Can I leave the airport during a layover?
You have a lot to consider when booking a flight with a layover. Direct flights are always best, but sometimes money or distance means you’ll end up with a layover. And sometimes that layover is a long one. It might be long enough that you ask yourself, can I leave the airport during a layover?
The quick answer is it depends.
Whether you can leave the airport during your layover or not depends on a lot of factors, and there’s no one size fits all answer. Consider the following points in order to make the best decision about leaving the airport.
How long is your layover?
This is probably the most important factor in your decision because if your layover is too short, the rest doesn’t matter.
You might look at the time your first flight lands and the time your next flight takes off and think you have plenty of time. But look a little closer.
Subtract out the time it will take for the plane to taxi to the gate and for you to get off the plane and through the airport. (Maybe 30 minutes or so.)
Subtract out the time you need ahead of your second flight. (1-2 hours depending on the airport and if it’s a domestic or international flight.)
Then subtract the time you need to get to and from the city or wherever it is you want to go during your layover. (Varies greatly but could be as little as 30 minutes or as much as 2 hours depending on where you are, mode of transportation, and traffic conditions.)
How much time do you have left? Is it enough time for a meal and a walking tour? Is it just enough to grab an ice cream and turn around again? Or are you in negative numbers now?
2022 update: This summer as people start traveling again, airports are chaotic, and airports and airlines are understaffed.
Unfortunately this means everything is taking longer than normal, flights are being delayed and canceled, and you’ll need lots of time and patience. Leaving the airport on a long layover might not be the best idea unless you have a really, really long layover.
Is your layover in another country?
If you’re flying from one end of the US to the other and you have a layover in the middle, there’s no immigration procedures to worry about.
This means for domestic connections, if you leave the airport on your layover, you’ll have to go through security again to get to your second flight. But that should be the only long line you have to deal with.
But if your layover is in another country, you will have to go through customs and immigration if you want to leave the airport.
You’ll definitely have to go through customs and immigration if your layover is in the same country (or visa zone like the Schengen Zone) as your final destination, although this is true whether you’re leaving the airport on your layover or not.
This adds extra time to the first item on this list. Immigration procedures can take as little as 10 minutes or several hours depending on the lines and where you are.
Take this time into account when deciding if you can leave the airport on your layover.
>>Read: Amsterdam Layover Guide: How to Spend a Long Layover in Amsterdam
Due to the current situation, rules and regulations for entering different countries are constantly changing. You’ll need to verify what the rules for entry are, including testing and vaccine requirements. This might mean you can’t leave the airport during your layover.
It’s also important to research the situation in the city where your layover is. Even if it’s possible, it might not be smart to leave the airport, or the city might have restrictions on tourism.
Any of this could make your long layover frustrating, not so much fun, or even downright irresponsible.
>>Read more about traveling during COVID-19.
Please note that some posts contain links that earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Do you need a visa for your layover?
Many (but not all) countries that require visas do not require them if you’re simply transiting through the airport. You bypass customs and immigration, so you never get stamped into the country, but you can’t leave the airport during your layover.
If you want to leave the airport in one of these places, you’ll have to get a visa. Some countries require you to get one ahead of time, while others do visa on arrival.
Always check visa requirements for your nationality for each country you travel through, even for layovers. Every country has its own rules for entry and transit passengers.
Aside from the time it takes to go through customs and immigration, you also have to consider the cost of the visa and the application process, if it’s one you have to apply for ahead of time.
A $20 visa on arrival might not be a big deal, but $150 or a visa that requires lengthy forms (which probably means it’s also an expensive one) is probably not worth it when you will only have a few hours on your layover to explore the city.
What time of day is your layover?
If your layover is from early morning until late afternoon or sometime that night, you have lots of daylight hours to explore.
But not all layovers are this nice. Often your first flight will land in the middle of the night and the next flight will take off early in the morning.
In most cases, this is not the ideal time to leave the airport during a layover and check out the city. Potential safety issues aside, there probably won’t be much open depending on the city.
On the other hand, if it’s a city with good night life and a good club scene (and you’re into that) it could be a fun way to pass a few hours.
Just be sure to research the area so you know where it’s safe, and make sure you have transport options at that time of night. And maybe don’t drink so much that you’re late getting back to the airport.
What should you do if you leave the airport on a layover?
What you decide to do during your layover depends on where you are, how much time you have, and what your interests are.
I once spent a long layover in London walking around a lot, going to the British Museum, briefly seeing a few sights like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey, and having lunch.
My husband once spent a long layover in Hong Kong taking boat rides on the junks and meeting friends for dim sum. I know a couple who had a long layover in New York City and decided to take a tour.
I recently had a long layover in Amsterdam and took a food tour. Check out my Amsterdam layover guide for more info about how to get through the airport and into the city.
Some cities even have free tours for people on layovers. Your layover needs to be a certain length and at the right time of day, but a free tour sounds like a great option if your timing works out. Here are a few examples:
>>Check out more layover perks you never knew about.
Since tours are a great way to see a lot of the city in a short period of time, that can be a good option. Plus being with a guide means you won’t waste time getting lost.
Try a walking tour that brings you to some of the city’s highlights, or try a food tour to eat your way through the culture for a few hours.
I recommend searching Viator for a tour for your long layover adventure.
What to do with your luggage on a long layover
If you’re leaving the airport during a long layover, you probably don’t want to lug your bags around with you the whole time. So what’s the solution?
First, verify with the airline whether they are going to transfer your checked bags from one flight to the next. In most cases, they will still transfer your luggage.
But occasionally when the layover is really long, the airline won’t be able to tag it to your final destination. Usually this happens when the second flight leaves more than 24 hours after the first flight, but no matter what, you should confirm how the airline is handling your checked bags.
For your carry-on luggage or any checked bags the airline can’t transfer to your next flight, you’ll need someplace to store them. Some airports have luggage lockers, but some have eliminated them for security reasons. Train stations are another place to try, depending on the city.
Another great option is to book a luggage storage solution through Stasher. They have connections with hotels and other stores where you can drop off your luggage and pick it up again later. Locations are worldwide, so chances are there’s a location where you’re going.
Stasher’s prices are usually lower than most luggage lockers or left luggage services. Note that you must book and pay online.
If you’re trying to decide if you can leave the airport during a layover, ask yourself the questions above. Spending a long layover in the airport can be tedious. Leaving the airport to explore the city, or even just getting some sleep at a hotel, can be a much better alternative if you have enough time and visa requirements aren’t much hassle.
You might also enjoy:
- Carry-on Luggage Size Chart with over 170 Airlines
- How Do Layovers Work?
- Is Your Layover Long Enough?
- 8 Things to do If You Think Your Layover is Too Short
- Ask These 5 Questions to Maximize a Long Layover
July 14, 2018 @ 11:02 pm
We are having a hard time deciding if 6 hours is enough time for us to leave Heathrow and take a train into London for a quick private tour of the city. We are on the same airlines for both legs of the trip and according to the airline our bags will be checked through to Barcelona. If thats the case do we still go through customs in England? If not, do you think we can swing a quick look around? My boyfriend will freak if we are racing back to make our flight to Barcelona and I’ve seen London. But he has never been to Europe and the idea of sitting in the airport for six hours sounds like a waste.
July 16, 2018 @ 3:36 pm
Hi Katharine! Hmmm…6 hours for a layover in London seems kind of short for going into the city. I’m not sure where you’re coming from, but I’ll assume you’re coming from the US or Canada or someplace else that’s NOT in the UK. That means you’ll have to go through customs and immigration to get stamped into the UK, which could be fast or not, depending on the lines. At the end of your layover, you’ll have to go through exiting passport control to get stamped out of the UK, plus security to get to your gate. Then add in transport time into and back out of the city. So let’s say you lose an hour when you first land dealing with getting off the plane and getting through immigration, then it’ll take you roughly an hour (give or take, depending on exactly where you want to go) to get into the city by train or taxi, then you need another hour to get back to the airport, and you probably want to be back 2 hours before your flight to Barcelona. This leaves you with MAYBE an hour in London. If there are any delays with the train or traffic on the roads, you could miss your flight. I know 6 hours is a long time to sit in the airport, but if this was me, I wouldn’t leave the airport on this layover.
July 5, 2018 @ 10:45 am
It’s really wonderful to know about you and I’m so grateful, I landed here and thanks for answering so many questions and helping people.
