Layovers: How Much Time Do You Need To Leave The Airport?

Depending upon your layover destination and airline, layovers can be anywhere between a couple of hours to 24 hours. For longer layovers, travelers may be tempted to leave the airport and wander to the layover destination. While passengers are allowed to leave the airport for layovers longer than 6 hours, there are many factors to keep in mind.

Domestic Flight or International

First of all, it is important to know what type of flight you’re on whether it is international or domestic. While it is much easier to leave the airport and see the city on a domestic layover, the chances of layover on domestic flights are very low since the airline is flying within the same country. Supposedly in case of a layover during a domestic flight, the layover duration is short. In international flights, layovers are usually longer and it gives passengers ample time to leave the airport and sightsee the layover destination.

Visa-Free Access

While it is truly an incredible way to add destinations to your traveling bucket, it comes with some complications. The most important one is whether you have the right to enter the country and leave the airport. This depends upon your visa and having the right to enter the layover country depends upon your visa. Some countries have very strong visas and some don’t. Certain visas can grant you visa-free access to multiple countries. Either way, as you leave the airport and re-enter the airport during the layover, you will have to go through immigration and customs.

Some countries also grant a special transit visa for passengers leaving the airport to travel to the country. This is available for a very short duration of time. However, some countries demand visas in advance from customers wishing to leave the airport. This could be obtained online or through an embassy.


The next important factor is the traffic. Depending upon your layover destination and the distance of the airport from the city, traffic is a highly important factor. During layovers, you have a limited amount of time. If you plan to leave the international zone of the airport and enter the country, each second is valuable. So, ensure that everything you have planned for your little tour of the layover destination is planned according to the time constraints. You can also connect with a local guide and beware him of the situation. This way he will be able to devise a tour for you that takes as little time as possible.

Airport Distance

Some cities have multiple airports, one may be closer to the city than the other. If you are leaving the airport to sightsee the city, have a well-calculated measure of the time. Keep 2-3 hours as a cushion in case you get stuck in traffic and get late.

Layovers are an interesting way to explore the city. While the time constraint makes it a bit stressful and short, the adrenaline rush is amazing. We hope you found this guide useful. Happy traveling.

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