Sunday, May 31, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Best Extended Stopover and Layover Programs

Did you know you can get two vacations for the price of one… for no extra cost? Check more items off your bucket list without paying more for air fare when you take an extended stopover during your layover!

If you’ve ever had a long layover, you’ve probably done what the rest of us do: look longingly out the window and wish you could go take a look around. Instead of wasting away your life in an airport, why not actually get out and see some things? This isn’t as hard as it sounds, believe it or not. Depending on your destination or airline, you may be able to just book a long layover and walk out the airport doors, or you may be able to get a special package.

Wondering how to make this magical experience work for your next flight? Read on to learn how you can transform your vacation with an awesome extended stopover!

Spend a few days in Finland

Flying Finnair? You’re in luck! This airline offers a free stopover in Helsinki to customers flying through this city. You can spend as long as five days in the city before continuing on to your final destination! And you won’t just be on your own—you’ll be able to take a tours (including Northern Lights viewings), try local food, and head to the city’s main shopping centers. The airline can even arrange your tours for you.
Spend A Few Days In Finland   Helsinki
Hit the Beach in Hawaii

If you fly on Hawaiian Airlines, you can get not one but two stopovers in Hawaii! Enjoy the islands on your way to and from your final destination. In some cases, you may need to pay a $60 fee, but hey, that’s a lot cheaper than a ticket to Hawaii alone! This is a great chance to see a Hawaiian island that you might not otherwise visit. The beach is calling…. You should answer.
Hit The Beach In Hawaii
Discover Panama

Copa Airlines and the Panama Tourism Authority have joined forces to bring you a wonderful stopover experience in Panama! Enjoy gorgeous beaches or try a zipline. All you have to do is book a ticket, request a tour itinerary, and contact the sales office to pay for both.
Discover Panama
Traverse the Golden Circle

The original awesome stopover belongs to Icelandair. This company offers a free stopover that can be up to a week long! When you take a long layover in Reykjavik, you can take an Icelandic tour of all the coolest (and we mean that literally) places in Iceland. Tour the Viking Museum or check out Game of Thrones set locations before continuing your trip.
Traverse The Golden Circle   Reykjavik
Discover the Iberian Peninsula

If you fly TAP Portugal, you can enjoy three nights in Lisbon or Porto. This airline doesn’t charge a fee for stopovers, and your plane ticket can get you special discounts in the cities. Do keep in mind that this stopover offer only applies to travelers going round-trip between continents.
Discover The Iberian Peninsula   Portugal
Spend Half a Day in Canada

Is your Air Canada layover more than six hours? Congratulations—you get a free stopover instead of airport pizza and boredom! You can spend a few hours exploring Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver if you have a long layover. If you’re paying full price for your ticket (as opposed to Tango and Flex), you can even get a free hotel room for trips when you don’t feel like seeing the sights.
Spend Half A Day In Canada
Stuff Dutch People Like

Ever wanted to visit Amsterdam? Well, now you can! If you are flying with KLM, you can have a stopover in Amsterdam with both your coming and your returning flight. Tulips, canals, architecture from the Golden Age – it’s everything you imagined. Bicycle tour, anyone?
Stuff Dutch People Like
Get WOWed by Iceland

Icelandair isn’t the only game in town… at least, not if that town is called Reykjavik. WOW Air is also offering stopovers in Iceland! Soak in the volcanic hot springs or join the party in the many clubs. If you’re flying between Europe and North America via Iceland, you just have to choose the stopover option while booking your tickets online. What could be easier?
Get WOWed By Iceland
This is for You…A….E.

Fly Etihad Airways through the UAE and you can get a free stopover in Abu Dhabi! If this city has always been on your bucket list but you’ve never taken the time to go, this is your chance. So go spend a day at Ferrari World and grab some falafel! Abu Dhabi is a great family vacation destination.
This Is For You…A….E   Abu Dhabi
Learn Some Mandarin

Time to learn some Mandarin, because you’re going to need it for your Beijing or Shanghai stopover! When you fly Air China and have a long layover in either of these cities, you can get out and look around for a bit. You will need to get transit stamp that allows you to leave the airport in Beijing. You can use this instead of a visa if you are staying less than 24 hours.
Go for the Gold

Spend a couple nights in the world’s most famous city of wealth! Emirates Air allows you up to 96 hours in Dubai if you book your ticket through an agent or the Emirates travel site. Luxury and extravagance await! Waterparks, shopping, desert safaris; there are plenty of things to do in Dubai. Did someone mention gold-flecked champagne?
Go For The Gold   Dubai
Be Domestic

If you fly domestically, it’s really easy to get a free stopover. Actually, it might even be cheaper to book a stopover flight than a flight with a short layover! If you choose a ticket with a really, really long layover, you can leave the airport, do some exploring, and get back in time for your next flight.

This isn’t advisable for international flights for two reasons. First, you generally have to get a visa to leave the airport if you are in a foreign country. It might be more hassle than it’s worth to arrange this for a stopover, depending on where your layover is. Secondly, it takes a lot longer to get in and out of the airport if you are in a foreign country. Customs is no joke! But if you’re in your own country, its’ usually no problem to leave the airport for a while and then head back for your flight.
Be Domestic
Is your head already reeling with travel plans? Extended stopovers offer a whole new world of opportunity for travelers! You can explore a Portuguese castle on your way to Greece, see the CN Tower before heading to Calgary, or check out a glacier on your way from New York to London. The opportunities are endless! On your next trip, why not make this a reality?

Where would you like to go during a long layover? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Davies
    September 29, 2017 - 7:17 am

    I didn’t believe one could get two vacations for one price, until I read this piece. Sounds so true, and I think I should give it a try. I like beach sights, and stopping over to discover Panama would be one thing that can feed my passion for beach.

  2. Yassine
    September 29, 2017 - 6:22 pm

    I’m the type of person, who hate going to a place that i know i may enjoy , and that’s worth seeing but not being able to, and staying the whole time in the Aeroport is not fun.So i like the idea, plus it make me save oney, which is even cooler.Amesterdam will be my next experience! I always wanted to try the night life there.

  3. September 30, 2017 - 1:57 am

    Hey, this is the article I have been looking for. Who does not enjoy two vacations on the price of one. I certainly will love to visit Hawaii and get bonus vacation. Trump is going to be there and maybe I can attend his speeches there.

  4. Rachael Mills
    October 3, 2017 - 12:36 pm

    Me and my fiance are planning a vacation for the end of the end of the year. If U A E turns out to be our destination we might take to your tip about Dubai enrout Abu Dhabi

  5. Francois
    October 4, 2017 - 2:24 pm

    I’ve never being to Finland , so maybe it will be worth it take advantage and visit this beautiful country

  6. Rachael Mills
    October 5, 2017 - 3:17 am

    @Francois, Finland is lovely place with friendly people, a childhood friend is based in Helsinki, I had a really wonderful time when i visited her two years ago.

  7. Sophia Mason
    October 5, 2017 - 8:12 am

    Seriously layovers could be very boring sometimes and make one feel like it should have never happened or pass quickly. But I think during my next layover, I am sure going to try a stopover in a place really cool and fun.

  8. Richard G.
    October 7, 2017 - 6:00 pm

    How fun! I knew stopovers were a thing, I just never knew how to go about it – very helpful!


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