Everyone keeps talking about flights booking hack by how to get the best prices. This is something new: how to use layover for your travel!
Warning: some destinations are connected only by one Airline, like the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, Easter Island in Chile or islands in Hawaii. As there is no competitions, be prepared to spend a lot of cash. The is no way around! In any other scenario, you can:
Make (Very Long) Layovers
Be smart, and go for the options that nobody wants! Eg: stopping 19h somewhere for no reason.
Remember search engines are programmed to only display “decently” long layover? Because in 2018, nobody wants to spend 5 days travelling from city A to city B. Is that so?
Let’s take an example, let’s say I want to fly from Lima, Peru to Paris, France one way. Using any search engine, I won’t find less than 700 USD, with layovers in Madrid, Miami or Panama City. Now let’s think outside the box, and use what we learnt with low-cost airlines.
Case Study: Lima to Paris for 370 USD
- Start by flying from Lima to Fort Lauderdale (Miami’s low-cost airport).
- Costs: Lima to Miami, 150 USD with Spirit Airlines instead of 280 USD with American Airlines.
- Stop there a few hours, waiting for the next cheap flight to New York LGA Airport. You must be at the airport at 4 am, nobody wants to fly that early!
- Cost: Taking off at 6 am for 60 USD, still with Spirit.
- Landing in NY at 9 am. You realize the cheap Norwegian flight to Paris leaves the day after 11 pm, so take advantage of it and spend 2 days exploring The Big Apple, at no extra cost.
- Then take a flight from New York JFK the day after. There is an airport change, from LGA to JFK, nobody wants to do that neither! This is an 8h overnight flight, so no hotel to pay neither.
- Cost: You get it for 160usd with Norwegian Air Shuttle.
Half Price & 2 Extra Cities
You’ve got a total of 370usd, let’s say 470usd if you have a checked-in luggage and want a sandwich or two on board, vs 700usd for the best and fastest option found with flight comparators. You save 200usd, and you get to see 2 cities for free.
What else? If you’re really into that, you can stop a few days in Iceland, on your way to Paris, the price will be pretty much the same than a direct (check out Wow Air).
Be (very) Flexible Geographically
Search engines are programmed to display inbound flights leaving from “decently” close airports, let’s say 100km radius from where you are, or at least, the same country.
What if you are more flexible?
Case Study: Hong Kong to Chile: 570 USD
Let’s take an example, I am in Hong Kong and I want to go to Santiago, Chile, one way (March 2018). Best price I will find anywhere for this one-way ticket is 1050 USD.
Check out Hong Kong Layover Itinerary
What if I fly from somewhere else in Asia? Let’s try from Tokyo? Taipei? Shanghai? Kuala Lumpur? Singapore? Pretty much same price or the difference is not worth it. Hanoi? Still nothing. Seoul? Bingo!
- 510 USD Seoul – Santiago with KoreanAir
- Layover in Madrid and then Iberia to Santiago.
- Hong Kong Seoul is only 60 USD with Hong Kong Express, and I get to see Seoul for free, saving about 500 USD in the process. Deal!
Trevellers Tips: Do the mAth.
Other Costs To Consider
Depending on your passport, you might or might not need a visa, which might have to be done in advance and cost up to 100usd. In my case, that’s what I need to pay to go to China, even if I stay only 48h.
Same goes for transport to and from the airport. You need to factor in 40usd round trip from and to the airport if you do a layover trip to Melbourne. Luckily, in some places like Singapore or Abu Dhabi, there is a free shuttle to the city.
Travelling expensively has changed me, even shaped me in a way. Today, I am very keen to share this experience with people, from all backgrounds: people willing to start travelling, or doing it even more often, wiser or in a more sustainable way. I have received more help, friendships and kindness that I would have expected. For me, this series is a way for me to give back, to help people in return, to inspire beginners.