To stopover or not to stopover is a question that any one who has endured a long haul flight just once – asks themselves. As Australians, we are veterans of the long haul flight. They do not get any easier, trust me. We have done the 6-hour stopover and not forked out for a hotel. Big mistake. Sleeping on the floor of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok was awful. Then we had to face the longer part of the journey onto Europe. We arrived as total cot cases and paid the price by wasting our valuable holiday time with the dreaded jet lag hangover.
We should have organized our flights better. Either a quicker turn around or a longer stopover where a hotel is either included or it is worth our time and money to pay for one and maybe get to see some sites. Even a quicker stopover however is not always a great solution to arriving bright eyed and bushy tailed. In many respects, you only have time for a quick stretch of your legs and a ‘decent’ coffee and maybe a shower if you are a member of the club but then it is back on for the rest of the journey.
Your body and your mind do not have time to regroup so I don’t think that this is the best option either. We have done it to make the most of our time at our final destination, but it comes at a cost when you sleep through the first part of it.
Jet lag is the real question in whether to stopover or not, not to mention that being stuck inside an airplane for longer gets just a bit tedious. Jet lag after a long haul flight can hit like a ton of bricks and last for days.
A stopover, be it overnight or a day and a bit gives you a much better chance of not wasting a few precious days of your holiday by sleeping and feeling dreadful. Yes, you may waste one at the beginning for a stopover but the dividends are worth it. If planned correctly, you can also have a quick look around the place.
Anything more than an 8-hour flight for us, is a long haul flight requiring strategising. When we go to Europe it tends to be via Dubai, which is a 13-hour flight, and if we get the right flight then a hotel is included in the cost. This allows us to go to the hotel, have a shower, sleep in a real bed and then grab some breakfast before heading back to the airport for generally a 7-hour flight to Europe, which is chicken feed. We arrive in good spirits and avoid the worst of jet lag. Yes we may wake up at 2am once and think that it is morning but that only lasts a day.
Hotels around major airports abound with cheap and clean hotels. It is big business catering for the long haul passenger and many are business people. We were silly not to just pay the money and have a bit of comfort at Bangkok, and avoid the jetlag that we really got badly in Rome.
We don’t worry about our luggage as we always have it sent through to our final destination, so we just have our carry on and if we have time to see some sites, then we just leave this at the hotel.
To stop over or not to stop over? My answer for a long haul flight is obvious.