For a bit of extra comfort during stopovers, consider purchasing an airport lounge pass.

I am flying to Rome in a few months with my 78-year-old mother. We will be leaving from Sydney on Thai Airways and have an eight-hour stopover in Bangkok, late afternoon until midnight. We won't have access to an airline lounge but would like a shower and somewhere to have a nap. We don't fancy the dayrooms at Suvarnabhumi airport but there are lots of hotels with shuttle services nearby. Will leaving the airport give us enough time to have a rest, return, go through immigration and get to departures on the fourth floor? Your help would be much appreciated.
- Sonya Jane

At first, I wasn't sure whether it would be worth checking in and out of a hotel with only an eight-hour stopover. By the time you get off the plane and out of the airport, at least an hour is likely to be used up already. Then on your way out, you'll want to arrive at least two hours before your flight is due to depart, to be safe — no one wants to end up stuck in Thailand when they're heading to Rome.

So if you take that into consideration, eight hours becomes five quite easily. A lot of the hotels near the airport offer day rates, but require you to check out at 6pm, which obviously doesn't work with your timeline. If you're happy to pay the full rate, the Novotel would be your closest and nicest option, with rooms around the $250 mark. It's only a five minute walk from the airport or there's a free 24-hour shuttle ride. There's also a 24-hour buffet, if you need a decent feed after your flight.

Otherwise, for a bit of extra comfort without heading too far away, you could purchase airport lounge passes for you and your mum. You can even buy the passes online before you leave, through websites like Sleeping in Airports or Unfortunately most of the lounges have a maximum stay of three hours, with a cost of around $40 per person. However, three of the Miracle First Class Lounges offer an extended stay of up to five hours — but this would come at a cost of $112 each, which is just about what you'd pay for a room at the Novotel anyway.


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