How to Use Free Flight Stopovers

December 3, 2013 — 2 Comments

After traveling for work for ten years and a nine month trip around the world, I’ve collected some strategies for traveling cheaper. I’ll cover them in a ten part series in this order:

A. The flight
– How to Book the Cheapest Flight
– How to Use Free Flight Stopovers
– How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights
– Finding the Cheapest Airport Transportation
B. The Hotel / Accommodation
– How to Book Cheapest Hotel Rooms
– How to Find Hotel Alternatives
– How to Use Hotel Points
C. Arriving
– How to Get Local Currency for Your Trip
– Avoid International ATM Fees!
– Know How Much Things Cost

How to Use Free Flight Stopovers

Most airlines allow you free stopovers when traveling internationally (and oftentimes domestic) that will allow you to stop over at a city and stay for a certain number of days until continuing to your next destination.  Usually this only works if you’re stopping in a major hub for the airline, but it worked for us and we saved quite a bit of money.

The first example we used is our flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to New Zealand.  We knew we wanted to stop in one of the tropical destinations on the way (Hawaii, French Polynesia, etc) but since our one way flights were pricing out at $1,500 each, it seemed adding in another stop was too expensive.  However, after researching more, I learned that Air New Zealand flies from LAX to Tahiti, and it also flies from Tahiti to Auckland, New Zealand.  After I learned this, I began searching “multi-leg” segments on Kayak to see if the prices were any different.  Sure enough, when we flew from LAX to Tahiti, stopped over for 9 days, and then on to Auckland, New Zealand, the flights were only $1,050 each!  We added an expensive destination to fly to with a ten day layover, and it was cheaper than flying straight to New Zealand!

Another example was our final leg home on our trip.  Jocelyn has always wanted to visit Iceland, and after I looked at a few pictures, I did as well.  After researching, I found out that IcelandAir allows you to stop over in Iceland between the US and Europe.  I searched for a while and based on our schedule, it worked best for us to fly from London Heathrow, to Iceland, to Denver, and the IcelandAir flights was $580 each while other flights from London Heathrow to Denver were over $1,000 each!  One again, we saved a lot of money and added a destination.

How to Research Flight Stopovers

As mentioned before, you’ll usually need to stop at a major hub city for the airline.  My best strategy for researching flight stopovers is to use Kayak’s “multi-city” search option:

How to use free flight stopovers - Kayak

If you have specific cities you want to stop in, plug those into the multi-city options and see if any cheaper fares come up.  However, if you aren’t able to find a deal online, give the airline a call to see if you can work something out.  Not only is it a good way to add another city to your vacation, but it can also be cheaper!

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2 responses to How to Use Free Flight Stopovers

  1. Interesting method. When hitting multiple places this can be great. As a cheapskate I know I would have to look at the cost of staying in the second destination to see if it balances out.

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