Snagging a cheap flight is one of the keys to affordable travel, but there’s often a downside to that rock bottom price tag - an inconvenient stopover in an airport halfway to your destination.
But while we all know the typical problems that come with a lengthy layover like uncomfortable airport lounge chairs and hours of boredom, you may not have considered what it might be doing to your holiday budget. From bottles of water to a nearby hotel for the night, a stopover can add up to be more expensive than you might expect.
“An affordable flight can be highly appealing when booking international travel, but remember that an expensive layover also contributes to holiday costs. An expensive beer, sandwich and snooze can really add up at pricier airports like Los Angeles, Paris and New York,” Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont said.
With that in mind, Mozo crunched the numbers on a few of the main airports around the world, to see just how much each destination would add to your travel spend.
“Mozo found a 175% price difference between airport layover pricing, indicating that some terminals are well and truly more affordable than others,” said Lamont.
Check out the cost of a layover* in airports around the world below and remember to factor these costs into your budget next time you dust off your passport and head off for an adventure!
15. Los Angeles, USA - LAX
A stop over in LA can be a bit of a budgetary stretch at $239.04, thanks to a relatively strong US dollar. This airport also boasts the most expensive bottle of water on our list.
Exchange rate: 1 USD = AU$1.29016
14. Paris, France - CDG
You’ll need to be carrying a stash of Euros for a stop over in the city of love as well, but you may not be feeling so romantic when you consider that a night at the Paris airport could set you back $217.68.
Exchange rate: 1 Euro = AU$1.59007
13. John F. Kennedy International, New York - JFK
If your next adventure takes you through The Big Apple, make sure your wallet is ready to take a hit, because a night in New York could cost a total of $195.77.
Exchange rate: 1 USD = AU$1.29016
12. London Heathrow, UK - LHR
If you’re spending a night in Heathrow it’s worth packing your own dinner, since it offers up the most expensive sandwich on our list. In total, a layover in London could come with a $161.50 price tag.
Exchange rate: 1 GBP = AU$1.77958
11. Frankfurt, Germany - FRA
If you’re stuck spending a few hours in Germany’s biggest airport**, Frankfurt airport, you’ll need to have more than a couple of Euros in your pocket, with a total spend of $148.31.
Exchange rate: 1 Euro = AU$1.59007
10. Kingsford Smith, Sydney - SYD
For a lot of travellers living outside Australia’s major cities, the Sydney International Airport might be a necessary stop on their way overseas - but if that’s the case for you, remember to factor an extra $146.30 into your budget.
9. Narita Airport, Tokyo - NRT
Narita Airport is Tokyo’s main airport and many budget international flights come in and out of this hub. If you’re travelling on a shoestring, be aware that a layover here comes with a mid-range price tag of around $145.10.
Exchange rate: 1 JPY = AU$0.0122196
8. Beijing, China - PEK
China’s biggest and busiest airport, spending a night in Beijing international Capital Airport on your way to the rest of the world might set you back $142.89.
Exchange rate: 1 CNY = AU$0.203832
7. New Delhi, India - DEL
Spending a night in New Delhi? The Indira Gandhi Airport offers thirsty travellers the cheapest bottle of water on the list, but you’ll still want to add an extra $140.02 to your travel bill.
Exchange rate: 1 INR = AU$0.0198469
6. Dubai, UAE - DXB
The Dubai International Airport is the busiest airport in the world**. Overall, Dubai came out on the more affordable end of the scale at a total $136.64, but if you fancy a cold beverage after a long day travelling then it may not be the best place to be, since it has the most expensive beer on our list.
Exchange rate: 1 AED = AU$0.351253
5. Moscow, Russia - SVO
A stop over in the Sheremetyevo International Airport, one of three major airports in Moscow, could be a reasonably affordable break in your travel plans, coming in at $133.62.
Exchange rate: 1 RUB = AU$0.0226664
4. Changi Airport, Singapore - SIN
Plenty of Aussies find themselves on a stopover in Singapore, but luckily, it's not likely to break your holiday budget. For a night at Changi airport, you’re looking at a price tag of around $120.28.
Exchange rate: 1 SGD = AU$0.977428
3. Or Tambo Airport, Johannesburg - JNB
On your way to an African safari? You might wind up with a layover in Jo’burg before making it to the Serengeti, but don’t worry - a stop at the Or Tambo Airport will likely set you back just $117.99.
Exchange rate: 1 ZAR = AU$0.107657
2. Bangkok, Thailand - BKK
This destination is a favourite for budget conscious travellers, and being in Bangkok for a layover is no different, with a price tag of $116.92 - and the cheapest beer and sandwich on the list!
Exchange rate: 1 THB = AU$0.0410682
1. Seoul, South Korea - SCN
If you really have to have a layover during your trip, there are worse places to be than Seoul, South Korea, the cheapest airport on our list with a cost of just $87.81. The big difference is in the cost of a hotel, which is around a third of the price you might pay in LA.
Exchange rate: 1 KRW = AU$0.00119333
Tackling different currencies during a layover
So you’re heading off to Europe with a stash of euros at the ready - but what happens when your plane touches down in Narita, you’ve got a six hour layover ahead of you, and not a single Yen to your name?
With airport layovers carrying a potentially hefty price tag, making sure you have a convenient way to pay in multiple currencies is super important. Whether you choose a travel credit card or debit card with a low foreign exchange margin, or a prepaid card that lets you load up a number of currencies ready to go, this is definitely something you need to consider before you’re standing in a Tokyo airport, luggage en route to Paris, desperate for a tube of toothpaste.
Receive up to 1.75 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on Card purchases (T&Cs apply). No annual fee for the life of the card. T&C’s apply. Mozo Experts Choice Qantas Frequent Flyer Credit Card Winner 2020.
Receive 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. New Card Members Only Enjoy a complimentary domestic return flight with Virgin Australia to selected cities, each year after your first card spend. Credit Card Provider of the Year in the Mozo Experts Choice Awards 2020 ^.
0% p.a.for 6 monthsand then 21.74% p.a.(2.00% balance transfer fee)
$395 $295 in the first year
NABs fastest way to earn Qantas Points. 110,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 on everyday purchases within 60 days of account opening and keep the card open for 12 months. Access to 6 complimentary insurances when you make eligible purchases.
Receive 120,000 bonus Qantas Points plus 120 Status Credits when you apply, are approved, and meet the minimum spend criteria of $4,500 in the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. Available to new Card Members only.
Earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent at government bodies, earn 2.25 Qantas Points per $1 spend on selected Qantas products and services. Save the offer to your eligible Card and get 3 extra Qantas Points per $1 spent, in-store or online at participating Shop Small businesses by 31/03/2022, up to a maximum of 40,000 extra Points. Exclusions apply
All rewards are redeemed via Qantas Frequent Flyer.
1.25 points per dollar on Amex, uncapped
8000 points buys a Qantas Sydney-Melbourne flight 110400 points buys a Qantas Sydney-London flight 19730 points buys a Myer $100 Gift Card
*All prices given in AUD, except where stated otherwise.
**Based on international passenger traffic
Calculations based on advertised airport accommodation, food, water and toiletry rates from 1-5 March, 2018. International XE exchange rates as at 5 March, 2018 applied to convert items to Australian dollars.