We’ve an Indian passport, we’ll be flying from Delhi (India) to Istanbul with a layover of 9 hours in Jeddah(Saudi Arabia). Could you please tell me whether we can leave the Jeddah Airport and go out? Do we need a visa and what are the other formalities? What would be the procedures, etc.?
Please help me out.
July 6, 2018 @ 3:12 pm
Hello! I’m not a visa expert at all, but Saudi Arabia tends to have pretty strict visa regulations. I suggest looking up the website of the Saudi Arabian embassy and seeing what they say about visa requirements for Indian passport holders.
joven san ramon
July 5, 2018 @ 10:17 am
Hi Ali, I’m Joven from the Philippines. I will be travelling to NY City first week of August. I have a 22 hours lay over in Vancouver. Would it be ok if I leave the airport for some walk around the city? Thank you very much.
July 6, 2018 @ 3:10 pm
Hi Joven! The only hurdle is the visa. I’m not a visa expert, but I believe you need a visa even to transit through Canada, but I don’t know if it’s a different one if you’re leaving the airport or if the transit visa simply has a time limit on it. You should check with the Canadian embassy and see what the requirements are for your nationality.
June 25, 2018 @ 4:16 pm
I have 12hours layover in hongkong from dubai can i leave the airport if ever just t meet my mom..the airlines is cathy pacific
June 25, 2018 @ 7:18 pm
It depends on your nationality whether or not you’ll need a visa, so check with the Hong Kong embassy. Try this site or this site. Then it’s pretty easy to get into the city from the airport using the MTR (subway/metro). Just make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get back to the airport and through exiting passport control and security.
June 24, 2018 @ 11:51 pm
I have layover in Sydney for 23h 55m can I leave the airport,if not what I need to leave the airport.
June 25, 2018 @ 7:10 pm
Hi Abbas! It depends on your nationality whether or not you will need a visa. Check this site for your nationality and see what the requirements are.
June 20, 2018 @ 10:22 am
hi! im flying to madrid spain. and my layover is in seoul incheon for 6hours. 6:45am. Do you think i can still go outside the airport for that short period of time? My departing time is 12:45pm. And do i need to avail their korean visa or my visa for madrid is okay aldready? Please i need an answer. Thankyouuuu
June 20, 2018 @ 5:17 pm
Hi Kish! It depends on a bunch of factors. The visa – your visa for Madrid, Spain doesn’t do you any good in Korea. You’ll have to check with the South Korean embassy to see if you need a visa to enter based on your nationality. If you don’t need a visa or you can easily get one on arrival, then you have to look at the timing. Here’s some info on getting into the city from the airport: https://www.toandfromtheairport.com/seoul.php. It looks to me like the train takes close to 45 minutes. Not sure how long a taxi would take, but it sounds like you’ll be there during rush hour time in the morning, so that could affect things. So let’s say 45 minutes on the train, each direction. Now your 6 hour layover is down to 4.5 hours. Plus you have to account for going through customs and immigration to get stamped into Korea. That could take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more depending on the lines. You also have to account for getting back to the airport in time to do exiting passport control to get stamped out of Korea, and you’ll need to go through security. I feel like you might only have about 2 hours at the most to go into the city. If you have to apply for and pay for a visa, I don’t think it’s worth it. If you don’t need a visa, it’s a judgement call. If you decide to do it, make sure you get back to the airport with plenty of time for passport control and security. It could be quick but it could also be slow, and I’d hate for you to miss your connecting flight because of long lines and not leaving yourself enough time at the end of your layover.
June 20, 2018 @ 8:05 pm
Hi! Thankyou for the reply~ oh well thats kinda difficult if i still pursue to go outside the airport. Hmm thanks for answering! 🙂
June 13, 2018 @ 2:34 am
I’m travelling from Western Canada to Washington with a 4.5 hour layover in Minneapolis. We clear US Customs in the airport in Canada and then we’re considered a domestic arrival once we get to Minneapolis. In this scenario, would we be able to leave the airport to go to the Mall of America (apparently 10-15 minutes by train) once we’re in Minneapolis? Would we need to claim our bags upon doing so or will they be automatically transferred through?
Thanks for any help you can give me!
June 15, 2018 @ 10:31 am
Yes, you’ll already be stamped into the US, so you are free to leave the airport and go see the Mall of America if you want. (This would be true even if you weren’t able to clear customs in Canada before your flight.) Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get back to the airport and through security before your next flight. And remember that mall really is huge, so take note of how long it takes to get back to the train.
As for your luggage, I don’t know for sure because I haven’t done the US customs clearance in Canada. I would assume that you wouldn’t have to claim and recheck your luggage since you’re considered a domestic flight at that point and in theory you wouldn’t have to leave the secured area of the airport. The whole reason for having to claim your luggage in the US when you arrive is to go through customs, but you will have already done that at your departure airport. So my gut tells me you won’t have to claim luggage in MSP, but I can’t say for sure. Try calling the airline and see if they know. Worst case, the agent who checks you in for your first flight should be able to tell you if your bags will be transferred through or if you’ll have to claim your bags in MSP.
June 6, 2018 @ 7:15 am
I am travelling from New Delhi to San Francisco with 19h overnight layover at London (LHR) with valid US Visa and more than 6 months validity on my passport. Am I allowed to go out and take quick city tour?
June 6, 2018 @ 5:19 pm
Hi! I’m not a visa expert, so I can’t say for sure. Your best option is to check with the UK embassy and see what their requirements are based on your citizenship and if the US visa helps you out. Sorry I don’t know more than that!
June 4, 2018 @ 9:20 pm
Oh and Ali, I forgot to mention, I see you are a travel junkie and if you want a goal, try the one I have done, all 52 Capital Cities in Europe (according to MY definition of Europe). My criteria for Europe is countries who play in the European Championships except Israel and Kazakhstan (which I consider as Asia), Gibralta (which is a colony) and Faroe Islands (which is part of Denmark) but HAVE included Azerbaijan (Baku), Russia (Moscow) and Turkey (Ankara).
The second part of my criteria is who sends youth workers and young people to my European projects with Erasmus plus, European section.
I haven’t included Vatican as I think it’s a church (I have been there though obviously so anyone adamant it’s a city then I have been to all 53 😀 ), but have included Monaco reluctlantly (even though it doesn’t fit my other criteria) and obviously included the small ones like Vaduz, San Marino City and Andorra la vella but not included the islands such as Channel Islands, Canary Islands, Isle of White or Madeira, though I have been to these as well.
I love talking countries too 😀
June 5, 2018 @ 11:17 am
Billy, I love this! I am a bit of a list ticker and country counter, just for my own enjoyment. I made it to all 7 continents before my 30th birthday, and I now have a goal to get to every country in Europe before my 45th birthday. I’m counting Scotland, Wales, England, and Northern Ireland as separate countries, and so far England is the only one of that list I’ve been to. I’ve been to the micro countries (Vatican, San Marino, etc.) and now my list is mostly eastern and norther countries.
June 4, 2018 @ 8:56 pm
Thankyou Ali you are a wonderful minefield of knowledge and such a helpful person. My exploration of the city is covered (I have a friend there who will meet me, as long as I can find a way out of the airport and back because google is coming up short with this kind of info)
Will try your to and from link
Diolch yn fawr
June 5, 2018 @ 11:15 am
Sounds great! And maybe your friend has some tips on the best way to get from the airport into the city.
June 3, 2018 @ 3:33 pm
Hi I will fly from London to Beijing with a 16 hour layover in Islamibad so I would like to see a little bit of that city. I land around 6am and leave around 23.00. I am pretty sure my luggage will go straight from one plane to another, but I think I may need a visa for Pakistan as a British national. How can I find out all the details of what I may need to visit the city
June 3, 2018 @ 6:30 pm
Hi Billy! Definitely check the website for the Pakistan embassy about visa requirements for British citizens. I don’t know anything about Islamibad, but you can look up that airport on toandfromtheairport.com and see what they say about transport options in and out of the airport. As for things to do, I found this layover tour that could be interesting. Also, do a few Google searches for “things to do in Islamibad” and variations of that, plus see if there’s a tourism website for the city. Sorry I can’t be much help on this one!
June 2, 2018 @ 4:57 pm
Hi would be wondering if I do need a transit visa traveling Dxb- armsterdam 7 hours layover then to panama – Costa Rica .
I’m Philippines passport holder .
