Let's go on a stopover holiday
The departure Lounge Diversions column a few weeks back got me thinking about stretching a transit into a multiday stopover.
Surely, if you've travelled halfway around the world, what's wrong with adding a few extra days to the annual leave tally and discovering a new city?
The problem is you've probably done to death the usual stopover contenders, fun as they are.
Singapore's Changi and Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airports are well known for making transits a breeze (a reputation Los Angeles' LAX can only dream of). If you prefer the Qantas and Emirates partnership, you're probably fairly used to Dubai's desert views.
So if you want to try something a bit different, a 48-hour stopover in one of these destinations is worth investigating.
The airline industry's preference for code-share flights and partnerships means this is certainly not an exhaustive list of options.
HONOLULU, UNITED STATES
En route to: Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Las Vegas, Seattle and more US cities
Main airlines: Hawaiian Airlines, or Air New Zealand (for LA flights)
Highlights: The Aloha state is definitely back on the radar for Kiwi travellers and 48 hours could be spent on Waikiki Beach alone.
Honolulu offers great shopping and day tours to the outer islands, including volcanoes, could make it a stopover to remember. Best to take advantage while the New Zealand dollar is strong.
More information: gohawaii.com
En route to: Los Angeles, Paris
Main airlines: Air Tahiti Nui (for LA and Paris), or Air New Zealand (for LA and domestic US connections, with United)
Highlights: Ferry to Moorea for a snorkelling or big game fishing trip, or explore Tahiti Nui's blowholes, black sand beaches and waterfront night markets with food trucks in Papeete.
More information: tahiti-tourisme.com
En route to: Rome, Venice
Main airlines: Air New Zealand (with Alitalia to Rome, Turkish Airlines to Venice)
Highlights: Shopping in Shinjuku, a day trip to Mt Fuji and, if you're an early riser, the Tsukiji fish markets for some fresh sashimi.
That's before sampling the robot, cat and sci-fi themed nightlife.
More information: gotokyo.org
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
En route to: London, Cairo, Athens
Main airlines: Virgin Australia / Etihad
Highlights: Less frequented by New Zealand travellers compared to Dubai, an evening stroll along the waterfront Corniche or a desert safari on a camel will make you really appreciate your economy class seat for the second leg of your journey.
More information: visitabudhabi.ae
En route to: Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Rome
Main airlines: Air New Zealand (with Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, China Eastern)
Highlights: The Chinese government has launched 72-hour transit visas for New Zealanders, meaning you can have time to relax and explore this Chinese commercial hub.
Travel through Pudong to Xujiahui, a shopping district in the old French district or explore the historical sights of the Bund adjacent to the Huangpu river.
More information: meet-in-shanghai.net
En route to: London, Toronto, and Montreal
Main airlines: Air New Zealand (with British Airways to London, Air Canada to Toronto and Montreal)
Highlights: Consistently voted on of the most "liveable" cities, Vancouver offers the wilderness on it's doorstep. Whether Stanley Park in summer or Whistler in winter, you'll soon see why. It's not just outdoorsy, with frequent cultural festivals throughout the year, covering food, film, opera, theatre and fireworks (guess which one draws the largest crowds?).
More information: tourismvancouver.com.
What's your favourite stopover destination? Leave a comment.
- Sunday Star Times