How to extend your holiday with a stopover

Jodie Love on 16 November 2020
Holiday stopovers are one of my all time favourite things about a longhaul holiday... Why? Because you're basically getting two holidays in one. There's no worse feeling than packing your suitcase ready to come home and wondering how the time flew by so quick. So what if you weren't coming straight home, but instead you had a few days in another amazing destination to look forward to! Most people don't even realise this is a possibility let alone know how to book stopover flights which is another great reason to get in touch with an expert like me who can help you choose the best stopovers for your route. Here's a quick guide to the most common stopovers you may have been missing out on.

Middle East Stopovers If you're travelling east or south to Asia, Oceania or Africa then the likelihood of flying with Emirates, Qatar or Etihad is pretty high. These airlines all transit through either Dubai, Doha or Abu Dhabi which are all amazing destinations in their own right and well worth a visit. I've experienced a stopover in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Both city centres are super close to the airport too which make it even more ideal. These destinations are ideal for a stopover as two or three nights in each is perfect to take in all the main highlights and tick another destination off your bucket list. Don't miss a trip to the desert from any of these destinations. If you stop in Abu Dhabi be sure to take a trip to Qa?r Al-Wa?an (the white palace) - there is a city sightseeing bus in Abu Dhabi which takes you here as well as all the other main sights, ideal if you don't have long but want to see everything. Dubai has loads on offer but the marina at night and the Burj Khalifa are both pretty special and shouldn't be missed.

Asia Stopovers If you're travelling within Asia or further afield to Australia or New Zealand then your most common stopovers (if not in the middle east) are likely to be Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. This would mean you are travelling with either Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines or Malaysian Airlines. Again three incredible destinations, all suitable for a quick three night stop either on the way or on the way back from your actual destination. I've been lucky enough to visit all three and there's bags to do and see in each location. Expect incredible food, trendy rooftop bars, jaw-dropping architecture and bags of culture whichever stop you choose. Don't miss Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, The Peak in Hong Kong and KLCC Park in Kuala Lumpur.

European Stopovers European stopovers are common if you're travelling to the US, South America, Africa and some parts of Asia. My top three stopover locations are Paris, Amsterdam and Lisbon if you're flying with either Air France, KLM or TAP Portgual. These three destinations are popular with UK tourists for weekend breaks anyway but if you haven't yet got round to visiting and your flight happens to stop here along the way then why not take the time to explore a new place before or after your holiday. Again all ideal for two to three nights and all offer cheap transport links into the city centre. In Paris be sure not to miss the Eiffel Tower in the evening, it's a beautiful place to sit and enjoy a late evening coffee. Amsterdam - I'm often asked if the Anne Frank museum was worth the queue (we queued for over two hours) and yes it absolutely is so if you have the time be sure to factor this into your stay. Lisbon be sure to check out the iconic Elevador de Bica, a super steep tram journey with plenty of Instagram worthy photo opportunities.

North America Stopovers If you're heading to South America, New Zealand, the South Pacific islands, Canada or the US you might find yourself flying with one of the US national carriers, Air New Zealand or Air Canada. These airlines all offer wonderful stopover opportunities including my top three favourite options - Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto. These are all destinations you could quite easily head to for your actual holiday however they're also great cities to explore in three or four nights. They all offer great transport links from the airport to the city centre giving you plenty of options no matter your budget. In LA, Santa Monica is a great area to base yourself in if you want to be close to the beach and the airport. It's also a great base to explore Venice Beach, Beverley Hills and Hollywood. If you're a keen hiker head to Griffith Park and hike up to the Hollywood sign for spectacular views over Los Angeles. Miami is another perfect location for a stopover, especially if you're planning an adventure holiday as this will give you a few extra days at the start or end to relax on the beach before you head home. Spend some time relaxing on Miami Beach before exploring the Art Deco district where the pastel painted buildings offer great spots for a bite to eat. Toronto offers everything you need for a city break style stopover with delicious food, outstanding museums and galleries, wonderous beaches and a buzzing nightlife. For the best beaches head to Toronto Island where everything takes on a slower pace, you will also be delighted by the views back over the city. If you have a day to spare head out to Niagara Falls to tick another spectacular sight off the bucket list.

Stopovers often add very little cost to your holiday and can sometimes even make your flights cheaper so it's an option well worth checking out! If you'd like to make the most of your next holiday and explore possible stopover destinations get in touch and I'd be happy to help you with a bespoke itinerary.