June 2, 2018 @ 6:01 pm
Hi Daryll! I’m not a visa expert, so I can’t really help you on this one. Check with the Netherlands embassy or check this site about Schengen countries, which includes the Netherlands: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/transit-schengen-visa/
May 31, 2018 @ 4:05 am
Hello. I’m a US citizen currently in Brazil. I just booked a flight home. With 2 layovers, first one being Lima, Peru 19hours. Then Bogota for 6hours. Would I need a vacation if I leave the Airport? Yellow fever.
May 31, 2018 @ 1:40 pm
Hi Leo! According to the CDC https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/select-destinations/peru-cusco-machu-picchu-and-other-regions Peru does not require a yellow fever vaccination to enter the country, and it says you shouldn’t need one if you’re only visiting Lima (and a few other places).
May 30, 2018 @ 10:17 pm
We are heading to Namibia June 23 from Edmonton Alberta Canada Via Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and we have a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam, how hard is it to leave the airport and walk around Amsterdam for a few hours and see some sights, do we need to get any paperwork in advance? or do we just come off the plane and go through customs and security to leave? but what about re entering the airport what is the protocol with that?, also is there a place to leave our carry on and some personal items we don’t want to walk around with, like lockers to use and access both coming off the plane and going back on. Hopefully you can help us out with this questions.
May 31, 2018 @ 12:48 pm
Hi Gisele! I’m guessing you’re Canadian citizens, and Canada is one of the countries that is not required to get a visa to enter Schengen countries, which the Netherlands is a part of. So you wouldn’t need to do anything ahead of time if you want to leave the airport during your layover in Amsterdam. You would just go through customs/passport control and get stamped in, and then on your way back to your next flight, you’ll go through passport control again to get stamped out. Leave yourself enough time for that and for security. Amsterdam’s city center isn’t too far from the airport, and you can get a train pretty easily. It’s probably worth doing some research about what you want to do/see while in Amsterdam so you don’t lose too much time. There’s a pretty good tram system in Amsterdam if you want to go a little farther than walking distance from the train station. As for your carry-on luggage, do a search for luggage lockers in the Amsterdam airport. I *think* there are some, but I can’t remember with 100% certainty. Another option is to take your luggage on the train into the city, and then get a locker at the train station.
May 31, 2018 @ 6:55 pm
Thank you Ali,
that info is helpful, we would like to take the train into Central Station and do a Canal ride and maybe have a bite to eat, and walk the square, so this is helpful to know we are able to leave and come back, I will look into lockers I believe there is because it says you can purchase items and leave them in a locker and pick them up on your return flight home.
June 1, 2018 @ 2:00 pm
Sounds like a good plan! Make sure you look at the train schedule to see how often they run back to the airport and give yourself plenty of time to get back plus get through passport control and security. Have a fun long layover!
Nicole de Veyra
May 25, 2018 @ 3:34 pm
Hi, ali! I am a Philippine Passport Holder currently working in the UK and a holder of a tier 2 UK work visa and a multiple entry B1/B2 US visa. I am going for a holiday to the US in august and will have a 15 hour lay over in shannon airport ireland from the UK before my flight for new york. Can i leave shannon airport during this lay over? Will I be required to secure an ireland visa To do so? I have friends in shannon, county clare and I was hoping to join them for drinks during the lay over. Thanks and Best Regards!
May 28, 2018 @ 11:32 am
Hi Nicole! I’m not a visa expert, so I can’t say for sure. I suggest contacting the Irish embassy or looking up their website and seeing if Philippine passport holders are required to get a visa to visit Ireland, if there’s a transit visa and if so what the restrictions are on that (sometimes transit visas don’t allow you to leave the airport), and if there are any exceptions for people holding a UK work visa. Sorry I can’t be more help! I hope you’re able to do it though, sounds like fun!
May 23, 2018 @ 12:03 am
Hi. I got funny situation, I wants to travel to Lahore,Pakistan. Direct flights are so expensive. So i searched flights for another town airport which is 40 miles from Lahore and its saving me $700, Funny enough my connecting flight will go direct to Lahore,then it has a layover for two hours then a domestic flight will take me to destination Town. I wants to quit my journey at Lahore. Did anybody had similar experience.Will I be allowed to quite my journey at Lahore???Obviously I can leave airport but what about my luggage. Will i be traveling 40 miles to collect my luggage?? I don’t need Pakistan Visa.
May 23, 2018 @ 6:43 pm
Hi Ali! If you take the first flight and abandon the second flight, you won’t be able to get your checked luggage on your layover. But they won’t actually leave your luggage on the plane if you don’t show up for that flight, for security reasons, and it gets messy. Also, they will mark you as a no show, and your return flight is likely to be cancelled. The only time I think it works out to book a connecting flight and not take the second leg is if you don’t have checked luggage and you don’t have a return flight. Even then, if it’s an airline you fly frequently, they could put you on a list and make things difficult for you with booking future flights. How much would a bus or taxi cost from the other town you found to Lahore? I know that would be super annoying, but it still might be cheaper than the direct flight.
May 4, 2018 @ 8:41 am
Hi, I will be traveling to the UK and I have a layover of 7 hours when going and another for 10 hours when coming back at Brussels Airport. Do I need a transit visa. Im from Kenya. I don’t need to leave the airport. I will be at the transit zone
May 5, 2018 @ 10:55 am
Hi Robert! I am not a visa expert, so I can’t give you a definite answer. You might need a transit visa, but I can’t say for sure. There’s some good info here to get you started: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/transit-schengen-visa/
April 24, 2018 @ 7:17 pm
I will be traveling from Nigeria to Russia during the world cup and i have a seven hours layover in Paris
please can I walk outside the airport to visit a friend?.
April 26, 2018 @ 11:37 am
Hi Fletcher! Some of that will depend on your nationality. If you need a tourist visa to enter the Schengen Zone (which France is a part of) you’ll need to apply for a visa, which could be time consuming and expensive for such a short visit. (Although, be sure to check if you need a transit visa to pass through on your way to Russia…I’m not a visa expert.) If you don’t need a visa, then you technically can leave the airport during your layover, after you go through customs and immigration, which could take some time depending on the lines. Then it just comes down to timing. The airport is a little ways outside the city, so you’ll need to either get a taxi or shuttle or take a train. You’ll need to figure out where you can meet your friend and see how long that will take, and hopefully your friend can help you determine that. And then you’ll need to get back to the airport at least 2 hours before your next flight since you’ll have to go through exiting passport control to get stamped out of the Schengen Zone and go through security. I feel like you might have 2 hours tops in the city, which is a little tight. If your friend is able to come meet you at the airport and you can just hang out outside the secured area, that might not be so exciting, but it would be easier for you and you’d get to spend a little more time with your friend. I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip!
April 23, 2018 @ 3:33 pm
thanks for the insightful article.
i have a 7 hours of layover in rome before i head to venice. my floghts lands in rome at 9. am and next one to venice departs at 4 pm. would you suggest i stay put at the airport or what else can i do in this time?
April 26, 2018 @ 11:28 am
Hi Dishaa! I don’t know where you’re flying from, but if you’re coming from outside the Schengen Zone, you’ll have to go through customs and immigration in Rome. How long that takes all depends on the lines, so sometimes it’s super fast, sometimes it’ll take some time. Then there’s a direct train that runs from the airport (I’m assuming you’re flying into Rome FCO airport) to Rome Termini station, and it takes about a half hour and it looks like it runs twice an hour. Check http://trenitalia.com/ for times, you can switch it to English. From Termini station, you can get into the metro system and go see something in the city. You’ll need to get back to the airport at least an hour ahead of your next flight. So I think best case scenario, you’re looking at about 3 hours or so in the city. That’s a little tight but not impossible. It’s probably worth picking one sight or one area to see and do a little wandering around, but keep in mind that some places have long lines. So maybe you can go see the Colosseum from the outside, but I’m not sure you’d have enough time to go inside. And make sure you know the train schedule going back to the airport so you can get there on time. You could consider taking a taxi, but it’ll be a lot more expensive and when I run the route in Google Maps, it doesn’t really save you any time. I hope this helps you make your decision and start looking into your options! And if you need any other Italy tips, check out our Italy suggestions here.
April 21, 2018 @ 8:42 am
Hi, Thank you for the great information!
Me and my other friend are from India. We have student visa as I am going to study in Canada and he in US in next september. So before going there, we have decided to take layover in Paris(& visit some places there) before taking separate flight from there. Which procedures are needed if we want to visit Paris for 24/48 hours.
