Everybody loves to travel - to see new places, experience new cultures, and get away from home... but while everybody loves exploring somewhere new, the actual process of getting from A to B isn't the best part. Airports and airplanes, with their cramped seating, bad food, and recycled air, are usually just the thing that we have to put up with to get where we are going.
However, when it comes to getting a good deal on a flight, it often turns out that more time in transit means a smaller dent in the wallet. Taking two or more flights with a layover in between is often a cheaper option... but is it worth it? We look at why you might want to nab that layover - and why the direct flight can be worth the money.
10 Layover - More Money To Spend Elsewhere
Let's get the obvious one out of the way. The more money that you save on the flight itself, the more money you will have to spend when you are actually at your destination! Sometimes, taking the layover option can mean saving hundreds, and that's money that would be much better spent enjoying the food and culture where you are going. For travelers on a tight budget, this can be the biggest consideration - is a few hours extra at the airport worth being able to splurge on a great night out in Paris?
9 Direct - Less Money Spent At The Airport
Of course, there's a financial downside to taking the layover, too. Airports are notoriously expensive to spend time in, especially if you decide to eat and drink. With nowhere else to go, customers are forced to spend excessive amounts on grabbing a meal, and even snacks are several times the price they would be elsewhere. If the money you save is only $50, ask yourself how much of that you will end up spending entertaining yourself at the airport between flights before declaring it a real savings.
8 Layover - Time To Decompress
One of the best things about being in transit is that it's a great excuse to turn off your phone and just switch off for a while. Work can wait - although with more and more airports offering free Wifi, some bosses might not accept your travels as a reason not to check those emails.
But it's not just about turning off the tech! Larger airports offer a range of relaxing activities, from massages and spas to movie theaters, and some of the best in the world may actually be places that you wish you had more time to relax and enjoy.
7 Direct - Time To Enjoy Your Vacation
Of course, no matter how great an airport is, chances are that's not why you booked the time off! The less time you spend getting from home to your destination, the more time you have to spend actually exploring the destination itself. If you have a long trip booked and a layover is in a great airport, this might not be a big deal. But if you want to squeeze out every possible minute in your bucket-list city, that layover just isn't worth it.
6 Layover - A Quick City Tour
Some layovers are just too short to do anything but stay put in the airport, but consider a long layover (or even an overnight) and get two vacations for the price of one! A long layover can be the perfect opportunity to leave the airport and head out into the local city, getting a single day somewhere new and exciting, as well as your time at your destination. Make sure you leave plenty of time to go back through security, of course, but definitely consider leaving the terminal behind.
5 Direct - Less Time Stuck At An Airport
For shorter layovers, there's really nothing that you can do but hang out at the airport... and with a few exceptions, these are really not exciting places. Many layovers simply involve hanging around in a grey and crowded room, and plenty of travelers would pay to avoid that experience!
In addition, layovers that are very late or early may mean that amenities like restaurants and shops aren't open, and there's little to do but attempt to sleep on the floor...
4 Layover - Extra Vacation Planning
Everyone intends to plan their vacation ahead of time (however much planning that might involve for them), but most of the time, life gets in the way and rushing around pre-trip means that travelers don't get quite as much done as they would like. But between free Wifi and plenty of travel guides for sale, you can use this extra time to do a little research, and make sure you can hit the ground running.
3 Direct - No Fear Of Missed Connections
One of the biggest issues with layovers is that if one flight is delayed, it means missing the next one... and that can be a huge hassle. If one air carrier is running both flights, passengers can often be booked on the next flight for no charge, but if you are splitting your trip between airlines and miss a connection, get ready to buy a new ticket. Money aside, missing a connection means being stuck at an airport, just waiting to find out when there is space on a flight to allow you to leave.
2 Layover - Surprising Health Benefits
While the idea of being stuck in the terminal isn't a pleasant one, there are actually physical benefits to breaking long flights into smaller chunks. Sitting for long periods is not good for your body, and being able to take a break, move around, and stretch outside a plane can make flying a lot easier on your body. Airplane seats are increasingly tiny, and being squished into them for hours on end is not going to have you landing feeling refreshed and energetic - but a layover could help.
1 Direct - Less Chance Of Lost Luggage
In the same way that a direct flight means no stressing over missed connections, it also means less likelihood of lost luggage. While there is always a chance that your bag won't make it on the place with you, when that same bag has to make it between multiple planes, the chance that it will get lost is increased. And if the worst happens, having to deal with multiple airports and carriers can make it harder to get that vital baggage back.