How to take advantage of a stopover when you're pressed for time

I have a habit of jumping between cities and countries when I'm on vacation. I want to utilize the vacation time I have, while seeing as much as I can. 

On a tour of Southeast Asia in May, the goal was to hit as many countries as possible in ten days. Mission complete. We booked flights from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Singapore and Bangkok. We stayed at least two days in each city – except Singapore.

We were in Singapore for 16 hours. That's right: 16 hours. We had a brief stop there on a flight between Bali and Bangkok. 

So what on earth can you see in 16 hours? It depends, really, on the kind of traveler you are. Unlike regular vacation trips, stopovers do require some proper planning ahead of time. Our itinerary was more "on point" for the Singapore leg of the trip than any other stop because we knew we had to make the most of our time there. 

Getting through passport control was fairly simple upon landing at the Singapore airport, and after a quick stop for dinner, we headed straight for our hotel in the city center. We landed late in the evening, and decided to call it a quick night once we got there.

The next morning, we were up and ready to go. By mid-morning, we had less than 10 hours until our flight to Bangkok. We Uber'd to Singapore's financial district and decided to have a look around. We walked through a mall, and stopped for food and pictures. We walked down to the waterfront and looked longingly up at the Marina Bay Sands hotel's roof, home to the world's largest rooftop infinity pool. We hung out for a bit more, did more exploring downtown, and then headed back to our hotel to grab our stuff to head to the airport. It was a short, but fun trip.

Granted, not all stopovers are as extreme as the one I did in Singapore. Many European airlines allow for stopovers. Icelandair allows for stopovers in Reykjavik up to seven nights.

Stopovers aren't for everyone. If you're someone who doesn't like feeling pressed for time, a short stopover may not be for you. An obvious downside of a short stopover is that you might not get to see everything that a city or country has to offer. But if you're alright with getting a quick taste of a city and then jetting on to the next, then consider it.