April 23, 2018 @ 9:54 am
Hi Umang! You’ll need to apply for a Schengen tourist visa. I’m not a visa expert, but this looks like a good place to start: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/visa-application-indian-passport-holders/. There’s some info on there about if you’re a student, but I think they mean if you’re going to Europe to study, not the US or Canada, so you’d be just a normal tourist. Also, it looks like you’d have to apply through France if you want to visit Paris. Make sure you read through everything, and contact the embassy directly if you have more questions. I hope this helps, and have fun!
April 18, 2018 @ 10:33 pm
I’m travelling to LA this summer and I have a short 6 hour layover in Vegas. I want to have a meeting outside the airport with some old friends in Vegas during my layover and I am worried of the implications if i miss my flight from Vegas and make my own way to LA rather than to take my connecting flight, as my return is on the same airline. Will I still be able to return from LA to the UK two weeks later, or will the rest of my booking be cancelled?
April 19, 2018 @ 4:52 pm
Hi Folarin! If you miss your flight from Vegas to LA in this situation, you’re basically seen as a no-show and chances are the airline will cancel the rest of your itinerary. A 6 hour layover is decent, especially since the airport isn’t too far from the city, depending on where exactly you’re trying to go. Talk to your friends about where to meet them and the fastest/easiest way to get in and out of the city. Maybe they can even pick you up from the airport? It also depends on the time of day since there might be traffic issues. Let’s say you need an hour to get off the plane and through customs (time needed for customs can vary greatly) and then you should probably get back to the airport at least an hour ahead of your next flight, that leaves you with 4 hours to deal with transport in and out of the city and for hanging out with your friends. Seems manageable to me, especially if you can get some local advice from your friends on the best way in and out of the airport. Another option to consider if you’re worried about missing your flight is to see if they are willing to meet you at the airport and grab a meal somewhere outside of the security checkpoint.
April 16, 2018 @ 10:04 pm
My teenage boys and I are travelling to Brussels by way of Newark and Dublin. On our outward trip we have a 7 hour 29 minute layover in Newark (we arrive at 10:00 a.m.) On our return trip we have a 4 hour 40 minute one in Dublin. Will these layovers be long enough to make a quick visit to Manhattan and somewhere close to Dublin airport? I thought about jumping on the Hop-on, Hop off bus to tour Manhattan. Please advise. Thanks
April 17, 2018 @ 4:22 pm
Hi Sandra! I’m going to start with Dublin. I think that one is a little tricky given the timing. Ireland is not part of the Schengen Zone but Belgium is, which means if your connecting flight is in Dublin, if you were not going to leave the airport, you could bypass customs and immigration (look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or even “connecting flights”) since you’re not staying in Ireland. The Dublin Airport also has a US border control facility, which means you might actually get cleared into the US while in Dublin. I haven’t done it yet, so I’m not real clear on whether it’s for only certain airlines or every single US-bound passenger, but you can find more info here. But that would take more time too. So if you want to leave the airport in Dublin, you’ll have to go through customs to get stamped into Ireland, and then you’ll have to go through exiting passport control to get stamped out, plus security, plus possibly going through US customs, before your flight to the US. That means I’d recommend getting back to the Dublin airport *at least* 2 hours before your next flight in case there are lines at passport control and/or security. There’s info here about transport options from the airport, and it looks like it could be anywhere from 20 to 55 minutes depending on time of day and traffic. So even at the lower end of that time frame, you’ll probably only have an hour to an hour and a half in the city at the most, maybe much less when you take into account the US customs piece of it. So I’m not sure it’s worth the stress.
As for the Newark layover, that could be a little easier. There are no exiting customs procedures when leaving the US, but you will still have to go through security when you get back to the airport. Again, here is info on getting into the city. I personally would take the train from the airport to New York Penn Station, looks like it takes about a half hour. Then there are tons of different hop on hop off tours to choose from, you can look at them here. Make sure you look at how much time you need for the full loop, and look at stops that are close to Penn Station (if you decide to take the train there) so you’ll know where you can get on the bus without having to walk too far. You’ll still want to allow plenty of time to get back to the airport and through security before your next flight. And remember that international flights often start boarding earlier than domestic flights because the planes are bigger and there are more people to load. So if it were me, I’d probably still get back to the airport about 2 hours before the flight, which means being on that train from Penn Station no later than 2 1/2 hours before the flight. This probably gives you 4 hours tops in the city.
I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip! And if you’re looking for Brussels tips, we have a post on day trips from Brussels here!
April 17, 2018 @ 6:18 pm
Ali, thank you so much for your prompt and useful reply. I will most definitely check out the links you provided and figure out my options. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come up with something and make the most of my time in these different locations.
April 18, 2018 @ 12:56 pm
Glad to help!
April 11, 2018 @ 3:14 pm
Thanks very much for your answer 🙂
April 10, 2018 @ 5:56 pm
I got special ticket from Montreal (canada) to Vietnam with connection in Beijing (china). Can I only ask for bording pass from Montreal-> Beijing and get out from Beijing to visit and buy another ticket to Vietnam . I do it because it’s cheaper !!!
April 11, 2018 @ 10:35 am
Ok if I’m understanding you correctly, you have an itinerary that is Montreal to Beijing to Vietnam, but you only want to use the Montreal to Beijing part, and then buy a separate ticket to Vietnam, right? If this is one way, it’s doable. If you have a return flight booked back to Montreal, or even to another city that’s booked at the same time, the airline will cancel your whole itinerary. So basically anything you’ve booked beyond Beijing on that itinerary will be canceled. So if this is a one way flight that you’ve booked, when you check in for the Montreal to Beijing flight, they’ll still give you both boarding passes. Don’t tell them you don’t want to use the Beijing to Vietnam flight. BUT you must have carry-on luggage only! You will not be able to claim your checked luggage in Beijing, so if you’re checking bags, this won’t work. Also, make sure you verify what kind of visa you might need for China because it could be different if you’re leaving the airport instead of just transiting through. In general airlines don’t like it when people buy a ticket and only use one part of it, so I’ve heard of some airlines tracking people who do it a lot. I wouldn’t really worry about it, but try not to make it a habit of doing something like this, especially with the same airline. I hope this helps, and have a great trip!
April 7, 2018 @ 1:45 am
We are traveling home to the US from Italy with a 12 hour layover in London. Can we leave the airport? Will we have to gather our luggage? Will we have to go through customs to leave and then re-enter the airport?
April 10, 2018 @ 11:41 am
Hi Rebecca! Yes, if you want to leave the airport during your layover in London, you will have to go through British immigration and customs to leave the airport, and then you’ll have to go through exiting passport control before your flight to Italy. Probably worth it for such a long layover though. Your luggage will depend on your airline. Usually your luggage will be tagged to go all the way to your final destination in this kind of itinerary, but you should verify that with the airline since you have such a long layover. If you do have to claim your luggage and they won’t recheck it that far ahead of your flight, look for luggage lockers or a left luggage facility. I was able to do that at Gatwick several years ago, but I don’t know if it’s changed or if Heathrow has anything like that. Also, if you need any Italy tips, please check out our Italy section here!
April 6, 2018 @ 8:22 pm
I am travelling from Hawaii back to London via Vancouver. We have a 10 1/2 hour stop in Vancouver. If we get a visa (we are British) can we leave the airport? How do we find out what happens to our luggage?
April 10, 2018 @ 11:37 am
Hi Laura, yes, if you have a visa to enter Canada (if you need one…I’m not familiar with the visa requirements for British citizens visiting Canada) then you can leave the airport. In general you have to claim checked luggage when landing in Canada and then recheck it for your next flight, so you’ll have to check with the airline to see how far ahead of the next flight they will check your luggage. If you can’t check your luggage that early, you’ll have to see if there are luggage lockers or a left luggage facility, or take it with you while you’re checking out the city. Also, the Vancouver airport has US border control, so you’ll actually go through US immigration while still in the Vancouver airport, so make sure you do that after you come back from seeing the city, not immediately after landing in Vancouver. There’s more info here: http://www.yvr.ca/en/passengers/navigate-yvr/customs-and-immigration/us-customs-and-border-protection. If you do leave the airport during your layover, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get back to the airport and get through security and US border control.
April 6, 2018 @ 8:15 pm
Thank you for all the great info!
I’m trying to plan a trip to meet someone traveling from Indonesia to Columbia. It seems that most flights have some type of layover in the USA or Canada, and those countries require a VISA of some kind. Can you give any advice on the best way to go about this? Getting a US VISA is near impossible right now, thats why we chose Columbia as our destination since it doesn’t have any VISA requirement for either of our countries. Is it easier to transit through a Canadian airport? I saw something that US immigration requirements still apply in airports in Vancouver. Any clarification would be helpful! Thanks!
