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Can you leave an airport during a layover

We will be flying from Ireland home to the USA....

There is a long, overnight, layover in another country (Ireland, England, Sweden are some options)... would we be able to leave the airport to explore, have dinner, stay at a hotel, and then come back in the morning?

or would there be a long customs situation leaving and coming back to the airport?

I was thinking this might be a fun way to visit another country for a day - they'd have our luggage so we'd just carry enough in our carry on for 1 overnight.... But wasn't sure if we would be able to leave since it's another country...

Posted by
1468 posts

I think you mean passport control/immigration. Customs pertains to any goods you'd bring into a country with you - in your case just in your carry on.

Posted by
1446 posts

Yes - so long as you don't need a visa to enter the country you are transiting through. To save yourself some hassle, make sure you get all boarding passes when checking in.

I've done this often in different countries/airports - Madrid, Frankfurt, Munich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Athens, London, Warsaw - some were overnight stays and some were just visiting for a few hours.

Posted by
9341 posts

Rule 1 Stay on topic. Make your contribution relevant to the original post.

Removed my original comments, and extend my apologies for the Rule 1 transgression

Posted by
3185 posts

"We will be flying from Ireland home to the USA....
There is a long, overnight, layover in another country (Ireland, England, Sweden are some options).

I am puzzled.
If you are flying from Ireland to the US , why would you be going through England, Sweden or 'other' places? And why would it involve an overnight stay?"

Because they could be flying on any of a number of airlines such as for example Turkish Air, British Air, SAS, or TAP. People do not always take the non-stop, most direct route. I and my two children flew to Tokyo via Philippine Air with a stop in Manila to save thousands. Nonstop to Tokyo from SFO in business class on United was ~$9,000 per ticket but SFO to Tokyo via Manila was ~$4,000 on Philippine Air. Sure it added around 10 hours of travel time in the air on each leg (30 hours extra time all total) but we would not have done the trip for $27,000.

Posted by
4021 posts

Yes you can, as long as you have the papers needed to go through immigration there is nothing stopping you. And if you are a US citizen a valid passport is enough for the Schengen area.

And if Sweden means Stockholm, the city centre is 20 minutes away from the airport by express train so it is to spend some time there if you have a longer layover.

Posted by
607 posts

And some airlines build in stopover programs which allows you to spend a couple of days at no additional cost. For example, when looking for a trip from Seattle to Dublin, I could stopover for a few days in Iceland if I fly Icelandair (something I've considered for a future trip). A few years ago, I flew TAP AirPortugal and spent a few days in Portugal on my way to Italy.

Posted by
1722 posts

You mention luggage in addition to your carry on.
You might not be able to check your luggage through to the final destination on a long layover.

Posted by
1320 posts

When I have had an overnight layover, I had to pick up my luggage. They do not hold it for you overnight.

Posted by
1446 posts

The last post may be dependent on the airline. I’ve never had to pick up my checked luggage unless it is a stopover (I.e. >24 hours stop) and not just a layover. Most of my travels are with star alliance and so other airlines may have different rules

Posted by
1320 posts

In my experience, I was flying British Air with an overnight layover less than 24 hrs at LAX. Everyone had to pick up their luggage.

Posted by
4021 posts

@travel4fun: That was probably because of US laws and has no effect on how it works in Europe.

Posted by
634 posts

What is your proposed itinerary and timing? That will help a lot in being able to answer your question.