help people know something more about the places they are visiting or transiting. By example, instead of going “fast forward” towards another destination, you may take your time for visiting some meaningful objective in the neighborhood, or making the acquaintance of other travelers / local people. Like you said: enjoying the surroundings. And thus getting to have more memories from the ride. And sometimes being too rushed can even make us look suspicious, especially nowadays when the world has so many reasons to fear. Layovers leverage journeys!

    Speaking of rides, I am more used to walking on foot, there were also some looong distances within a relatively short timespan, however I had some layovers as well… they were really needed. Layovers can help us finish the travel well!

    Best regards,


  4. Hello, Thanks for this timely post; at least it made me see the necessity for long layovers. I will be flying out of Minneapolis and have a 3 hours layover in
    Portland and also another layover in San Francisco that lasts 1 hour and
    26 minutes that will then later depart to Auckland, New Zealand.

    Thanks again. 


  5. There is nothing, so nerve wracking as finding that your layover is too short,to collect your luggage, clear all the administrative hurdles, and get to the check in counter, in time to check in to your next flight.

    The better option, is what we did travelling, from Johannesburg to New Zealand,via Sidney in Australia,We deplaned in Sydney, at Eight o’clock in the morning,collected our luggage,and only checked in to the New Zealand flight, at six in the evening,so we had the whole day to relax,have meal,and walk around the airport,before checking in for our next flight.

    We weren’t able, to leave the airport, as it was a strange city, but we could watch the aircraft,arrive and leave,and do some people watching, which I find a fascinating pastime,all the different nationalities,speaking strange languages,we first saw Maori people, waiting to catch their flights home,they were so different from us.

    We were able, to check out the duty free shops,with their,good prices,but we were a little strapped for cash,so we didn’t buy anything.

  6. Hi Geri,

    I personally don’t mind layovers all that much. Like you stated in your article, it gives you the time to physically stretch. When I’m seated for hours on end, I just NEED to move for a bit. A layover is the perfect opportunity to do just this. Not only that, but I usually go ahead and eat something at a random restaurant of sorts. Even though I don’t get to see a lot of the environment, it’s still a small trip within a larger trip. Great article!

    Have a great day!

  7. I used to not like long layovers but after reading your post I think I am persuaded to embrace them. I considered the problem of finding your next flight if the layover was short but I know some airports are either confusing or so spread out that a short layover could be a problem. The other suggestions about stretching out or sightseeing could make a long layover seem less like a hassle or can give you time to find your next gate.

  8. Hey Geri

    Flying from New Zealand to Israel for a friend’s wedding, the long haul had a four hour stop over in Bangkok, then another long haul to Tel Aviv and with great relief the Layover* was a godsend, massages, stretches, a bit of conversation and shopping. Yes definitely research and plan your overseas excursion with a layover in mind, its important to fly with less stress holistically.

    Thank you for a informative article, much pleasure 🙂

  9. Great article Geri! While we want to get to where we’re going fast, it is best to build in time between flights. The biggest for me is making the next flight. If your first flight departs late, you and/or you bags may not make it on the next flight. I’ve had this happen before.

    Even when I have time, I’ll find my gate right off then go eat, look around, or whatever else I have time for.

  10. Hey there! Really enjoyed this, I always dread long layovers, but thanks to your three reasons, I will approach them now with a new perspective. I usually don’t like to leave the airport especially if it’s in a big city I’ve never been to before, but I like the idea of taking time to stretch out and potentially enjoy what the airport has to offer. You’re right, there usually is a lot that goes unnoticed by busy travellers!

  11. Any traveler would agree with me that some things are just developed in a normal way without the normal planning and all and it is simply a truth that cannot be ignored. This is great and I will say that I found it worthy. Taking layovers could be good and especially a great way to maintain the sanity rather than just being seated for longer in a plane without addressing anyone in particular. Hence, these reasons are genuine and well written on

  12. Exactly the right information you have written here on this post and I must say that this is well written. Having a long layover may be the perfect opportunity to catch the sleep or to just rest well enough so that we can stay refreshed all through the journey. Also, we can use the moment to explore and also stretch the body rather than stay inactive for that long. Great one.

  13. To be honest, I have been engaging in long distance travelling for quite a while and I have never for once given more considerations to my layovers. It just does not seem okay enough to think about. Well! having read this, I will give more considerations and thought to planning my layovers well. This is great. 

  14. Hi, Geri,

    Most travelers, myself included, prefer direct flights, although it’s not always possible to take one. More often than not, we have to take connecting flights out of necessity since they’re cheaper.

    I think time is an important factor to consider. If it’s not too much of a difference, then go for a direct flight if possible. But that’s just me.

    Although you provided some valid points above, I must confess. Thanks for sharing.

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