April 10, 2018 @ 11:29 am
Unfortunately I don’t have any info on how to get visas for the US or Canada. I know it’s frustrating to have to deal with a visa for a place you’re not even staying in! I don’t think US immigration requirements apply at Canadian airports, but there are some Canadian airports that have US border control so passengers can go through US immigration while in the Canadian airport before their flight instead of doing it once they arrive in the US. That shouldn’t apply to you if you’re not going to the US, but I make no guarantees. You might want to consider piecing together a route that doesn’t involve the US or Canada if the visas are too tricky. It might mean booking separate itineraries, so if you do that, make sure you leave plenty of time in between flights, especially if you have checked luggage. But make sure to check visa requirements for any country you might be traveling through, because if you need a visa to leave the transit zone, you’ll need it to retrieve checked luggage and recheck it. You could try something like Jakarta to Auckland, and Auckland to Bogota, for example. Some of those transit through Australia, so be sure to check the visa requirements for transiting there. Pull up a flight search engine and keep playing with options. It won’t be a quick trip, but if you can avoid dealing with visas for the US or Canada, it’s probably worth it. Good luck!
March 23, 2018 @ 6:46 pm
Hi! First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to answer all these questions! I’m a Canadian Citizen that is traveling to the States. On my flight back, I have a 13h layover in Dallas, arriving at 7PM that night and a 9AM flight the next day to Vancouver. Would I be able to go out of the airport? I was thinking I’d rather rest in a room rather than in the airport.
March 27, 2018 @ 12:12 pm
Hi Dorothy! Yes, you can leave the airport and get a hotel for that night. You will already be in the US since that’s where your trip is, so there’s no problem with leaving the airport for a long layover. Check with the airline to find out if they are able to transfer your luggage all the way through or if you will have to pick it up in Dallas since it’s such a long layover.
March 11, 2018 @ 10:10 pm
I am a U.S ,citizen traveling from Liberia to the the U.S. through Brussels. I have a 5+ Brussels layover that will/may allow me enough time, considering all the potential pit-falls, to get into the city center to take in a few of the more renowned sites. Knowing Brussels airport and the associated transit system do you anticipate any potential unforeseen road-blocks? I have done this in Paris and Frankfurt on similarly timed lay-overs and it was doable, if a bit constrained, but that was 7 or 8 years ago and in the case of Paris at least, upon my return they seemed to think that my leaving the airport was questionable. Has anything changed to your knowledge that would not allow me to leave the airport, knowing of course I don’t have much time to work with?
March 12, 2018 @ 12:53 pm
Hi Sean! I think 5 hours is a bit tight to leave the airport, but if you’ve done it before and you feel comfortable with it, give it a try. Here’s some info on how to get to and from the Brussels airport: https://www.toandfromtheairport.com/brussels.php. I’d probably try the airport express train, says it takes approximately 15 minutes and runs 4 times an hour. Remember it’ll take you time to get off the plane and through customs once you land in Brussels. On your way back, you need to allow plenty of time to go through exiting passport control and security check. Normally for an international flight, I’d recommend getting to the airport about 2 hours ahead of time, so when you account for that plus the time at the beginning when you first land in Brussels, plus the transport time, I feel like you *might* have 2 hours in Brussels tops. Definitely find out the schedule of the airport train so on your way back you don’t show up at the station 2 minutes after the train left and then you have to wait another 13 minutes or something. Leave plenty of time to get through exiting passport control. I haven’t flown through Brussels, but at some airports, those lines can be really long, and sometimes it depends on the time of day. I’ve breezed through some in minutes, while others have taken an hour, you just never know. I have no idea why the person at the Paris airport thought it was questionable that you left the airport, it’s totally legal since you don’t need a visa as a US citizen. I wouldn’t worry about that. If you want to leave the airport, you can, just remember you don’t have a lot of time to work with on this layover.
March 5, 2018 @ 1:56 am
Hi, we are going from USA to Sweden having an 8 hr layover in Vienna …..we will love to see the city. We are thinking on a Hop on Hop off Tour…..
Any information will be greatly appreciated
Thank you !!!
March 8, 2018 @ 3:33 pm
Hi Gladys! A Hop on Hop off bus could be a great way to get a glimpse of the city since you’ll only have a few hours there. Check out a few options here that I found. Then you can either take a taxi to one of the points listed on the bus itinerary to get started, or you can use public transport. I found this article about Vienna’s public transport system, and towards the end they have a link to the actual public transport website plus some links about how to get to and from the airport. Just make sure you pay attention to how long it takes you to get from the airport into the city, and then allow at least that much time, if not a little more, to get back to the airport before your next flight. And I recommend still getting back to the Vienna airport at least an hour before your next flight since you’ll have to go through security again. Enjoy your trip!
March 2, 2018 @ 5:35 am
Hi just want to ask if do i need a visa for taipei.im in a connecting flight going to new zealand.i have to lay over 10hrs in taipei airport.thank you
March 6, 2018 @ 9:41 pm
It all depends on your nationality, and I’m not a visa expert, so I suggest you go to the Taiwan embassy website and look for info about transit visas for your nationality. If you do plan on leaving the airport during your layover, look for info on transit visas AND normal tourist visas for your nationality to see what the rules are. Some countries will let you leave the airport on a transit visa if it’s within a certain timeframe, but others do not. And there are some countries that don’t need a visa at all, so the embassy website is the place to start.
March 1, 2018 @ 6:09 am
Thanks for all the info.. I have a Philippine passport and we don’t have free visa for japan. Does that mean I can’t go outside the airport in Haneda? I have 24-hour lay over and a airport transfer too, from Haneda to Narita. It would suck to waste 24 hour travel to Japan ?. Hope you can help me. Thanks!
March 1, 2018 @ 1:26 pm
Hi John! In general, if you can’t get visa-free entry into a country, you can’t leave the airport during a layover because that would require you to go through customs and immigration. But you said you have a transfer from Haneda to Narita…that means you have to leave the Haneda airport, which you can’t do without going through customs and immigration, which means you need a visa anyway. You should contact the Japan Embassy and find out what you need to do to get a transit visa (if Japan does transit visas) or a single entry tourist visa (if they don’t do transit visas). I’m not a visa expert, but the embassy is the place to start looking for information.
February 16, 2018 @ 11:08 pm
Hi. We are flying from Glasgow to Vancouver in the summer with a 16 hour overnight layover in Toronto. We are planning to go to a hotel near the airport. We are flying Air Transat and have a 23kg luggage allowance included. Do you think our bags will be checked right through? Not a problem as we can take enough for the night in our carry on. If we take our bags out of the airport, will we then be charged for hold baggageas flight 2 is domestic? Thanks.
February 17, 2018 @ 11:01 am
Hi David! The Toronto Airport has a great page on their website explaining what to do there based on where you’re flying from and to and what airline you’re on, check it out here. When I put in your info, it looks like you’ll have to pick up your checked luggage and recheck it before your next flight. Since your next flight is after a 16 hour layover, it’s really up to the airline whether or not they’ll take your luggage that early. With a layover that long, the airline might not even be able to print your second boarding pass when you check in for your Glasgow-Toronto flight. Your best bet is to contact the airline and ask them, and ask them if you’ll have to pay for checking the bags again. Every airline handles that kind of situation differently.
February 15, 2018 @ 6:55 pm
Hi, we are flying from Philly to Prague through Dublin. Our layover is 7 hours. We will get there at 8:55am and our other flight is at 4:20pm. My question is, can we leave the airport without problems and take a cab to center of Dublin?
February 16, 2018 @ 4:32 pm
Sounds like fun, Michelle! You shouldn’t have a problem leaving the airport during your layover to go explore Dublin for a few hours. One thing to note is that Ireland is NOT a Schengen country but Czech Republic is, so if you’re going to leave the airport in Dublin, you’ll have to go through immigration to get stamped into Ireland, and then before your flight to Prague, you’ll have to go through passport control to get stamped out. And then of course you’ll have to go through security before your Prague flight. It’s not a big deal, but it’ll take a little extra time. I suggest doing some research about what you want to see in Dublin and limit yourself to either simply wandering around and getting lunch to see the center, or stick to one or two sights depending on where they are and how long it’ll take to see them. With just over 7 hours for your layover, you’ll probably end up with about 4 hours give or take to check out the city. Take note of how long it takes to get from the airport to the center and leave yourself at least that much time, if not a little more just in case, to get back to the airport later. And you should get back to the airport with enough time to go through passport control and security, so 2 hours is probably a safe amount of time. Also, Ireland uses the euro but the Czech Republic uses the Czech koruna, so just get enough euros from an ATM at the airport to cover your taxis, lunch, and anything else you’re planning on doing. If you have leftover euros, some places in Prague might take it, but it’ll also be easy enough to exchange there. I hope this helps, and have a great trip!
January 18, 2018 @ 6:27 am
Hi! I’m actually planning a visit to go see my friend in Wisconsin. I actually booked a round trip flight from Denver to Milwaukee. But the layover is in Chicago. I have a friend in Chicago that wants to pick me up there, and then my buddy from Wisconsin will be meeting me in Chicago the next day. My question was, is it okay to just leave the airport and not get on that next flight? Will I still be okay to get on my next flight a few days after, in Milwaukee, to get back home? I didn’t want to have any complications so I’m extremely curious if that’ll screw up my tickets or not. I feel like it doesn’t matter but, better safe than sorry
January 18, 2018 @ 11:11 am
Hi Corey! Actually, that does make a big difference. In general, airlines don’t like you to abandon your itinerary in the middle. So if you fly from Denver to Chicago and don’t get on the Chicago to Milwaukee flight, they will most likely cancel your return flight. If you don’t show up for one leg, they expect you won’t be able to show up for future legs on the same itinerary. Skipping out on your last leg would usually work (so the Chicago to Denver flight on your way home…which I’m sure doesn’t make sense for you at all) but even then you have to make sure you only have carry-on luggage, and you shouldn’t do it too often because some airlines will start flagging you. So unfortunately, you really should get on that Chicago to Milwaukee flight if you want to be able to get your flight home a few days later. Sorry!
January 13, 2018 @ 8:17 pm
On 15 th jan I’m traveling from lima to london via Miami . My first flight is from lima to Miami with British airways and my second flight is from miami to London with British airways . I hav 6 hr stay at miami airport ..can i go outside the miami airport ..i also have CI/D US VISA. I have Indian passport. Can immigration allow me to go outside the miami airport
January 13, 2018 @ 9:26 pm
Hi Amrit! Unfortunately I don’t know enough about what the different visas allow you to do when transiting through the US. You’ll have to go through customs and immigration/passport control and claim and recheck your luggage when you land in Miami, so if you have a visa that allows you to fly through Miami, you can probably leave the airport, but I can’t say for sure. The other thing though is that I don’t think you’ll have enough time to really go into the city or anything. I agree that 6 hours is long enough to want to leave and longer than you want to sit around the airport, but it’ll probably take you an hour or so to get off the plane and through customs and dealing with luggage, and then if you left the airport, you’d need to be back there 1-2 hours before your next flight (they still recommend at least 2 hours for an international flight) and then you have to add in transport time. So I think you’re looking at maybe an hour or 2 tops outside the airport…I’m not sure that’s worth the effort or stress. But if you really want to try it, check with the embassy about what your visa allows you to do, and plan your transport well so you don’t get delayed going back to the airport and miss your flight.
January 11, 2018 @ 10:22 pm
Hi! My husband and I are traveling to Paris in April from the US. We have an 18hr overnight layover in Munich. Will we need a visa to leave the airport? Will our luggage be transferred on to Our Paris flight. What is the procedure for leaving the airport?
Thank you in advance!
January 12, 2018 @ 3:10 pm
Hi Hope! France and Germany are both part of the Schengen Zone, which makes your situation pretty easy. US citizens (and many other nationalities) don’t require a tourist visa to enter the Schengen Zone. So when you land in Munich, you’ll go through customs and immigration whether you’re leaving the airport on your layover or not. Then when you fly from Munich to Paris, it’ll be similar to a domestic flight within the US, so no immigration/passport control in Munich or Paris. This means if you want to leave the airport on your 18 hour layover (I definitely would!) you don’t need to do anything about visas. In most cases, your checked luggage will be transferred from one flight to the next, but with such a long layover, I recommend checking with the airline to be sure. Sometimes with long layovers like this, they can’t even print your next boarding pass. That’s happened to me when flight #2 left more than 24 hours after flight #1’s departure time. If they can’t transfer your luggage due to the long layover, you still have a few options. If you’re getting a hotel for the night, go there first and drop off your luggage. Most hotels will hold it for you even if your room isn’t ready yet. If you’re not getting a hotel, it looks like there are some left luggage options at the Munich airport, though I can’t tell which side of security they’re on: https://www.munich-airport.com/left-luggage-851650. And your third option is to get a locker at the Munich train station. There’s an Sbahn (local transportation train, similar to a subway/metro) that connects the airport to the train station (Munich HBF, or Hauptbahnhof) and it looks like it takes less than 45 minutes. They’re easy to use, and once you’re in the train station, just look for the lockers on the same level as the mainline trains. Aside from luggage, just make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get back to the airport, and you’ll want to be at the airport at least an hour or so before your flight to make sure you can get through security again, and especially if you still need to get your next boarding pass. I hope this helps, and check out our post on things to do in Munich and things to do in Paris!
January 8, 2018 @ 9:14 am
Hi it’s my wife’s first time to fly to Kenya with me and I was gonna book a ticket with long layovers and I have found Zurich to and some places in the states too there like 20 to 24 hours layover is dat a good time frame I need and I think Zurich u can get visa upon arrival your thoughts please
January 8, 2018 @ 12:48 pm
Hi Hussein! It depends on what nationality you are. If you are from a country that does not require a visa ahead of time for the Schengen Zone, there’s not much to it. In that case, you would land in Zurich, go through customs and immigration to get stamped into the Schengen Zone, and then you can go enjoy the city for the day. Then you should get to the airport about 2 hours before your flight to Kenya so you can get your next boarding pass (many airlines won’t be able to print both for you at the first flight since a 20-24 hour layover is longer than normal) and then go through exiting immigration/passport control and the security check. And 20-24 hours in Zurich will give you a nice view of the city, and I imagine you’ll want a hotel to get some sleep that night. I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip!
January 9, 2018 @ 3:41 am
Thank u and I am a Canadian so is my wife
January 9, 2018 @ 2:45 pm
Then yes, you can enter Switzerland and the Schengen Zone without needing a tourist visa, so you’ll just have to get stamped in to start your long layover, and then get stamped out again before your flight to Kenya. Have fun!
January 12, 2018 @ 7:08 pm
I am traveling from the US to Berlin with a 7 hour layover in Copenhagen. I have a Singapore passport with a US green card. My travel agent told me that there is a minimum 10 hour layover required for me to leave the airport to see the sights during my layover. Is he is right? I will only have a carry-on as this is a short trio to Berlin.
Thanks in advance for your expert guidance,
January 13, 2018 @ 9:09 pm
Hi Tony! That’s a really strange thing for your travel agent to say. There is no minimum number of hours required for leaving the airport during a layover. Obviously you’ll be able to see less of the city with 7 hours than you would with 10, but no one is going to stop you from leaving the airport if you want to. Denmark and Germany are both in the Schengen Zone, so you’ll go through customs and immigration when you land in Copenhagen, and then you won’t have to deal with it in Berlin, so there are no visa issues. (There’s more info here on countries that need a visa to travel to Schengen countries, but I don’t see Singapore listed, and the fact that you have a US green card seems to help, too.) So really, you just need to account for the time it will take to get off the plane and get through customs, the time it’ll take to get into the city and back to the airport, and get back to the airport an hour or so ahead of your flight to go through security and get to your gate. That might only leave you with 3 or 4 hours to see the city, depending on the lines at customs and the actual travel time to and from the city, but I think it’s doable. When I went to Copenhagen a few years ago, I took the train/metro from the airport, and it was pretty easy to use. There’s info about transport to and from the Copenhagen airport here. Definitely leave yourself a little extra time to get back to the airport so you don’t miss your flight. I’d suggest either just taking a few hours to explore the center of the city, or look at one or two really specific places you want to go to because you won’t have a ton of time. Copenhagen is a nice city, I hope you enjoy it, and have a great time in Berlin, that’s where I live and it’s wonderful!
January 7, 2018 @ 5:23 am
Hi there, I’m from Canada travelling to Barcelona and will have a 9 hr layover in Lisbon. I don’t have much experience travelling internationally and have never left the airport during a layover. What are the procedures for leaving and returning to the airport with no visa requirement? (Must obtain another boarding pass? Re-enter customs and immigration? etc.) We also will not be checking in our luggage. Thank you!
January 8, 2018 @ 12:43 pm
Hi! Chances are you will receive both boarding passes when you check in for your first flight. If not, you just want to make sure you’re back at the Lisbon airport an hour or so ahead of time to get your next boarding pass. Since Spain and Portugal are both in the Schengen Zone, you will go through customs and immigration when you land in Lisbon, and then you won’t have to deal with it again for the next flight, it’ll be like flying domestic within Canada. So if you want to leave the airport in Lisbon during your layover, proceed through customs and immigration, and then go enjoy the city for a few hours! Make sure you take note of how long it takes to get from the airport to the city and allow at least that much time to get back, plus you should be back an hour or so before your next flight since you’ll have to go through security again. Enjoy!
December 29, 2017 @ 9:05 pm
Hi! I’ll be travelling to the UK for a semester abroad on January 3rd.
I have a connecting flight from Charlotte to New Jersey, where I’ll have a layover of four hours and fifty minutes. From the Newark Liberty International Airport, I will be flying to the Manchester airport in England.
Since New York City is about thirty-five minutes away, I would like to explore for a bit while I’m there. Do you think I will have the time, or should I stay put? Will I need to check my bags again?
On my return flight, I will have a nine hour layover at the same airport. Do you have any tips for what I should do then? This is my first time travelling by plane, so I’m terribly afraid of missing a flight or forgetting to do something.
December 30, 2017 @ 3:31 pm
Hi Sierra! Honestly, I wouldn’t chance it on your flight on January 3rd. I know 4 hours 50 minutes sounds like a long time, but by the time you get off the plane (which takes longer than you’d think) and into the city, you’ll probably be down to less than 4 hours, maybe even 3 hours 30 minutes. Then you have to account for the time back to the airport and getting to the airport at least an hour ahead of your flight, especially since you’ll have to go through security again, and really this leaves you with only about 2 hours or less. Obviously it’s up to you, but less than 2 hours to explore doesn’t seem like it’s worth the stress of getting in and out of the city and any potential delays along the way. In this case, I’d probably just stay in the airport.
But for your layover on the way back, 9 hours should be plenty of time, but remember you’ll have to go through customs and immigration, plus claim and re-check your luggage when you land in Newark. So that plus the time you need to get in and out of the city plus getting back to the airport an hour ahead of time, you’ll probably have 5-6 hours. Definitely give yourself more time than you think you need to get back to the airport just in case. Better to get back earlier than necessary than to be late and miss your flight. Here’s some info about transport between the airport and the city: https://www.panynj.gov/airports/ewr-to-from.html. Make note of the schedule when you’re there so you know what time you need to be back to get to the airport. I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip!
December 29, 2017 @ 3:48 am
Hey m going India 1 feb by shiri lanka air lines and I have 15 hours stay there can I go out side to see Columbia????
December 29, 2017 @ 10:10 am
Hi Jimmy! As long as your nationality isn’t required to have a visa to enter Sri Lanka, you should be fine to leave the airport on your layover and go explore Colombo. Verify with the airline that they will transfer your checked luggage from the first flight to the second. They almost always do, but it’s always good to check with a long layover like this. And make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get back to the airport before your next flight.
December 10, 2017 @ 5:21 pm
Thank for taking the time to explain this.
Do you know if I can leave the Warsaw Airport during a 9 hour layover without a visa?
December 11, 2017 @ 11:02 am
Hi Chaya, it depends on several factors. Are you a passport holder of a country that requires a visa to visit the Schengen countries? If so, you would need a visa to leave the airport on a layover in Warsaw. If you’re already getting a visa to visit another Schengen country, it should be valid for every country in the Schengen Zone, which means you would be able to leave the airport in Warsaw. If you’re from a country that doesn’t need a visa to visit, such as the US or Canada (there are several others), then you would also be allowed to leave the airport on your layover. I hope this helps!
December 5, 2017 @ 5:08 am
I am an US citizen who will be traveling from Sydney Australia back on Qantas to NYC and there will be a layover in SFO for about 12 hours. Can I leave the “In transit” area and hit the town for a few hours if my checked bags are being sent thru to NYC? Will there be any customs issues when I leave SFO for a few hours since I’m coming back to US from Australia and I do not have my bags to clear customs or will I still be clearing customs in NYC? I know I will have to go thru TSA security check again when returning to SFO. New to this international travel situation.
Thank you for your anticipated assistance.
December 5, 2017 @ 11:32 am
Hi Bob! When you land in SFO from Sydney, you will have to go through customs and immigration, plus claim and recheck your luggage. How and where you recheck your luggage varies from one airport to the next, and I’ve only flown domestic from SFO so I’m not sure how they do things. But some airports have a way to recheck your luggage right after you go through customs, so if that’s how SFO does things, I see no reason why you can’t leave the airport and check out the city for a few hours. However, some airports don’t have a recheck area at that point, and instead you have to go to the check-in counter, as if you were starting from that airport, and check your luggage there. In that case, it’s up to the airline’s policy as to whether or not they will take your checked luggage that far ahead of your next flight. If they won’t take your luggage, you might have to take it with you into the city or stay in the airport. Your best bet is to call the airline you’re flying from SFO to NYC and ask them if you will be able to recheck your luggage right away after you land from your international flight. Probably worth having them pull up your flight details so they can see your specific situation when answering your question on this. As for landing in NYC, you won’t do anything special there since all customs procedures are done at the first US airport you land in. Hope this helps!
December 3, 2017 @ 11:08 am
I live in Australia, I expect the rules here to be very similar to the USA so I was wondering if you could book a domestic flight to say Melbourne from Brisbane with a layover in Dubbo, NSW, and then leave permanently at the layover in Dubbo? It would be only a one way ticket.
I just have a situation where a direct flight to Dubbo is quite expensive for me, while the longer flight to Melbourne via Dubbo is half the price? It seems a little ridiculous to me of how a much longer flight is much more economical than the direct one?
These two flights are within the same company, same luggage weight and carry-on, same everything. I have been on the direct flight to Dubbo several times, so I know there’s nothing special about it; it is only a very small plane seating up to 30 I believe.
Ultimately I am just wondering if it is ethical to leave the airport completely and not return without repercussions to possible future flight booking with the same company. Would it better to tell them so they don’t worry where I am; since it is a very small passenger load and smaller company.
Thank you very much.
December 4, 2017 @ 1:24 pm
Hi Susie! I’ve definitely heard of airlines giving people a lot of trouble on future flights if they are a no show for a leg of a flight, like you’re describing. Another thing to consider is your luggage – on such a small plane, your carry-on allowance is likely to be much smaller than normal, so if you have to check a bag, you won’t be able to get to it during your layover. If you are able to go carry-on only, you could leave on your layover instead of taking the next flight. It’s probably worth doing some searches on the airline itself relating to only taking one leg of a flight with a layover and see if you can find people who have done the same thing, whether they have had any problems using that airline in the future.
December 5, 2017 @ 5:58 am
Thank you for the response 🙂
I actually ended calling the airline to see what would happen and how they would react aha, but they actually informed me that the passengers don’t actually get off the plane during the layover.. which is a little annoying for me but what can you do, I suppose.
Thank you 🙂
December 5, 2017 @ 11:34 am
Ah, ok! With an airline that small, it does seem reasonable that the flight would just continue on. Not really the same as if you were flying Qantas or something and they have tons of planes going all over the place, so you’d get out and switch. Sorry!
November 14, 2017 @ 3:22 pm
Hello thank you for taking the time to help people with there questions. I have a somewhat complex travel plan.
I will be flying from London UK to Helsinki where I will be meeting friends before flying out of Helsinki to Tokyo with a 11 hour Layover in Doha in Qatar. I am looking to book a room in the city while in Doha as we arrive mid morning and the connection departs early hours the next morning. Would I have trouble doing this due to visa. Does Qatar have Visa-free entry waiver for British citizenship? Or would be be decided based on the fact I arrived into the country from Finland. Once again thank you.
November 16, 2017 @ 6:50 pm
Hi Jerry! According to this https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/qatar/entry-requirements, British citizens get a 30 day visa waiver on arrival in Qatar. Check with the Qatar embassy to be sure though, I am not a visa expert. In any case, it will always be determined by your citizenship, not the country you’re flying in from. Enjoy your trip!
November 12, 2017 @ 1:38 am
Thanks for helping people understanding the layover policy at the connection airport.
For getting cheaper tickets and get a chance to visit Shanghai, I want to buy China Eastern Airline tickets from San Francisco to Tokyo, then I have to layover in Shanghai for 15 to 18 hours.
