Destinations

The top 5 surprising stopover cities

Forget about your dreaded delay and turn it into a Savvy Sojourn with these unexpected stopover destinations.

With a flight time of 20+ hours to favourite northern hemisphere destinations, Australians are accustomed to a Singapore or Hong Kong stopover.

But with new visa-free transit hubs, fresh flight routes and competitive deals all on offer, plane doors are opening up to less-trodden, unexpected cities, allowing locals see more for less.

“Cheapflights data shows that the majority (82 per cent) of Aussies opt for destinations more than seven hours away, making a stopover inevitable,” Nathan Graham, Regional Sales Manager at Cheapflights ANZ, said.

“Rather than resenting the wait, a well-planned stop means you can extend your holiday with a mini break and visit a popular destination for just a fraction of the usual cost.

“Think Honolulu, which has seen a 93 per cent increase in searches year-on-year, or Sydney’s number one destination in Asia Pacific, China.”

To help inspire your next trip, Cheapflights.com.au has identified five emerging stopover cities that will get locals in the holiday vibe before arriving at their final destination:

1. Shanghai, China

Instead of the traditional stop in Singapore, embark on a Chinese adventure. China Eastern Airlines connects Sydney and Melbourne with five major cities in western Europe via its Shanghai base.

And the 144-hour visa free transit for Australian passport holders is a great incentive to explore the city – from the iconic riverfront boardwalk ‘The Bund’ to Old Shanghai.

2. Doha, Qatar

Consider swapping Dubai for a stay in Doha. If you fly with Qatar Airlines from now until 30 September, you can also score one free night at a local four or five-star hotel.

The online transit visa application allows between five and 96 hours in the country – just enough time to experience a desert safari, boat cruise along Corniche Bay, or visit the Museum of Islamic Arts.

3. Delhi, India

Air India flights now transit through New Delhi, to connect Melbourne and Sydney with London and nine other European cities. Delve into the colour and chaos of this vibrant city, guaranteed to make the start of your holiday unforgettable.

The Taj Mahal is a day trip in itself, and with more time up your sleeve you could also see the pink city of Jaipur (capital of Rajasthan).

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

New York is clearly a top destination for Aussies with a 51 per cent spike in year-on-year searches via Cheapflights. But rather than the usual layover in Los Angeles, choose to start your holiday early by sipping cocktails on one of Hawaii’s famous beaches or embark on a hiking adventure to soak-up breathtaking views.

It’s the perfect distance to break up your trip and enjoy some much-needed R&R before hitting the busy hub of NYC.

5. Seoul, South Korea

Another destination that may not spring to mind is Seoul in South Korea. The free city tours, aka ‘Transit Tours’ provided by the airport, are a great way to see the city and you can take one that fits into your schedule (from one to six hours).

For a longer stay, enjoy the city’s many attractions including a visit to the Gyeongbokgung Palace or traditional Bukchon Hanok Village, followed by a delicious Korean barbeque dining experience!


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