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  • Writer's pictureDonna Zabel

Turn a Layover Into a Bonus Mini Adventure!

When traveling through the world’s most desirable destinations, it is possible to turn a layover into a short trip with little additional cost.

Dubai Gold

Interested in experiencing the glitz and glamour of Dubai? Fly Emirates and use the airline’s Dubai Stopover program on your way to explore the rest of the Arabian Peninsula or points further on. Emirates now flies everywhere, including to popular African countries. It is not free, but you will get special rates negotiated by the airline—and they take care of any necessary paperwork. You can use the money saved by shopping in the world-famous gold souk. Etihad, the national airline of Abu Dhabi, has a similar program with a free one-night stay or a discounted multi-night stay. Even a one-night stay will give you time to see the amazing National Museum or the new Louvre.


Closer to home, Icelandair offers one of the best-known stopover packages. Break up your travel to Europe with a couple of days in the land of fire and ice with no additional ticket cost. Iceland Travel has options for your stay. Swiss Air’s Swiss Stopover Switzerland has a similar program, although more organized and structured (this is Switzerland, after all) with packages of one to four days available through their booking portal.

Hagia Sophia - Istanbul, Turkey

Why limit yourself to a European stopover when you can visit one of the world’s most ancient and fascinating cities…for FREE! Determined to compete with carriers who have dominated the European skies for decades, Turkish Airlines has launched an impressive expansion of their flights. With that comes one of the best stopover programs. Flying business class? Book flights with a layover of more than 20 hours and you can stay in a five-star hotel for as long as two days. Flying economy? Those same flights get you a stay in a four-stay hotel for one day. Not sure how to spend the time? Book a free city tour. In fact, your layover may qualify you for the city tour even if not long enough for the free hotel room.

There are more deals out there for intrepid travelers looking to squeeze the most from those long flights. Some are more tempting than others. All involve advance planning and making sure you observe the airlines rules and regulations. Sometimes it is most important to get to your primary destination as fast as possible, but I will never forget the hot shower, dinner, and hours in a real bed on a long layover in Dubai before facing another long flight to my final destination. Yes, the shopping at the Gold Souk beckoned, but I decided to wait for another visit to buy my necklace.

For more information about planning your travel adventures, contact DreamMaker Destinations: or call 330-689-1920.



Donna Zabel, owner of DreamMaker Destinations, has been helping travelers turn their travel dreams into travel reality for over 20 years. Having explored all seven continents and about 135 countries, she enjoys sharing her travel tales and encourages everyone to find their own story to tell.

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