Ask Difference

Stopover vs. Layover — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 1, 2024
A stopover is a longer break in a journey, often lasting 24 hours or more, allowing travelers to leave the airport and explore the area. A layover refers to a short stop between flights, often part of the itinerary, used primarily for changing planes.
Stopover vs. Layover — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Stopover and Layover


Key Differences

A stopover is a deliberate pause in a journey, lasting longer than 24 hours for international flights or more than 4 hours for domestic flights. Stopovers provide travelers with an opportunity to explore a new city or country, turning a lengthy journey into a multi-destination trip. A layover is a brief interval between connecting flights, typically necessitated by flight schedules and routes. Passengers usually stay within the airport during a layover, waiting for their next flight. Layovers are common in long-distance travel, especially when direct flights are unavailable or impractical.
Layovers are often short, sometimes just enough time to transfer from one gate to another. They rarely offer an opportunity to leave the airport or explore the surrounding area. Conversely, stopovers are planned into the itinerary, allowing for sightseeing, business meetings, or rest outside the airport environment. Airlines may offer accommodations or deals for stopovers, encouraging travelers to visit the country of the airline's hub.
The duration of a layover can vary, but it is generally a few hours. It is seen as a necessary inconvenience rather than an opportunity. Stopovers, however, are considered an added value to the journey, offering a chance to visit another destination without the cost of additional flights.
While layovers are usually included in the ticket price and do not affect the fare, stopovers may require an additional fee or a different ticketing arrangement. Some airlines, however, promote stopovers at their hubs without extra charges to boost tourism in their home country.
Wile both layovers and stopovers involve breaks in a journey, their duration, purpose, and the opportunities they offer to travelers differ significantly. Layovers are short and confined to the airport, whereas stopovers are longer, allowing for exploration and activities beyond the airport.

Comparison Chart


Long (24 hours or more for international flights)
Short (usually hours)


Opportunity to leave the airport
Within the airport


Explore the stopover location
Wait for connecting flight


Planned as part of the journey
Part of flight itinerary


May require additional fee
Included in original ticket price

Compare with Definitions


An extended break in a journey at an intermediary city.
We planned a two-day stopover in Paris to see the sights.


A short break between connecting flights.
We have a two-hour layover in Chicago before our flight to London.


A planned visit to a city between flights.
The stopover in Singapore allowed us to explore the city.


Brief stop in a travel sequence.
There's a quick layover in Dubai on the way to Johannesburg.


A deliberate pause in travel for sightseeing.
We took advantage of the stopover to visit family.


An interval for transferring flights.
During our layover, we grabbed some food near the gate.


An opportunity to explore another destination.
The airline offers a free stopover in their hub city.


A necessary pause in travel itinerary.
Our layover in Tokyo gave us just enough time to stretch our legs.


A travel break for exploration or rest.
Our stopover in Iceland included a trip to the Blue Lagoon.


A waiting period within the journey.
The layover is long enough to catch up on some reading.


An interruption in the course of a journey for stopping or visiting at a certain place.


In scheduled transportation, a layover (also way station, or connection) is a point where a vehicle stops, with passengers possibly changing vehicles. In public transit, this typically takes a few minutes at a trip terminal.


A place visited briefly in the course of a journey.


A short stop or break in a journey, usually imposed by scheduling requirements, as of airline flights.


A short interruption in a journey or the place visited during such an interruption.


A break between stages of a journey.
We had a layover while waiting to change planes, so we stretched our legs.


The act or privilege of stopping over; stopping at a station or airport beyond the time of the departure of the train or airplane on which one came, with the purpose of continuing one's journey on a subsequent train or airplane; the temporary interruption of one's journey.


A brief stay in the course of a journey;
They made a stopover to visit their friends


A brief visit.


A stopping place on a journey;
There is a stopover to change planes in Chicago


A brief stay in the course of a journey;
They made a stopover to visit their friends

Common Curiosities

How do layovers and stopovers differ in duration?

Layovers are typically short, lasting a few hours, while stopovers last at least 24 hours for international flights, allowing for significant exploration time.

Do stopovers cost extra?

Stopovers may require an additional fee or specific ticket arrangements, but some airlines offer stopover programs at their hubs without extra charges to promote tourism.

What is a layover?

A layover is a brief stop between connecting flights, usually part of the flight itinerary, where passengers wait within the airport for their next flight.

What is a stopover?

A stopover is a longer break in a journey, often lasting 24 hours or more for international flights, allowing travelers to leave the airport and explore the destination.

Are layovers considered inconvenient?

Layovers are often seen as a necessary inconvenience in long-distance travel, especially when direct flights are unavailable.

Can layovers offer any benefits?

While generally brief and confined to the airport, layovers can offer a chance to rest, shop, or dine within the airport facilities.

How are stopovers planned?

Stopovers are planned as part of the journey, with travelers arranging for accommodations and activities in the stopover location.

Can travelers leave the airport during a layover?

While possible in some cases, layovers are usually too short to allow meaningful time outside the airport, especially considering the need to clear security upon return.

How do layovers impact flight itineraries?

Layovers are factored into flight itineraries, affecting total travel time and connections between flights.

Why might someone choose a stopover?

Travelers might choose a stopover to explore another city, meet friends or family, or break up a long journey to reduce travel fatigue.

Is a visa required for a stopover?

Depending on the country and the traveler's nationality, a visa may be required to leave the airport and explore the city during a stopover.

How do airlines view stopovers?

Some airlines view stopovers as an opportunity to promote tourism in their country and may offer incentives or deals to travelers making a stopover at their hub.

Can both layovers and stopovers occur in any type of travel?

Yes, both layovers and stopovers can occur in any international or domestic travel involving connecting flights.

What opportunities do stopovers provide?

Stopovers provide the opportunity to explore a new city, experience local culture, and take a break from the confines of airports and airplanes.

What should travelers consider when planning a stopover?

Travelers should consider visa requirements, accommodations, and activities to make the most of their stopover.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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