GREAT way to rest and recharge in between long-haul flights, stopovers also give travellers the opportunity to try out a new city for a day or two.
Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your next stopover:
Consider stopping over for a night or two in a city that you've never visited before.If you always fly to Europe via Bangkok or Hong Kong, why not route through Tokyo or Taipei next time? A short visit is a no-risk way to test the waters in a new country, and gain an extra stamp in your passport.
Look for special stopover deals from airlines and hotels.If you have six to 12 hours to spare, some hotels and resorts offer activities passes, such as a round of golf or a pool pass.
Know your visa obligations.Check the visa entry requirements for all countries, including those you may be transiting through, at smartraveller.gov.au.
Seek out hotels with flexible check-in and check-out times.If you're arriving at the stopover destination at midnight, you want to avoid a 10am check-out. For example, Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles International Airport is one hotel that offers a flexible 24-hour-stay policy: if you check in at 7am, for example, you'll check out at 7am, 24 hours later. For more information about this, log onto fourpointslax.com.
Look at convenience.Airport hotels tend to be ideal for short stays after long flights when the last thing you feel like doing is navigating public transport or queuing for a taxi. Some even offer complimentary city tours or shuttle transfers to tourist hotspots.
Pack everything you'll need for the stopover in your carry-on bag. A change of clothing, toiletries, medicines, chargers and travel documents should all be within reach. A lost suitcase can mean stopover disaster for the unprepared traveller.
Stock up on snacks.Arriving late at night or early morning when shops and restaurants are closed, you'll be glad you packed bags of nuts, muesli bars or instant soup sachets.
Make the most of apps that help travellers plan their stay.Apps such as TripAdvisor and trip.com, which makes recommendations specific to what will interest users according to their "travel tribe”, can save you hours of research.
Move it.Boost your circulation and stretch muscles with a walk, a swim or a gym session at your stopover hotel. Another option is to book a walking tour to see the city and move your legs before getting back on the plane.
Explore.A hop-on-hop-off bus tour may not be your usual tourist style, but with limited time to explore a new city, it can be a good option to cover a lot of ground.