6 reasons why stopovers are cool!

MANY travellers do themselves a disservice by avoiding stopovers. Flying direct to your final destination may suite a tight schedule, but stopover opportunities offer some very real advantages that should demand close scrutiny prior to the finalization of any itinerary. Here’s why…

Two (or more!) holidays in one

This is the opportunity to visit and experience a country or city that’s not at the top of your bucket list but may just prove to be a surprisingly rewarding destination.

A stopover in Seoul, South Korea, fits the bill. A snappy visit to the world’s second largest metropolis offers historical architecture (visit Seoul’s traditional hanok village), a changing of the Royal guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace, outstanding cuisine in one of the world’s premier barbecue cultures, and a flourishing grass-roots art scene, prompting W Magazine‘s Mark Schatzker to report, “If there’s a city that can lay claim to the greatest number of art openings per square mile, it’s Seoul”.

Long intercontinental flights will almost inevitably be interrupted by a layover ranging from about an hour up to half a day or even overnight. It only makes sense to maximize your travel horizons by escaping the airport and enjoying the sights, smells and sounds of a new destination.

Gyeongbokgung Palace
Changing of the guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul

Breaking the journey

Intercontinental flights are a bit of a stretch and a yawn at the best of times. What better way to split the trip into two legs than a rejuvenating cloud-level interlude in a plush setting like Hong Kong’s Ritz-Carlton?

You could opt for a rushed massage and shower at the airport before hurriedly boarding your onward flight, but a much better option would be to relax in the lap of luxury at the world’s tallest hotel, the Ritz-Carlton! Kowloon’s 5-star skyscraper offers breathtaking views of the famous Hong Kong skyline, the world’s highest swimming pool, a thrilling bar scene and the ideal perch from where to watch Hong Kong’s nightly Symphony of Lights.

Whether you are pampered as a Ritz-Carlton club guest or stay at more modest digs near the Temple Street night market, your onward journey will be significantly easier with memories of a thrilling Hong Kong adventure to bolster your flagging holiday spirits.

Hong Kong
View from the Peak Tower over Hong Kong towards Kowloon

Acclimatizing to new time zones

Suffer from alterations in your circadian rhythms during rapid long-distance travel? Of course you do!

Jet lag is an unavoidable consequence of jetting around the world. However, canny travellers have long known that an intentional stopover of between 48 and 72 hours significantly reduces the negative effects of jet lag, making for a much softer landing upon reaching your final destination. A timely stopover is a sensible approach to adapting your body clock, leaving you rested and energised to explore your final destination.

Cutting down on cost

Many airlines value-add to their services in a competitive market by offering cheaper international travel and low cost or even free stopovers. Iceland Air kicks in with multi-day stopovers in Iceland at no additional airfare. Dubai Airlines often provide guests with free visa arrangements, airport transfers, hotel accommodation and even breakfast!

With these necessities seamlessly taken care of travellers can visit the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, for spectacular views of the Middle Eastern hub city, shop for gifts at the Dubai Mall, browse jewellery displays at the Gold Souk or enjoy a cocktail overlooking the glorious Burj Al Arab.

Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of such an opportunity!

Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall has one of the largest aquarium viewing panels in the world

Equivalent of a travel ‘sampler’

A short stopover may have beneficial long-term travel implications. Viewing a stopover as a travel ‘sampler’, visitors will gain the exposure that might ignite a very real desire to return. Your stopover today could be your destination tomorrow!

Singapore is a critical transport hub, connecting cities from all over the globe. This makes it the ideal link between East and West, offering an easy introduction for the uninitiated Western traveller eager to explore the exotic delights of Asian cultures. And take this to the bank: once you’ve indulged in Nonya cuisine, you’ll never sate your hunger pangs until you’ve returned to feast on multicultural fusions such as Chili Crab, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Bak Kut Teh and Roti Prata!

Singapore, with its ethnic enclaves, lively entertainment scene, bird park and zoo, is also a good starting point for a trip into neighbouring Malaysia. These are the 5 reasons why Singapore is the best intro to Asia.

Tooth Relic Temple
Finding peace in Singapore’s Tooth Relic Temple in Chinatown

Stoke the excitement

We all know the feeling. The holiday is coming to an end; thoughts turn to the long journey home; going back to work; paying bills; rejoining the rat race – and a debilitating lethargy sets in, drifting in like a dark cloud to obscure the fun you should be having on your last few days in Vienna.

Don’t fear – a stopover is exactly what you need to scatter those storm clouds and lift you from your funk!

Having a new experience waiting for you on the way home will keep the fires of anticipation burning bright. Imagine stopping over in Iceland on a transatlantic flight or exploring Kuala Lumpur transiting between Europe and Australasia. See how Kuala Lumpur dazzles! A travel panacea exactly when you need it most!

Contrast the stopover, whether it is culture, cuisine, landscape or even level of comfort, to gain the most from a funk-busting return journey.

Vienna City Hall
Vienna’s City Hall glowing like a beacon at dusk

Stopovers should be seen as a valuable part of most itineraries – one that will further expand your horizons, value-add to your trip and maximise your enjoyment! Say goodbye to interminable hours at the airport and start planning your next stopover!

4 comments

  1. I don’t think a stopover allows you to enjoy fully a destination. I was reading the other day a blog entry about Iceland, and the girl was saying “Iceland is wonderful, full of contrasts, people are so friendly” and she stayed less than 24 hours… for, i don’t think I’ll be able to enjoy that. I will leave me frustrated. And do you think you can see what Singapore is like if you only stay in Changi airport and look at the butterfly garden ? I don’t think it’s for me 🙂

  2. I enjoy a stopover but yes as you say, 48 to 72 hours. We did a stopover in Singapore 2 days 3 nights and LA 2 days and 3 nights. We would not have booked a holiday to either of the places so a stopover was a very good option for us

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