The man who pays his way: The long and short of choosing a stopover

The clocks are about to lurch back, casting all of us in the Northern Hemisphere into the wintry gloom of dark evenings and shortening days. Just the moment, then, to start plotting a course for somewhere with brighter prospects. Those with the twin blessings of time and money may well be tempted to aim for Australia and New Zealand, which are celebrating the Southern Hemisphere spring. The shrewd travellers among them will plan a stopover – if you are flying to the far side of the planet, it's sad not to build in a pause of at least a day in one of the world's more exotic locations.

The usual suspects have plenty to commend them: Hong Kong and Singapore offer an accessible distillation of China and South-East Asia respectively, while Bangkok works for travellers hungry for the Thai temple experience or full-on nightlife, once flood waters have receded.

Going west, Los Angeles is the hub of choice, with flights funnelled into southern California from Europe and fanning out into a trans-Pacific web – with five departures to Sydney alone between 9pm and midnight tomorrow.

Yet if you are lucky enough to be contemplating an escape to somewhere hot and exotic, or alternatively Adelaide, look beyond the obvious: anywhere from Munich to Havana can feature in your plans.

If Sydney is your destination, then one question: are you sure? If you intend to explore more widely in Australia, then it is almost certainly going to be better to buy an "open-jaw" itinerary, flying into one city and out of another: you'll reduce personal fatigue, expense and carbon footprint.

* If Sydney is the sole target, you have the widest choice of stopovers. Of the Asian transit points, Shanghai (China Eastern), Taipei (China Airlines) and Seoul (Korean Air or Asiana) are the most startling mega-cities, with Abu Dhabi (Etihad) and Dubai (Emirates) clamouring for metropolitan supremacy in the Gulf. For the opposite experience, fly out of Heathrow one evening at 8pm on Air Mauritius. You'll land on the idyllic Indian Ocean island described in the next two pages just before noon next day, and have time for a few blissful hours on the beach before another overnight flight. Attenuating jet lag has never been so sweet.

* The ideal trip to Australia, though, is a Premium Economy haul from London to Sydney. The return price of £2,676 (as quoted by Opodo for travel next month) may seem expensive, but just look what it involves: flying Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick to Havana, where you can spend a week exploring the greatest city in the Caribbean. You cannot make the obvious connections via Miami and Los Angeles, because of US rules, but Air Canada will take you via Toronto and Vancouver, with time to enjoy both of these great cities. And coming home, luxuriate in Virgin's premium economy via Hong Kong.

Expensive and indulgent, certainly – but comfort yourself with the knowledge that, at the National Minimum Wage and assuming a 40-hour week, it will take exactly 11 weeks to earn enough to buy the ticket. Not bad for the circumnavigation of a lifetime.

Let's put the refuelling stops back on the map

When you look at the inflight "sky map", do you feel an occasional pang of sorrow – wondering about the wonders that are seven miles below and about to disappear at nine miles a minute? Well, you can go back to the days when thirsty old planes were barely capable of reaching the end of the runway, let alone going halfway around the world.

Flying down to Rio? You used to have to stop in Lisbon and the Brazilian city of Recife, close to the mouth of the Amazon. And you still can, thanks to TAP Portugal. And with Lisbon's airport only 15 minutes from town, you can build in a stroll by the Tagus.

Darwin was for decades a mandatory stop en route to the rest of Australia. Now you fly over it. Yet the Northern Territory capital is the natural gateway, in both senses, to the nation. You can change planes in Singapore for Darwin, then travel by train from the rainforest to the desert at Alice Springs (and a side trip to Uluru) before continuing on the rails to Adelaide – proof that to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.

travel@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore