How to make the most of your stopover when travelling for business
There are many reasons one can find oneself having a stopover. Whether planned or impromptu, how do you transform your stopover from dead time in an airport to a productive or pleasurable experience?
Flights with stopovers are often cheaper than flying direct – although many of us would consider it worth paying that little bit extra if it meant we avoided several hours sitting in an airport lounge. This makes particular financial sense for high-value members of staff where those wasted hours come with an expensive price tag.
Why do travellers opt for a stopover?
Cost saving isn’t the only reason for agreeing to a stopover.
Transferring on from your home airport to a major hub, or transferring on to a more convenient arrival location are two good reasons for choosing a stopover.
Sometimes they aren’t chosen – and are forced on us following a delay; making it even harder to use the time productively.
Increasingly, as part of the ‘bleisure’ trend, we are seeing travellers choose to extend their stopovers from hours into a few days over a weekend or combining them with annual leave.
Make the most of lounge entitlements
For most of us, sitting in an airport drinking over-priced coffee and facing a distinct lack of fresh air or seating is not a particularly enticing prospect.
The easiest way around this, of course, is to book lounge access. If you are lucky enough to be travelling first class or business class you will be able to access the lounges within the price of your ticket. There is usually a choice of options, so it is worth comparing the facilities of each lounge available to you.
Even if you’re not travelling first class or business class, you can purchase lounge access separately – speak to your travel counsellor if you would like to do this.
It’s also worth checking whether any of your personal banking, credit cards, or corporate travel schemes entitle you to complimentary lounge access, as some do.
Take the opportunity to see the sights
First, and most important, do your homework about the stopover airport, customs and security considerations, and proximity to local cities and attractions.
There’s no point planning to see the sights of a city if the airport is 20km from the centre, has poor transport links, or you are going to be trapped on the wrong side of the customs desk.
If you do want to fit in a little sightseeing, talk to your travel counsellor (and your boss!) about the possibilities of splitting the return ticket to give you more time in the stopover location. Depending on flight times and availability, this needn’t be a more expensive option – it may even be cheaper.
Work out what you’re going to do with your luggage – can you check it straight back in? Is it light enough to take with you? Are there facilities in the first-class lounge where you can safely stow your luggage while sightseeing? Or are you going to add an overnight stopover and leave the luggage at your hotel?
Get some work done
If you know you are going to have a stopover, planning ahead and organising work to do during those hours is a good way to spend the time.
Make sure you have what you need in your hand luggage, including charging cables and power-packs for your devices.
Booking into a business-class lounge is a good way to secure some quiet space in pleasant surroundings conducive to getting work done.
More than likely, lounge access will also secure you access to complimentary Wi-Fi, so it can be a good opportunity to wade through all the emails that accumulated in your inbox while you were in the sky.
Relax and rejuvenate
The other great advantages of having lounge access are the complimentary showers and spa treatments.
A facial or massage can be a really good way to unwind after a long flight, especially if you have another long flight ahead of you.
Be aware, though, that these aren’t universally available 24/7 and many lounges that offer these services will require you to book in advance. Check the specific services and entitlements associated with your particular ticket and lounge access and make sure you pre-book if necessary.
With a bit of research and planning, it’s straightforward to transform your stopover into a pleasurable experience. If you would like any help to plan a stopover – or extend one to allow for leisure travel – please speak with you Travel Counsellor.
Give us a call on +44 (0) 161 464 5350 or fill in the form below and let us call you back.