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A layover is common, but stopovers not so much. Many airlines offer them, they just do not advertise them enough for most of us know about them. These deals allow you to stay at least one night in your layover destination, and to hop on a flight to the final destination on your ticket a few days later.
To break it down I will give an example:
Lets say you are booking a ticket to Paris on IcelandAir. You see there is a stopover option when booking the ticket and click on it to find out more. You gather after reading over the page that if you want, you can fly to Paris through a layover in Reykjavik, all in one day. BUT, you can also get off the plane in Reykjavik, leave the airport and explore Iceland for up to 7 nights and then hop on a flight from Reykjavik to Paris. No, you will not be paying for two separate flights from (lets say) New York to Reykjavik and Reykjavik to Paris, but instead the ticket will be the price of flying to Paris from New York. Of course, when you have a stopover you will have to pay any fees associated with getting off the plane, getting a hotel room, activities and so on.
Not every airline does this, but a lot more do than you think. So which airlines are they? Lets find out:
IcelandAir probably has the best stopover program. I won’t take a while to explain it since I gave an example above using the airline, but I will give you a few more details. Here is the website on their stopover program if you want to read up on it a bit more. Basically, you can stay up to seven nights in Iceland. You choose your stopover when you book your flight, and it can be whenever, so when you are heading to your destination or when you are heading home. The great thing is that the airline is cheaper than most. They fly from 18 US cities and fly to 26 European destinations. Iceland is one of the hottest destinations in travel right now so next time you head on a european escapade, why not throw beautiful Iceland into the mix?
Photo Credit: Iceland Pro Cruises
Why not make a stop in the bustling capital of Finland, Helsinki? Spend up to 5 nights through the free stopover program offered by the airline. You could see the Northern lights, spend your days discovering the city and maybe even the beautiful countryside. Like Icelandair, you can choose when you want to take your stopover, on your way to your final destination, or on your way home. Click here for more info and suggested things to do and see while stopped over in Finland.
Photo Credit: Tlu.ee
Continuing on with the Europe theme, TAP Portugal allows you to stay up to three nights in two of the most talked about cities in Europe currently. Stay in the beautiful country of Portugal in either Lisbon or Porto and discover what the buzz is about. Of course, your final destination doesn’t have to be Europe. The airline also flies to South America and Africa. You can also gain from the stopover and not break the bank by taking advantage of the various benefits like exclusive rates on hotels, free experiences and so on. Find out more here.
Photo Credit: Urbanadventures.com
Emirates stopover program looks a little different than the ones above. The airline offers you the chance to book a stopover, if you have a max of 36 hours in between flights. After you book your flight, you contact an Emirates travel agent or your nearest Emirates office and you can choose from a wide range of packages that start at $48 a night per person. They will get you a visa for your stay and assist you in any way you need. Once you clear customs, you head to the hotel transfers desk and someone will help you transfer to your preselected hotel.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
The airline promises travelers a free stopover in the ultramodern yet somehow still traditional capital of Tokyo on top of other cities like Osaka, Haneda and Narita. To take advantage, use the multi-city booking tool and click on “make stopover” and choose your stopover point. I could not find information on the airlines website that states the maximum amount of time you can “stopover” in Tokyo, though. Here is a link to their multi-city booking option to get you started.
Photo Credit: Japan-hotels.ws
I have always wanted to go to Singapore. Known for its multi-cultural vibe with tropical weather, world class shopping, boundary-pushing architecture and hot night life, Singapore airlines understands your desire to visit, even if it isn’t your final destination. Choose multi-city/stopover when booking your stopover program and get ready to explore the streets of Singapore. The stopover comes at a cost of $0, but the airline offers holiday packages from $40/night which include airport transfers and hotel stays. Check out the packages here.
Photo credit: Four Seasons Singapore
Technically not a stop over, nevertheless, Turkish Airlines offers passengers stopping through Istanbul with a layover of 6 hours or more to get out and explore the city where east meets west. You will be picked up from the airport and escorted to historical sites like the Blue Mosque, amazing restaurants where you will be lavished with some of the best Turkish food and so on. Go here for more info.
Photo Credit: St. Regis Istanbul