So I have been looking at going home for a while now (probably with a layover somewhere new). I have been pretty homesick and the travel bug is telling me that I have been in one spot for far too long now. Of course, this means I have been looking at flights and to be fair the cost of travel is getting pretty low….. Even compared to this time last year.
This is still in the planning phase, and I am not sure I really want to go home, but it was worth looking into if nothing else. I used Google flights to price up flights for the 1st February from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand….. Here are the results:
The flight from San Fransisco is direct, a 12 hour and 50 minute flight. Great for just getting to where you are going, and all for the easy price of $843 + fees. However, for a 19 hour stop in Guangzhou, and a 25 hour and 24 minute flight, you will pay a whole $830 + fees. It isn’t enough of a difference to pick the second flight if I didn’t want to see something new, but for what is essentially a free trip to China – Why not!
Chances are you wont need a visa to explore if you’ll be there for less than 72 hours which makes this an even better idea. Not to mention 19 hours is plenty of time to see stuff…. For example, from 5:15 am to 12:30am in Guangzhou you could:
Go on an adventure
There are a lot of things that can be done in 19 hours if you are savvy enough to find your way around. This is the cheapest way to explore, and it offers the most freedom. Some of the suggested stops are:
- Drink coffee
- Find a breakfast spot
- Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
- Five Rams Stature in Yuexiu Park
- Six Banyan Tree Temple
- Drink coffee
- Chen Clan Academy
- Eat Dumplings
- Drink more coffee
- Canton Towers
- Find a dinner spot
Get a tour guide
I am hopeless with directions, and I will get lost the moment I set foot outside the airport. Guangzhou (Canton) Layover Tour is one of many companies who offer tours around Guangzhou while you are waiting for your next flight. You usually have the option of 4 hour layover tours, 7-8 hour tours, or 9-10 hour tours. Of course, this still leaves a lot of time to waste, but when you take into account that it’ll take around an hour to get through customs to leave, and you need to check in at least 2 hours before your flight to get through security again…. You’ll only have 6 hours left to….. probably sleep.
I’m not going to pretend I understand why these flights are priced so similarly when one is over twice as long as the other. Perhaps it’s something to do with the different airline, popularity of the destinations, on/off seasons, or perhaps its something totally different. If it means visiting somewhere new for what is essentially free; I’m not going to question it.
I did say this was still in its planning stages, nothing is booked and I am not sure if it will be. There are probably more options as far as flights go as well. As I was writing this, I found one from San Francisco, to Shanghai, to Kuala Lumpur, and then to Auckland for around $600 – But with only a few hours at each spot, that just seems silly…..
What do you think? Would you do it?