That layover you’ve been dreading doesn’t need to be spent in the airport.
With so many places to see and limited vacation time and funds to see them, it can oftentimes feel like you can’t spend as much time as you’d like exploring new destinations. Add that to the time it takes to actually reach those far off, exotic places, and you might decide it’s much easier to stay local or take a staycation instead.
Long-haul flights from the United States often involve a long connection, especially if you’re flying from the West Coast or a smaller airport. Rather than let a long wait at the airport be a source of misery, plan your itinerary carefully and take advantage of long layovers. Although this might knock a day off your final destination, you could be able to take advantage of those hours at the airport to see a new city and score a second trip out of your vacation. How, might you ask? Connect in cities with pre-organized layover tours.
Airports With Layover Tours
Did you know that some airports offer free or inexpensive tours for passengers with long layovers? Rather than waste an opportunity to explore, get a taste of a new country for a few hours instead. These seven airports offer city tours for eligible passengers.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport: Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei Airport offers two free half-day tours to passengers with a minimum layover of seven hours. The morning tour departs at 8:30 a.m. with visits to Sanxia and Yingge and the afternoon tour departs at 2:15 p.m. for Taipei City. Both tours are four hours in length and can either be reserved upon arrival or in advance by filling out an online form.
Singapore Changi Airport: Changi, Singapore
Changi Airport has two different free tour options for passengers with at least a 5 1/2-hour layover in Singapore. The Heritage Tour runs four times per day between the morning and afternoon, and The City Sights Tour runs twice daily in the evenings. Both tours are 2 1/2 hours each and tour registration is done at the airport, with registration closing one hour prior to each tour.
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Narita International Airport: Tokyo, Japan
Narita Airport offers a total of eight different tours (four self-guided and four volunteer-guided), allowing you to tailor your layover experience based on your interests. All volunteer-guided tours are three hours long and depart daily at 9 a.m.
Incheon International Airport: Seoul, South Korea
Incheon Airport has five different tours ranging from one to five hours, so you can choose which best fits your itinerary. Tours run anywhere from one to four times per day and can be reserved online or upon arrival. Your layover must be a minimum of two hours to participate.
Hamad International Airport: Doha, Qatar
If you have more than five hours to spare in Doha, you’re in luck. Hamad International Airport offers two tour options for travelers: the 2 hours, 45 minutes Doha City Tour and the four-hour Monster Bus Desert Experience. The City Tour runs six times per day and the Monster Bus runs twice daily. Bookings can be made online or 90 minutes prior to the tour.
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Istanbul Atatürk Airport: Istanbul, Turkey
If you are traveling on Turkish Airlines and have at least a six-hour layover, you’re eligible for a free tour with TourIstanbul. They offer five different tours of varying lengths, and unlike the other layover tours in this article, these tours cover entrance fees and meals. You can’t schedule the tour ahead of time, but you can register upon arrival at the airport up until 30 minutes before the tours start.
Salt Lake International Airport: Salt Lake City, Utah
If you have more than two hours to spare in Salt Lake City, join a tour of Temple Square, the city’s most popular tourist attraction. Tour times vary depending on the day and season and last approximately two hours. Transportation to and from the airport is included, and tours can be booked upon arrival at the airport.
By booking your long-haul flight through one of the above-mentioned airports, you’re well on your way to enjoying a second destination for the price of one trip.
Note: Although the majority of these tours include free transportation and guides, entrance fees and meals might not be included in the cost. Additionally, be sure to check visa eligibility for entering and departing from each country.
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