A lot of people want to know: how do you know when you can leave the airport on a layover? For most layovers, you can leave the transit area in between flights, as long as you go through customs and immigration on the way out, and of course you’ll have to pass through security again on your way back into the airport. However, some tickets may not permit you to leave the airport. Always check beforehand with your airline to see if your ticket allows you to leave the transit area.
You will also have to check ahead of time to see if you’ll need a visa to enter the destination that you’re arriving at. Check out our widget (right hand side of the website) for a quick check to see if you’d need to apply for a visa.
Take into account that for many countries, you will have to go through Customs and Immigration upon your first point of entry, regardless of whether you’re connecting.
Another thing to be aware of is your luggage. If you have a layover, always check beforehand with your airline to see if you can check your luggage through to your final destination. Many lengthy layovers (often times up to 24 hours) are actually considered a connection, so often times you can check it all the way through. In a lot of airports, you will sometimes have to pick up and re-check your luggage. If you need to pick up or hold onto your luggage, you can always leave it in the airport at a locker or Left Luggage facility. You can find out where these facilities are at the airport’s website. If the airport does not offer storage for luggage, you can always leave them in a cheap hotel room while you explore the city.
Always check with the information desk about the best (and if applicable, least expensive way) to get out of the airport and around the city. If you are not familiar with the area, or the language, budget for plenty of extra time to get back to the airport, in case of delays or navigational errors. Also, take into account traffic, and distance when computing the time that you have to see the sights.
For specific information for each airport and destination, as well as suggestions of things to do, check out our Layover Guides to specific cities worldwide, Layover Guides A-Z.
For additional layover tips, check out “What To Pack For A Layover,” How Much Time Do You Need To Leave The Airport,” Catching Connecting Flights: What You Need To Know and “Tips For Making The Most Out Of Your Layover.”