The Coolest Thing We Ever Did On A Layover

I was reading a post on Points With A Crew that asked the question:

Can you leave the airport during a layover?

I knew the answer was yes, because we did just that while on our way to London a few years back. We had a stop in Dublin and the original flight plan only had us there for 1 hour before boarding our flight to London. Knowing from past experiences that our hotel in London was not likely to have our room ready before check in time anyway, I figured we’d rather spend time in Dublin than sit in a hotel lobby in London.

So I scheduled our connecting flight so we had approximately 8 hours in Dublin. Looking at websites, it seemed that even if we were just connecting in Ireland, we’d still have to go through immigration. Since we’d have to do that anyway, why not stay in the country for a while? It was a bit interesting to tell the immigration officer we would be there for 8 hours, mainly for lunch (and yes, we really did).

IMG_0198
Gallagher’s Boxty House – our destination for lunch. We had visited in 2011 and it was so good that we wanted to go  back again!

Before our trip I found a place where we could leave our luggage at the airport for a small fee. After checking our bags, we hopped into a taxi to get into town and asked to be dropped off at the Westin Dublin. It was the hotel we stayed in the last time we visited and it was a landmark we knew, so it was easy to find from everyplace we wanted to go from there. So what else do you do on a short layover in Dublin? Well, there was the obvious…

IMG_0199
Not all of Dublin is scenic; some of it looks like this. The sign reads, “Here is not a toilet! PLEASE do not pee or sh*t in here. Thanks!” I’m glad they were polite about it, at least.

But no, that’s not what we did (although we certainly could have). I don’t know what you would do, but for us, our itinerary was:

  1. Get Starbucks
  2. Pick up some souvenirs at a touristy shop in Temple Bar
  3. As mentioned above, go to lunch at Gallaghers Boxty House because yeah, it’s really THAT GOOD
  4. Try to find the Leprechaun Museum
  5. End up at a shopping mall (long story for another time)
  6. Head back to the Westin for a taxi back to the airport
  7. Check in and spend time at the Aer Lingus lounge before your flight to London
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Looking at the planes while waiting for our flight at the Aer Lingus lounge in Dublin
boxty
Sharon at Gallagher’s Boxty House in 2011.

This was something we did just because we could. By no means did we get to see much of Dublin at all, nor had we planned to. Between the 2 taxi rides and the charge to store luggage, it was not a cheap excursion, either. However, we had specific places we wanted to go and for that reason it was worth it to us. Now that I’ve done it, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as a way to see a new city. But if you’re stuck at the airport anyway for a long connection, I’d say it’s certainly possible.  Just follow the hints mentioned in the Points With A Crew article I linked above.

As long as you give yourself enough time, know the rules, and pack accordingly, you should have no problems leaving the airport during a layover to enjoy time in a (potentially) new city.

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