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(a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

Columbus, Ohio
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(a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

I've never done international travel (other than a quick trip to London) and will be traveling to Tanzania next June. There are a few flight options but I'm looking for feedback from people who have traveled internationally before. The primary options are:

A) A much more direct route, 19hrs total travel time, with a 3.5 hr layover in Addis Ababa. This flight is a few hundred more expensive than option B per person and has an extra 1" of legroom.

B) A flight plan that gives us an 8.5 hr, daytime, layover in Istanbul, enough time to get out and do a couple hour tour of the city but includes two overnight flights. This trip 27+hrs total travel time and is cheaper.

Would you get wanted the shortest travel time because international travel sucks and it's worth the money to have a shorter travel time or would you try to shoehorn a quick trip to a city that you would never otherwise visit in your lifetime?

I have my own preference (option B) but I don't have an experience to weight my preference against and I don't want to regret the decision. Either flight is within my budget for the trip.

18 replies to this topic
New York City, New...
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1. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

I have a personal opinion and it is based on being a budget traveller. That said, I look at value (mine, not others) and make a decision. What I do not have information wise, is - how much more is option A. and how many people are going. What are the overnight flights and I presume you mean overnight as to where ever you are at the moment. Makes a difference cuz your body is still on Ohio time.

That said, I try for a short layover or a truly long one that allows me to go out and see the place, even for a short time. So that short Istanbul layover is ok for me. Don't know about the overnight though. More info should be good.

The money saved could be slapped towards extra spending money on the ground.

Based on the given information, I might go for B.

btw. Istanbul would be a better and nicer stopover than Addis Ababa

Edited: 10:54 am, August 06, 2018
Liverpool, UK
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2. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

I personally would opt for the shorter travel time but I have no great desire to visit Istanbul - bear in mind that between booking and flying that one or both flights could have a schedule change which could impact your plans especially if you opt for the longer layover in order to visit Istanbul.

Cambridge, United...
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3. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

I do not think 8.5 hours gives you any time to look around Istanbul. Depending on where you are going in the city it will take you at least 30 minutes to get to from the airport, and maybe more. So even conservatively, you are looking at approx 1 hr 30 minutes just travelling back and forth to the airport. Next it will take you at least an hour to get off the plane and clear immigration formalities, etc but easily an hour and a half. You then need to get back at least 2 hours before your next flight, and maybe 3 as well. So basically you are left with 2-3 hours to explore Istanbul which nearly isn't enough.

Also have you factored in visa costs for Turkey and the fact that US citizens are required to get a Turkish visa in advance except in limited circumstances (such as living outside the US which doesn't apply to you). PS - you don't need a visa for an airport transit.

So effectively what you are looking at is whether the cost saving is worth the additional 8+ hours of travel time. I don't think anyone can really answer that for you.

Edited: 10:56 am, August 06, 2018
Edinburgh, Scotland
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4. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

From where to where (airports) when, and what class of travel please? and are you seeing these tickets on the airlines site?

I'm not seeing the results you you are, Swiss, UA and others seem to be well priced options.

From your choice I'd definitely go Turkish and book into a lounge at IST ($35 ish) to sample the astounding food, manners and service. The 2nd thing you'll do is book a trip to Turkey ;-))

New York City, New...
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5. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

Hello again.

Nissan, ultimate decision is yours. What you are reading here are people opinion that may help you make a decision.

Please come back with more information. Are you flying Turkisk airlines? Arrival times in Istanbul? There is a free city tour (which I have wanted to do but could not find an itinerary that takes me thru Istanbul) which fits your stopover time.

Columbus, Ohio
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6. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

Thanks for all the thoughts so far, they've been great.

There are two people going and option (a) is $450 more person ($1450 (a) vs $1000 (b)) round-trip. They leave from different US cities (Dulles (a) vs JFK (b)) but either of these cities works for me as I would use reward miles from Columbus to either place (I don't have enough miles to cover anything international).

I would like to see Istanbul or, really, any international city so there is an appeal to me, even for just a couple hours but I don't know how much of a pain/time customs could take.

Ultimately, I know this is a decision I have to make based on me but your personal views are very helpful. Thanks.

Singapore
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7. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

It is almost a year away and flights / fares can change a lot so options can change

Where you are going in Tanzania could affect your choice also

For example , from end Oct this year Kenya Airways are starting flights non stop from JFK to Nairobi and they have onward connections from Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam , Kilimanjaro and also Zanzibar from Nairobi

Often missed perhaps as they are not thought of as value , not sure why , but Swiss is showing JFK-ZRH--DAR for June next year at just US$ 966 return ! With good connections in ZRH

Edited: 3:36 pm, August 06, 2018
Singapore
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8. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

I doubled checked that Swiss , other random dates in June was $ 977 return , so does vary date of travel

( I looked at Swiss because they tend to have some surprising good deals from here often so thought they may have elsewhere also )

Nashville, TN
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9. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

If you're planning on using award tickets to get to JFK or IAD, be sure to also read this link: https:/…Connecting.On.Separate.Tickets.html

It's usually mentioned when people purchase separate tickets, but even using award tickets, you could end up in a similar situation.

Seattle
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10. Re: (a) Shorter travel time or (b) long layover in a big city?

I used miles to get to JFK as part of my overseas travel this past July. If you really want to see another city on the way, maybe think outside the box. I stayed overnight to see the 9/11 Memorial, flew into LaGuardia and then JFK-Oslo. Copenhagen (Central Station) was only a 20 minute easy train example, Reykyavik is set up for stopovers with buses to/from Blue Lagoon...were it me, and I go most every summer, I intentionally choose an overnight in a foreign city- just expand your concept! Is there somewhere you have always wanted to go?

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