two people on a beach

When you run a travel site, a unintended consequence is becoming a frequent reader of the comments section. It has it’s pitfalls, but it really also has its perks. Every day I get to see peoples reaction to flight deals, ways to use points, potential destinations, frequently made mistakes and other travel decisions. I’ve decided it’s time to turn traditional negatives into travel positives.

a screenshot of a flight schedule“Its A Long Layover”

When most people hear long layover they cringe. When I hear long layover, I think “side trip”. A three hour layover isn’t perfect, but a layover of five hours or more can be an amazing way to side trip, taking in a (potentially) great city, even if for one special meal. After all, airplane food does suck. I’ve had some of my favorite travel memories, taking advantage of things like an 18 hour layover in Los Angeles. Quick rental car, drive around the Hollywood Hills, coffee in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica for dinner and sunset. It’s incredible and if you don’t need to spend a night, it’s an incredibly affordable to get a great preview for future travel planning.

a street sign in a city“I Don’t Speak The Language”

I adore five star hotels, soft cotton robes and bath slippers as much as the next person. What I’m trying to say is: I get it. Travelers seek comfort, familiarity and things they understand. Traveling to a land where people speak a different language, and really don’t have much interest in any other languages can be inherently terrifying. But its also the best. Your true sense of adventure and understanding human commonality come alive when forced to communicate on a different level. I’ve found some of the most fulfilling excitement in my life trying to fidget with the Japanese subway system, or remember my limited Spanish in the desert of Mexico. Don’t deprive yourself of new power and memories by just sticking to the comfortable.

a pool with lounge chairs and a building with water in the background“Hotels Are Expensive”

So why bother with them? We love the traditional hotel as much as the next person, but there’s something exciting about being forced slightly out of your comfort zone and exploring Airbnb’s and other sharing economy options. You can find the same privacy or better, and often double the space just for trying something new. Sydney Australia is a city with high hotel prices, but really affordable Airbnb’s. I recently stayed at the Park Hyatt and found everything but the view underwhelming. We moved over to a $100 a night Airbnb which was in the most emerging part of town full of restaurants bars and boutiques supporting the young professional culture in the area.

two people walking on a beach“It’s Really Far”

YOLO. It’s the truth: you only live once. Every day we publish flight deals to and from places all over the world and my goal every day is to illustrate the possibilities that exist, especially ones people wouldn’t necessarily consider. Growing up in New York, everyone went to Florida for vacation and everyone would complain about how expensive flights were/are. The truth is, going to Beijing for the extended weekend may actually be cheaper. Believe it or not airlines are offering more and more sales where the farthest reaching places are actually completely affordable. We’ve seen Bali from both coasts of the US for just $330 bucks this year. BALI! You can get an amazing massage in Bali for $7 bucks. Try doing that in Florida. Sometimes you just need to read great tips for surviving economy (or hopefully using points to fly business) and get out there.

Am I crazy?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Nice article. I 100% agree on the beauty of long layovers: often far better than overnights, especially if an early morning departure is involved.

  2. Totally agree. I once booked a trip via United Airlines from LAX to the Philippines and chose the longest 2 layovers available (HNL and NRT). My wife and I were able to visit and spend the night with her best friend who lives in Honolulu and we also visited my pal who lives in Tokyo who I haven’t seen in 10 years and have street food lunch with him!

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