Sometimes it can’t be helped. You have a super long connection time between flights. Or maybe you planned a long layover on purpose so that you could quickly explore a new city and country. Either way, some cities make it even easier for travelers who want to be explores by offering free layover tours. Check out some destinations where you can explore a new place and save money with free layover tours.
Seoul, South Korea
Got a few hours in Korea before your next flight? Well Visit Korea has several free transit tour options that will allow you to experience “a taste of local culture.” Travelers can choose between the Seoul City Tour, the Temple Tour, the Incheon City tour, and many other options. And Visit Korea even has different length options, with tours ranging from one hour to five hours. Not fluent in Korean? Well the tours have English-speaking guides.
All you need is six hours and you have a choice between two tours of Singapore. Chiangi Airport, Singapore Air, and the Singapore Tourism Board joined forces to sponsor two free tours for travelers stopping through the city/country of Singapore. The two options are the Heritage Tour and the City Lights tour and both last about two and a half hours. You sign up right at the airport but space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. But even if you don’t have time for a tour, Singapore airport is beautiful, with five gardens to walk, free movies, and a DIY art center. Score!
Salt Lake City, Utah
On the domestic front, Salt Lake City has a tour that runs every hour on the hour to Temple Square. While only members of the Church of Latter Day Saints are able to enter the Temple, visitors can peruse the grounds and the surrounding square, according to Utah.com. Information is available in the airport information desk in terminals 1 and 2.
Stopping through the Middle East will allow you to take a quick layover tour in Doha. Courtesy of Qatar Airways and the Qatar Tourism Authority, travelers can visit four stops: The Pearl Qatar, for luxury shopping and dining; the Museum of Islamic Art; the Katara Cultural Village, a cultural and heritage center; or the Souq Waqif for traditional jewelry, handcrafts, and of course, spices. There are English speaking guides, and tours are subject to immigration approval, though complimentary visas are included.
Tokyo, Japan (Narita Airport)
Five different options, including nature walks, are available when you stop through Narita Airport in Tokyo. If you prefer a guided tour, then you will need at least five hours because the tours are three hours long. From outlet malls to the Narita-san Shinso-Ji temple to a stroll to a hydrangea pathway stroll in Tako, there are options for everyone on these tours. And if you have extra, the Narita Transit Program can make extra recommendations to fill the hours.
Available for both morning and afternoon departures, the Taipei Tourism Bureau offers tours stopping at temples, cultural centers and more. The tours are half day and are limited to 18 people. You’ve got to have at least a seven-hour layover but not more than 24 hours. Depending on whether you take the morning or afternoon tour will determine which temples you visit, but they are all centuries old and provide an insight into Taiwan’s age-old culture.
Additional Considerations to Save Money with Free Layover Tours
Before you just hop on a free layover tour, be sure to make some additional considerations:
- Luggage: If you have checked baggage, you will want to make sure of the options for leaving your bags, as most of the tours will not have room for luggage. The tour websites may have additional information.
- Visas: Some countries may require transit visas for citizens of certain countries. Be sure to check on what visas may be needed and if you must get them ahead of time or if you can get them on arrival at the airport.
- Time: If you have a short layover, you may be setting yourself up for a fail by taking one of these tours. Ensure you have enough time so that if something goes wrong (like a major traffic jam) you will have enough time to get back to the airport to make your flight. The free tour isn’t worth the rebooking fee, or worse yet, having to pay for a whole new ticket.