So you’re about to embark on your first big trip to the other side of the globe. You’ve skipped many a night out to save, listened to subliminal language learning in your sleep, and researched all the wonderful things to see and do at your ultimate destination.
The only blot on your horizon is that eight-hour stopover you have on the way (because let’s face it, Australia is quite a distance from pretty much everywhere). You'll be stuck inside an airport with nothing to do but wait it out until you can continue on toward your holiday.
But what if we told you it doesn’t have to be quite that bleak?
If you apply the same forethought and pre-planning you used in the lead-up in your holiday to plan your stopover, you’ll see there are plenty of ways to help you stay refreshed, entertained, and ready for that next leg of your journey.
Expectation vs Reality
Let’s face it – when we think of a stopover within an airport, the images that immediately spring to mind aren’t the most flattering. Long queues, uncomfortable waiting chairs, people sleeping on the floor in between flights, unhealthy food options, and all that harsh, stark lighting.
Thankfully, many of the larger transit airports have picked up on the transit traveller being a captive audience, and have stepped up in terms of what’s on offer for these customers.
These days, you can check out your transit airport online ahead of time and familiarise yourself with the entertainment options available. Then, you can plan what you would like to see or do, if there are any lounges you have access to, or what duty-free shopping you may want to do.
Some of our other favourite ways to pass time include:
- Munich International Airport, where you can surf a stationary wave in August, or explore a Christmas Market in December.
- Changi Airport, Singapore, which has a rooftop pool, an orchid garden, a butterfly garden and an airport slide.
- Seoul's Incheon Airport boasts an ice-staking rink, a golf driving range and a Korean Culture Museum.
Recovering From Your Flight
Long-haul flying can be a taxing experience on the mind and body, but many transit airports now have a range of options to help you combat the stress and fatigue that cater to both the active and inactive relaxer.
Have restless legs after sitting still for a long period of time? Why not hit the gym for a spot of exercise? Many large international airports now have a recreation centre or a transit hotel attached to it – with facilities available to those passing through.
Couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep on the plane and can now barely keep your eyes open? Find yourself a nap room and you’ll be dreaming of your final destination in no time. Just be sure to set your alarm with plenty of time to wake up refreshed and ready to move on.
Feeling a bit worse for wear after a 10-hour flight? Not only are there usually plenty of places to grab a quick shower, but there are often also spa facilities available. Relax those tense muscles with a massage, or treat yourself to a pedicure to get that spring back in your step.
There can be a myriad of options available to make your time in the airport during a stopover not only bearable, but also an enjoyable part of your holiday.
You’ll no doubt already have the foreign currency sorted for your final destination, but if you’ll be finding yourself in the airport of yet another country during your stopover, you’ll want to make sure to pick up some of that country's currency for use there as well.
We recommend you don’t just leave your stopover currency exchange until you arrive at your stopover destination. Typically, airport currency exchange providers don’t offer the best rates when compared to what you could get elsewhere, as you’re paying for the convenience of this last-minute transaction through additional fees and less favourable rates.
Plus, if your flight lands at an odd hour, you may even find that they aren't open – then you're stuck with the airport ATM, which will have poor exchange rates and ATM fees.
An alternative option to taking cash with you for your holiday or your stopover is a prepaid travel money card. This is an especially handy option if your stopover and your final destination both use currencies supported by the same card, like our Travel Money Nz Cash Passport.
For example, if your flight to London is taking you via Singapore, you can preload your currency card with both British Pounds and Singapore Dollars, and voila – you have your foreign currency sorted for both your stopover and your holiday, all stored on one easy-to-use travel money card.
So if you need Qatari Riyal for your tour of Doha, Dirham for that shopping in Dubai, Hong Kong Dollars for a round of golf, a travel money card for multiple currencies, or up to 60 different international currencies (as cash), don’t leave yourself at the mercy of airport exchange rates. Come and see the FXperts at Travel Money Oz, who will help you make the most of your stopover time.
You can order your foreign currency online 24/7, and then just collect it from any Travel Money Oz store.
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