When I'm booking a flight, I don't search by shortest duration, I sort by longest. My favorite flights are those that include one or more really long layovers during the day in an interesting location.
Earlier today I hiked up Diamondhead, ate a Hawaiian burger, waded into the ocean at Waikiki, and visited the Honolulu Art Museum. But I'm not on vacation in Hawaii, I'm on a six hour layover on my way to Tokyo.
My favorite way to do a long layover is to have a big list of things I want to do, and then hit them at whatever pace I feel like. I want to avoid wasted time at all cost, but not rush myself.
We rented a car in Hawaii, which is almost always worth it in these situations. For $40, we were able to avoid any sort of waiting around or having to conform to time tables. We did things like lunch and the hike, where we'd have only limited control over our schedules, early so that we wouldn't end up in a situation where we haven't got the check yet and we have to hustle back to the airport.
The museum was really fantastic. It had some of the best Japanese woodblock prints I've ever seen, the best Roy Lichtenstein I've ever seen, and a solid collection of Goryeo dynasty pottery. My friend Brian is really into sculpting (he created Oculus Medium), so he was excited about the great Rodin exhibit they had. We ended up spending a little more time there than expected, but when an activity is a 10/10 there's no benefit to rushing yourself.
We were hoping to have time to swim or bodysurf at Waikiki, but our time spent at the museum only left us with about twenty minutes there. We still felt great about it, though, because a layover is all bonus time. We ended up doing a nice sampler of Honolulu, and we can do more next time we're here.
Sometimes you'll have a shorter layover, like just two or three hours. I really like having those in certain European cities like Amsterdam where it's quick and easy to get into the city. In those cases I'll choose just one thing to do that has a variable length, like visiting a museum, and focus on that. Once in Amsterdam I hustled onto a train to head to the Delft just to see one Vermeer painting. Another time my friend Leo and I played a round of pitch-and-putt golf in Vancouver on a four-hour layover.
Breaking up a trip with a great layover makes it feel like two shorter trips. I feel like I'm on a nice short eight hour direct flight to Tokyo, not a thirteen-hour connecting flight. And my whole trip to Hawaii cost around $50. Not bad!
I really love finding things that are undervalued because other people don't like them, and then figuring out a way to turn them into something that adds value for me. A nice long layover is perfect. Sometimes I'll even take a long layover just to hang out in a good airport lounge. I love the Centurion Lounge in Dallas, so I'd prefer a connecting flight with a few hours there than a direct flight.
Photo is the view from the top of Diamondhead.
Sorry about the extremely late post this week-- got caught up with Christmas stuff.
I have a ten hour layover in Seoul tomorrow. What should I do while I'm there? I've never had the courage to leave the airport during a layover before, but this looks like it should be easy, being Korea and during the daytime.
agree with your general point. my trip home from hawaii last month included 12 hours in san diego.
i decided i was too tired (from a tropical vacation) to change my flight to stay a few more days, and my time there was mostly walking in the rain trying to find a youth hostel, but was still an adventure. one downside was i had to use some of the room in my one bag for a sweater, because i knew i coming back through chicago.
Last night I landed in Florence. I had four layovers on the way here, which doesn't sound like a positive thing at first, but I booked them intentionally. Very frequently, if I have a long flight, I'll book tons of long layovers and actually leave the airport on each one.
My first layover was in Newark for almost five hours, so I rented a car, drove to see my family in New Jersey for a couple hours, and then headed back to the airport. My next flight brought me to Lisbon for two hours, which was a layover I couldn't avoid, but was too short to enjoy. It was early in the morning when I landed, and it was a short flight to my next destination, Amsterdam, so I got there early as well. I had twenty-two hours in Amsterdam, so I checked into my airport hotel, dropped off my stuff, and headed downtown.
Downtown I had some lunch , visited the Rijksmusem to see the Vermeers (I'm on a pointless quest to see all 34 Vermeers), visited the Van Gogh museum, had dinner, and then walked around the red light district before heading back to the hotel.
The next morning I woke up early again and headed to Zurich, which I was warned was incredibly boring. I managed to take the least direct train downtown, which gave me a mini tour of the outer edges of the city, I walked down the main shopping street, wandered through old Zurich, ate a couple Swiss chocolates, spent a lot of time down by the water watching the swans, took some pictures, and then headed back to the airport to work in the Swiss Air lounge. After eight hours total in Zurich, I headed to Florence.
INTERNAL SCORECARD #7
This is the seventh internal scorecard I've posted. I put these up as a way for you to see what production and productivity actually look like (with the up's and down's, and so on), and as a measure for myself of what's happening and what's to come.
This covers 30 June to 6 July.
DALIO OF THE WEEK
"Goals are the things that you really want to achieve, while desires are things you want that can prevent you from reaching your goals—as I previously explained, desires are typically first-order consequences. For example, a goal might be physical fitness, while a desire is the urge to eat good-tasting, unhealthy food (i.e., a first-order consequence) that could undermine you obtaining your fitness goal. So, in terms of the consequences they produce, goals are good and desires are bad." -- Ray Dalio, Principles, p27