I want to leave airport to get some Chinese food, even a hotel to spend the night for 10 hours, Am I allowing to leave airport? Do I have to have Chinese visa to leave and back to Shanghai airport?
It seems I need Chinese visa. But my airplane tickets are not going to China, But to Tokyo, how can I apply Chinese visa?
Great Thanks for your advice!
November 13, 2017 @ 10:56 am
Hi Christina! China allows visa free transit for certain situations. Looks like there’s a 24 hour option and a 72 hour option. It’s only available for certain airports, and it looks like Shanghai is one of them. Here’s some info I found: http://ca.china-embassy.org/eng/sggg/t1047802.htm and https://thepointsguy.com/2017/04/china-without-a-visa/. I’m definitely not an expert on visas, but those articles are a good starting point. Check with the embassy about how to apply for the transit visa, and it sounds like as long as you’re from one of the countries listed, you should qualify. Have fun!
May 17, 2019 @ 12:11 am
Hi I am travelling to Spain for 15 days from delhi but I have a layover at Helsinki airport for 5 hrs. Then I have a flight to Malaga. Can I exit the airport
May 17, 2019 @ 9:29 am
Hi Atra! I’m not sure you’d get to do a lot in that amount of time, but you can leave the airport in Helsinki. Remember you’ll need time for getting off the plane, getting through customs and immigration, and getting into the city. Then you’ll need time at the end of your layover to get back to the airport and back through security. (No customs/immigration though since you’ll already be in the Schengen Zone.) So just make sure you calculate all of that before you decide if you’re going to leave the airport. When I look at google maps, public transport seems to take 45 minutes to an hour from the airport to the city center, while by car/taxi would take around 30 minutes, assuming there’s no traffic at the time of day when you’re doing this. So going by taxi with no traffic, you’d probably have 2 hours tops in the city, maybe a little less. Going by public transport, you’d have an hour at the most. Make sure it’s worth the stress!
November 7, 2017 @ 5:31 am
I will be arriving around 1 am morning from an int’l flight at Terminal 2 at Mumbai, then leave my bags at the left luggage area outside the terminal somewhere near taxi rank. Then I want to enter the departure lounge to spend about 4 hours till it’s daylight.
Can I exit the departure terminal and return around 3.30 pm for my domestic flight from terminal 2
November 11, 2017 @ 10:59 am
Hi Charles! Yes, you shouldn’t have a problem leaving the airport during your layover. Check with the airline to see if they’re going to transfer your checked luggage from the first flight to the second. Usually they do, though with a longer layover like this, there’s a chance they won’t. But if they do transfer your luggage, you won’t have to deal with the left luggage area. Also, is the departure lounge past the security checkpoint? Sounds like it would be, which means you’ll have to go through security again to hang out there. Just something to keep in mind.
October 29, 2017 @ 9:17 am
How luggage system works in layover time. I have 12hr of layover time and if I want to go out side of airport, do I need to collect luggage or can leave at the airport (as per transfer facility). How does it work? I am flying from Delhi India to Bangkok and layover at Kolkata city.
October 30, 2017 @ 5:31 pm
Hi Diwakar! Usually your luggage is automatically transferred from one flight to the next. Sometimes with a long layover, like your 12 hour layover, they won’t be able to transfer it, but most of the time they do. To confirm, you should call the airline and have them look at your itinerary and you can ask if they will be transferring your luggage despite the long layover time. Probably also worth confirming it with the agent when you check in since they’re the one actually putting the tag on your luggage. If they will transfer it, perfect! If they can’t, you’ll have to collect it and recheck it in before your next flight. If there are lockers or a luggage hold at the airport, you can leave your bags there while you go into Kolkata, otherwise you’ll have to take the luggage with you.
July 7, 2018 @ 9:21 am
Hi ! I will be traveling from usa to milan but on my way back from milan to london, and conecting flight from london to atlanta I have a layover of 13 hours, can I live the airport on london to go to a hotel to have some rest and come back to the airport? What about my lugagge? I’m flying on brithish airways from milan to london and virgin atlantic from london to atlanta, do they transfer my lugagge or do I have to get it and re check it?
Have a woderful day
July 7, 2018 @ 10:37 am
Hi Oscar! I’m going to assume you’re a US citizen since you mentioned traveling from the US and back again. If that is the case, you don’t need a visa to enter the UK, so you’ll be able to go through immigration/passport control and customs in London and then go explore the city for a few hours or go to a hotel. As for your luggage, that depends on a few things. Did you book the two flights on one itinerary? As far as I can tell, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are not in the same airline alliance, which means they might not be able to access each other’s info. That means they might not be able to tag your checked luggage in Milan to be transferred to the second flight in London. If that’s the case, you’ll need to claim your luggage and recheck it. I suggest contacting British Airways to see if they will be able to transfer your luggage to the Virgin Atlantic flight, and contacting Virgin Atlantic to find out how far ahead of your flight you can check your luggage if it can’t be transferred. If the luggage check time frame doesn’t work with your arrival time, you can probably find a place to store your luggage. I found a few sites with info, for Heathrow here and for Gatwick here. Although if your plan is to go to a hotel, it might just be easier to take your luggage with you. And finally, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get back to the airport for your next flight. Aside from potentially having to check your luggage, you’ll also have to go through exiting passport control and security. I hope this helps, and have a great trip!
November 23, 2018 @ 3:25 am
Hello I am in the same boat 5 hours in London. American citizen traveling back. Is it worth grabbing a quick bite to see London?
November 23, 2018 @ 11:22 am
Hi Pam! Unfortunately I wouldn’t bother leaving the airport with a 5 hour layover in London. I’m not sure where your first flight is coming from, but if it’s from somewhere outside of the UK, you’ll have to go through immigration and customs in London, which could take quite a bit of time depending on the lines. Plus just the time to get off the plane and through the airport. Then it takes a minimum of 30 minutes, maybe a lot more depending on which airport you’re talking about and the mode of transport you choose, to get into the city. Let’s say it takes an hour each direction, then you’ve already lost 2 hours, plus you’re probably losing another hour getting off the plane and through immigration, so you’re up to 3 hours. Now you still need to get back to the airport before your next flight, and if your next flight is to the US (sounds like it is) you’ll have to go through exiting passport control to get stamped out of the UK, and there could be long lines there too. Plus you have to go through security again. The normal suggestion of getting to the airport 2 hours ahead of an international flight is still valid in this situation. So you really don’t have enough time to go into the city on your layover. I know 5 hours sounds like it should be enough, but I don’t think it will work in this case. Even if your timing was perfect with the trains into and out of the city and it only takes you 30 minutes or so in each direction, I think you’d have maybe 30 minutes in the city, and what a stressful 30 minutes that would be. I’d suggest staying in the airport.
February 25, 2019 @ 11:17 pm
I am in a similar boat as the two others here. I have an 11 hour layover in London from Milan to Orange County, CA. Is the current status that I still do not have to secure an additional visa? Also, I am thinking of only having a carry on so there would be no need to check-in any bags.
February 26, 2019 @ 6:11 pm
Hi Jenny! It depends on your nationality. If you’re a US citizen, Canadian citizen, citizen of an EU country, or several others, you do not need a visa to visit the UK/London. I’m not a visa expert, but this website looks like a good place to start to see if you are required to get a visa: https://www.gov.uk/transit-visa. So assuming you don’t need a visa, when you land in London, you’ll go through customs and immigration to get stamped into the UK. Then you can go check out the city for a few hours. Be sure to get back to the airport with plenty of time because you’ll need to go through exiting passport control to get stamped out of the UK, and you’ll need to go through security. Check out this site https://www.toandfromtheairport.com/london.php to look up the airport your layover is in and then find transport options in and out of the city.
August 29, 2017 @ 7:55 am
I have 2 days of layover in barcelona my question is can i leave the airport to take a tour in barcelona? Thank you
September 4, 2017 @ 11:10 am
If you have 2 days for a layover, you will probably need a Schengen visa, depending on which country you’re from. Most airlines will look at your flights as two separate flights, and there’s most likely no way to avoid going through customs and immigration. You will most likely have to claim any checked luggage and take it with you as well. So if you’re from a country that is required to get a Schengen visa, make sure you apply for that, and then enjoy your quick visit to Barcelona during your layover!
May 22, 2016 @ 1:50 am
There really is a lot of considerations for those hoping to leave the airport on a layover … for the longer ones, it’s a good idea to try if it’s legal though!