One of the best parts of my Maldives yoga retreat was Singapore. Wait, what? When I let people know my travel time to the Maldives will be 30 hours, they gasped. When I let them know my return travel time would be a little over 40 hours, I was written off as crazy. Or just not knowledgeable on how to make travel arrangements. Hmmm, the leader of worldwide retreats can't even get her own stuff together...why would I want to trust her with travel stuff, you ask? Trust me, I've got this.
Travelling to a destination does not have to be all you do or get to enjoy. Definitely do your best to get where you're going as quickly as possible. You don't want to waste time heading to that vacation, adventure or even business meeting. So, about that return flight....
If time just does not permit, then that's okay.... but! What if you could make time permit juuuust a little bit? Get a layover 5 hours or more in a country (or city) and begin the exploration experience (less than 5 may prove to be tricky as some airports require extra time to get in and out).
•If you are not sure what to do, look up tour guides in the city of your layover. A lot have excursions leaving from or near the airport.
•Check with your airline. See what suggestions they have for your city.
•TripAdvisor has always been great for looking up quick excursions. Read the ratings and reviews to make sure it is a good fit for you.
•when doing a flight search (kayak.com, hopper.com, booking.com, cheapoair.com to name a few), scroll through your search results to see what interesting places to layover are possible. Wrap your mind around that sense of adventure and make the reservation!
•If you have an old friend, relative or colleague in that particular place you choose (IF you get along with them! Don't set yourself for a crappy time or getting declined for a little walkabout because they aren't good people or can't stand you) and let them know you're coming. They make the best guides because they live there and you don't have to worry if you can trust your guide. I'm sure none of my peeps reading this would ever do this but: please don't treat the folks you called on in this city like you're doing them a favor by being in their presence. They are taking time out to do you a sold. Be grateful for the time they are putting in.
•With that said, communicate ahead of time what you are interested in. They can make sure you get what you want or be the voice of reason if you don't have enough time to get to whatever you want on this trip.
•These layovers never seem like enough time to do a lot but it can be a great taste of somewhere you've always wanted to go but just never had the time. And your passport can get another stamp!!!
•If the layover is 16 hours or more, grab a place in an airbnb or residence to lay your head and freshen up. See if your place has attractions or shops nearby. And a place that includes breakfast is a plus!
•Check your carry-ons in at the airport before you depart the airport. Travel with a waist pouch (#fannypackposse) to ensure you don't make yourself a (slowed down) target because you're burdened with a bunch of stuff. Checking stuff in at the airport can ensure your belongings are safe.
•Get a collapsible bag you can fold into a purse or that fanny pack. If you are in a place that has great shopping, you want to have a bag with you to put your new treasures in.
•Whatever you plan, plan carefully. Budget out your time so you can be back at the airport 1 1/2 to 2 hours before your flight departs.
My stay in Singapore was loooooong and incredibly short. We only had 16 hours to go through immigration, check our bags at airport, hook up with friend #1, have breakfast, explore a little bit of the ginormous Singapore airport and it's stores, ride through the city (so beautiful!), chat and catch up, wander all over the marina, eat lunch go the Marina Sands hotel (there's a boat on top!!!!), hook up with friend #2, introduce friend#1 to friend #2 (they're both yogis!!), see the exquisite Buddhist temple (breathtaking....), drive through city (again!), see the Gardens, grab dinner, see the unbelievable light show at the Gardens.....head back to the airport, grab bags, run to the gate, charge our phones, board the plane.....only 20 hours til home!!!