The importance of a stopover – Dan Lake on Radio Live

Even with modern aircraft, the other side of the world is at least 20 hours of flying time away.

That’s 20 hours of sitting in a chair (if you’re like me and aren’t lucky enough to fly in business class).

Sitting in a cramped space staring at a screen. Ignoring the health risks around not being active for that period of time, it’s enough to drive you crazy.

Photographer Izzy Gerosa captures this image of passenger boredom

Most itineraries to Europe will have you flying on a minimum of two flights with a changeover in either North America, Asia or the Middle East.

So my recommendation to you is to take advantage of that forced situation where you’re effectively in a city you never planned to visit.

Try to stay a minimum of one night. This gives you the chance to sleep in a real bed, have a long hot shower and refresh before your next long flight.

That one night of proper sleep will make a world of difference to when you land in Europe. Especially for people like me who can’t sleep on planes.

Ask your travel agent about stopover deals with different airlines.

Later this year I’m taking my mum to the UK to see her family, and we are stopping off in Singapore for a night on the way there, the hotels and transfers are costing us….. One dollar each.

Of course this is due to Singapore tourism wanting to turn a stopover into a destination but you can’t argue with a one dollar night. And the hotel is nice.

You arrive there at 730pm and leave at 930 the next morning.

That’s your first option.

Your second one – and this is my recommendation. Stay at least two nights.

If it’s a city you’ve never been to before, or somewhere you never expected yourself to get the chance to visit, then find out what the place has to offer.

Do the tourist bus tour, have a local meal and a local beverage, see the sights, take photos, get memories and then you’re not only refreshed but you’ve had an experience too.
Again, some airlines build-in multi-night stopovers by giving 50% discounts to local attractions and restaurants.

Lets take a look at some of the most popular stopover cities between here and Europe.

Los Angeles… Well you don’t need my help to know what you can get up to there over two days! It is spread out, but there’s still loads of options.

Snapped by Jeremy Bishop

Kuala Lumpur. After looking in to this, KL has risen up my list of places I want to go when I saw that you can have a tour of an elephant orphanage….. I’d want to steal one. Plus of course the Petronas Towers, two of the tallest in the world, and they have some amazing tropical gardens there too.

Former Secretary John Kerry with the awesome elephants.

Singapore, one of my favorites, There’s Universal Studios, the amazing Marina Bay Sands hotel building, and an amazing zoo that does night tours as well. I’ve done that twice now and love it.

Plus they have amazing gardens by the bay that has one enclosure that creates its own clouds!
I took mum there. But guess who enjoyed it more? Me.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

And finally, Dubai. Emirates sends out 5 full A380 aircraft out of New Zealand to Dubai every day.

You can go up the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. It’s at least twice the height of the sky tower.
There’s amazing fountain displays and shopping to do as well.

Robert Block in Dubai

Before I go though, I do have some tips for what you shouldn’t do on a stopover.

Don’t arrive without reading up on the local culture and laws.

In Dubai of course it’s illegal to be gay. (Not sure how that works given how many flight attendants the country employs but anyway).

In Singapore if you litter you’re going to be fined.

Don’t do what I did last year and accidentally pack your overnight stuff such as toothpaste, shaving cream, and a change of clothes in your main suitcase that goes straight on to your final destination.

I hunted Singapore Airport for supplies for about an hour when I did this. Leaving with an I heart Singapore t-shirt, some really expensive underwear and $5 sunglasses from a convenience store.