Stopover flights, a must know Travel tip

Stopover flights, a very efficient opportunity for travellers due to the multi-stop! Discovering more places in one go for none or minimum extra costs but double the fun! But wait, doesn’t that mean that we have to wait at an airport a long time before we can catch a connecting flight? No, stopovers will make you a (quick) explorer! What is a stopover flight? How to book a stopover flight? What to take into consideration? We will tell you all!

What are stopover flights?

With a stopover, you have a connecting flight after 24 hours. You will stay in another destination which is often on the usual route to your final destination. That is the opportunity to explore new places while you are on the way already! A perfect example is to fly from Europe to South East Asia / Australia with a stopover in Dubai. Dubai is a perfect city to spend 2 or 3 days in between. Or when travelling from Northern Europe to New York you might have a stop in Iceland; time to discover beautiful nature before ending up in a big city with skyscrapers. Well, isn’t that the best way to tick off places from that travel bucket list?

But what is the difference between layover and stopover flights? A layover is a connecting flight within 24 hours. It is mostly automatically given as a travel option when searching for a flight. Often you will see that there is a destination to switch planes with transfer times varying from 1,5 to 12 or even 20 hours. To make use of a stopover flight you need to take action yourself. How? See below for how to find stopover flight deals.

More of our Stopover flights blog post series:

Be an explorer, experience the fun of stopovers

How do you benefit from a stopover?

  • Some airlines offer free stay over tickets in their hub city and other times you do pay a bit extra.
  • When checking for tickets on search engines like Kayak or Skyscanner you will see you can sometimes score great deals by taking a long flight with a waiting time (a layover) compared to a direct flight. This way you can save sometimes a few hundred.
  • You work full-time and have limited holidays to take per year. Combining a trip with a stopover in one location can be super beneficial as you will see more and can tick off another destination from your bucket list. Take a two week holiday, for example, the first 2/3 days could be in a city on the way.
  • You would like to visit a destination but not as a regular trip or holiday. A great example for me would be Singapore. A destination I really wanted to visit but not that convenient as a trip on its own from Amsterdam. I decided to take the opportunity to visit Singapore on the way to a trip to Bali.
  • It could save you money indirectly. Going on two different trips will costs you separate airplane tickets. A ticket with a stopover is not always guaranteed cheaper, but with a small addition on top, you can have both destinations on one ticket. For example: when we went to Mauritius we had a 3-day stopover in Dubai. We paid around 200 euros extra on the flight ticket, but if done trips separately it would have costs us easily 500 euros extra.
  • Some flights are just so long! Have a break in a city and stretch your legs while on an adventure in a new destination instead of sitting still for 10+ hours. Wouldn’t that be also better for your health?
  • Mixing cultures! Stopovers are FUN. You are able to have different and more impressions in one go which is a fantastic experience.

Is this your first time flying? Don’t worry, we share all ins and outs with you to be prepared well in All you need to know for your first time flying

How long do you need for a stopover?

There is no maximum you should take for a stopover. It can be one day, it can be a few weeks. It just depends on your own wishes for your trip. In terms used by the airline industry, a stopover is a minimum stay of 24 hours. When booking tickets you might see more often a layover with waiting times for a connecting flight from 10 hours or longer. Even in this short timeframe, you might be able to leave the airport to do a quick visit but this can be stressful.

We prefer to have at least 24 hours and a 1-night stay to a max of 3 days. Of course, this includes extra costs for a hotel night so you need to see what works well for your budget and destination. There are cities where you can visit the highlights in 12 hours if you keep a good pace to discover.

How to pick a destination for a stopover?

To determine where we would like to have a stopover, we take the following steps:

  • Determine the final destination as a start and check the average costs for a price ticket. This way you can see what the usual travel routes are and what location for the stopover would be reasonable. You do not want to fly 8 hours extra because of a stopover far out of the direction. A great website to find inspiration for possible stopover destinations is ‘Airwander’ (see below).
  • Check what destinations you have on your wish list that would be appropriate for a short stay. Also to keep in mind what you would like to see and how long you should stay minimum. When checking tickets the prices can vary pretty much if you would depart one day earlier or later.
  • Check the climate and weather expectations. When travelling for a roundtrip to Central America I had the opportunity to score a very cheap ticket with a long stop in Toronto, Canada. I would’ve loved to do so but this would mean I needed to bring winter clothing as well in my backpack. This was not convenient as I needed much space for summer outfits for a 3-week trip afterwards.
  • Do we need extra documents or a visa to enter the country? If you need to pay extra for an expensive visa you might not want to visit the place for such a short term.
  • In case of a short layover/stopover: check with the airline if your luggage will remain at the airport for the connecting flight or if it will be released to the luggage belt. Often you see that the luggage will only remain at the airport with a layover, but exemptions are possible per layover, destination and airline! (also if you fly with multiple airlines)
  • We check if it is a good deal to combine this destination in a stopover ticket compared to having two separate trips. Also in combination with extra hotel nights.

How to find stopover flights deals?

There are several ways to find the best deals for stopover flight tickets. You can find them on your own or with help:

  • Flight ticket search engines:
    • Airwander: Airwander predicts the cheapest multi-day stopovers for any flight. It is a great website to find good deals as it shows you the savings (still, always double-check if indeed it’s the best deal), but also to find inspiration for possible destinations on the route to your final stop.
    • Kayak: our favourite website to find flight deals – on their interactive world map or with the search option ‘Multi city’ or ‘Trip builder’ where you can look for the best deals for your bucketlist.
    • Skyscanner: another great website to search for deals based on multi-city searches and to find inspiration.
  • Call the airline: sometimes you get the option on the airline website itself to select a stopover. But most of the times this is not offered automatically. It is a great idea to contact customer service as they are often able to book and advise on more options for you.

Airline program, read our blogpost Stopover tickets: 10 airlines with free stopovers: there are some airlines that have a special stopover program that you can use, very user friendly. for example TAP air Portugal where you can enjoy some time in Lisbon or Porto.

So how does stopover flights sound to you? Are you ready to make your trips more fun, discover more places and find the best deals? Let us know what routes you took or what tips work best for you in the comments below or get in touch directly.

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