Lay-overs at Airports

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The wait between connection flights are terrible,boring and frustrating. In my opinion you can only walk the Duty-free area so many times. Many people want to know if it is possible to leave the airport between connection flights. With long lay-overs (7 hours or more) it is possible to leave the airport and to visit the city for the day. How do you go about it? What risks are involved? Do I need to pay extra? These are all valid questions that any traveller must ask.

The first thing to do is to check with your Airline if your ticket allows for leaving the airport and to check in again. Why is this important? Costs of your ticket is calculated on a specific basis. Some airports charge additional taxes and when you book in again, the cost of this might not be included in your ticket. This means you will have to pay an additional amount before you can check-in again. This happened to me before on a South African Airline flight from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg.

If  you get the go-ahead from your airline, check the Visa requirements. If you need a Visa then you might have a slight problem. Immigration at some Airports allow you to apply for a day visa. Check before the time.

When you check your luggage in, ask them to check it in to your final destination. This means you won`t have to worry about your luggage. When you have a lot of time (24 hours) between connection flights, some airlines might ask you to collect your  luggage at the carousel and then check it in again before your next flight.If you are stuck with your luggage find out if there are security lockers where you can keep your luggage for the time being.

Allow for enough time. I cannot stress this enough. Remember you need to check in again, go through passport control and immigration. You also need to budget for the unexpected. Anything could go wrong. You could get stuck in a traffic jam, miss your bus or have an unexpected delay. Make sure you have enough time.

If the above sounds too stressful, stay at the airport and have a look for a place where you can sleep, have a massage or circle duty free.

If I have left anything out or if you have had an experience with long lay-overs, please share it with us in the comment section.

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.


  1. I have found that long layovers are an occupational hazard. If the flight you have booked is a fake one (my verbiage- where the flight number is the same, but the airplane changes or has a long layover), you are subject to detention against your will. You might be able to visit an airline lounge (something worth purchasing on an annual basis, if your travel is frequent- and there are good ones and bad ones- some VERY bad ones) to while away the time, watch TV, read journals, etc. But, that’s about it.
    If you have a different flight number or carrier- and your delay is 4 hours or more (which is very infrequent among my travels), you can try to leave the airport, visit, etc, and return- if you have the visa Nelieta mentions. If you time between flights is 3 h 30 minutes or less, I would venture that the airline lounge is as far as you should essay- because the odds of you missing your next flight have approached certainty.

    1. Hi Roy, thank you very much for adding to the list. You are raising very valid points especially about being detained against your will. I never thought about it like that! Thanks for the visit.

  2. Like Rimly, I don’t travel much either, at least by air. But, you’ve brought up some great tips here, Nelieta, and certainly some things I never even thought about. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Martha, you are welcome and thank you for the visit. I wrote down these tips because we are thinking to pop out to Rio for the day. We have quite a long lay-over there. Have a blessed day!

  3. Some great advice! I hope we never get stuck at the airport for that long with our kids! Leaving the airport sounds like a great idea..but I think I’d be too stressed wondering if we would get back in time!

    1. Hi Jessica, I think it is very challenging to be travelling with small children.In my opinion don`t even consider leaving the airport when travelling with little ones 🙂 Thanks for the visit.

  4. Great tips when traveling if you do not mind let me add one. If your in US and traveling to europe make sure you really check the exact dimensions of your carry on bags, especially if your a photographer. I had been flying all over the US using the same carry on camera bag. The last time I went to Italy They would not let me take it on board ( different size restrictions) We had to scramble to find a bag at the Airport to carry some expensive cameras and lens on the airplane

    1. Hi Jim, thank you for adding to the list! I think we often forget to check the airline regulations but it is very important. Thanks for the visit.

  5. Oh boy, that sounds like a lot of hassle. But yes, it’s tempting to go see your stop-over country. Very useful tips and insights you shared there. Some airports do collect terminal fees so that should be included in your budget. You also might need to exchange money to that country’s currency. But I guess I’d just stay put, get a massage, and do a blog post, haha.

    1. Hi AJ, I am really tempted to leave the airport to visit Rio for a couple of hours but I need to make sure that I have everything in order. It can be a lot of hassles. Thank you for visiting.

  6. Magnificent website. Lots of useful info here.

    I am sending it to some pals ans also sharing in delicious.

    And obviously, thanks!

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

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