How to Take Two Trips for the Price of One.

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In the last six months, we've been to four more countries than we were originally planning on, because we discovered this incredible travel hack--stopovers! Technically stopovers are a stop on the way to your final destination or long layovers. So, instead of sitting in those awful airport seats being tempted by $10 McDonald's fries, you can turn that four hour layover into a day or two stopover. Then just hop off the plane and run out of the airport and into the city.

We are always searching for the cheapest deal when we are looking at flights, so not only does this normally mean we'll have a longer flight time, but it also means there's always a layover. By taking advantage of these layovers, not only have we doubled the number of places we have visited, but we have also gotten to explore new cities and countries without having to pay for another flight there. Sure, it would have been nice to spend more than a day in Copenhagen, but it wasn't on our list of "must-see" places and we probably wouldn't have made it there anytime soon if it hadn't been for our layover. And oh my, we are so glad we went, because it is now one of our absolute favorite European cities.

Use the "Multi-city" Feature

It takes a little more time and a lot of flight digging, but our number one rule for finding stopovers is to never limit yourself to searching for round trip flights.  Use the "multi-city" search option on Google Flights, or Kayak to create your own stopover. And the best part is, more often than not it will even end up giving you a cheaper fare.

For example, on our way to Tanzania, we noticed that most all of our options had a layover in Amsterdam or Paris both on the way there and on the way back. So, instead of searching for a round trip flight to Tanzania leaving on say the 16th and coming back on say the 27th, we used the multi-city flight option to leave on the 16th to Amsterdam, then leave Amsterdam on the 18th, and then on our way back, leave Tanzania on the 27th to Paris and then leave Paris on the 29th back home. Using this search option, the price was almost $500 cheaper than if we'd tried to book direct flights that included layovers anyway. 

By using this strategy, we were able to explore both Amsterdam and Paris without having to a pay a single penny for individual flights to either of those cities.

Give the airlines a call

Put on your nice voice and call the airlines directly. If you tell them what you're looking for or say that you want to add a stopover into your flight plan, they will likely be able to help you. And if they can't do it for free, they can usually find a way to make the stopover cost minimal, like $100 or less.

Also, check directly with the airline's website, because some airlines are actually using this stopover strategy as a selling point. For example, WOW Air includes stopovers in Reykjavik, Iceland for travelers going between the US and Europe. This way, you get to spend your a day at the Blue Lagoon or chasing Iceland's insanely beautiful waterfalls on your way to exploring Europe. And Emirates encourages stopovers in Dubai. They offer hotel stays, transfers to and from the airport, excursions, and a handful of other amenities to make your stopover a breeze. 

Take Advantage of Airlines' Hub Cities

A good rule of thumb for figuring out where you can stop for cheap is to find out where the hubs of each airline are. For example, we flew Norwegian Air to Portugal, and one of their hub cities is Copenhagen--hence, our day trip in Copenhagen. If you want to take a pit stop in Amsterdam, fly KLM, or if you want to go to Paris, search for flights on Air France. If you're interested in going to Zurich then fly Swiss Air, and if Cappadocia and Istanbul are on your list (and they definitely should be), make a stop on your way to another destination by flying Turkish Air. Even Air Tahiti Nui schedules stopovers in Tahiti, so if you can find any reason to fly them and spend a day or two in Tahiti, then do we even really need to tell you to do it?

Even if you only have a 5-6 hour layover, it can still be worth it to get out of the airport and explore a bit. A lot of airports have straightforward public transportation options into the city. And taking 3 or 4 hours to explore and eat an authentic meal is a million times better than sitting around and staring at your phone in the airport.

So, every time you book a flight, make sure to schedule a stopover, because basically, you will get two vacations for the price of one (which saves a lot of $$$). And more often than not, these cities are places you can explore in about a day or two anyways. 

The best part is, when you're sad because it's time to leave your stopover city, you get to hop on another plane and go to your original destination! So you're literally never disappointed. It's like a dream come true!

 

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