Nobody enjoys spending 5 or 6 hours at an airport right after a long flight just to wait for another one. Stopovers can be very annoying and often feel like a huge waste of time. However, with good planning you can turn your next stopover into an extension of your holidays without spending much money.
And you know what I´m talking about. You are waiting for your next flight in Dubai or Singapore and you wish you could step out of the airport and have some days on your own discovering this new city. Well, I´ve been extending my stopovers to short trips and have visited places I never imagined I would see, like Colombo in Sri Lanka and Taipei in Taiwan.
During my last trip to the Philippines I decided to fly from Frankfurt via Taipei with China Airlines and instead of spending some hours at the airport waiting for my flight to Manila, I paid a little bit extra and spent 5 days in Taipei – a place that brings back lots of good memories and a destination which offers activities for city lovers including amazing views of Taipei 101 and walks in the colorful streets of Ximen, as well as nature escapes to natural parks like the Yangmingshan National Park, which is located only 1 hour away from Taipei. Now the question is: How can you do that too?
First, instead of looking for round-trip flights in search engines, start using the open jaw flight option. This option is amazing for travelers looking for a long stopover or trying to travel around different cities. In my case, I decided to start my trip to the Philippines some days earlier and searched flights going to my final destination to see which airlines and stop overs are in between. Then I decided to search these flights in separate routes and compare prices. In the end I booked three separate flights (FRA-TPE/TPE-MNL and MNL-FRA) and, instead of waiting in the transfer zone to catch my flight to Manila, I scheduled a short trip to Taipei, and went searching for the best bubble tea in town and the nicest sunrise view of the city, which I found and you can see in the short video below!
Second, not every flight destination can be reached with the same airline every day. Check out different websites, connections and dates. This will require a lot of flexibility and for that reason planning ahead is essential, but with some luck and skills you will be able to find the perfect connection to extend your holidays.
And finally: Try to look for airlines based in locations not easy to reach. To promote tourism in their countries these airlines offer good prices and benefits to those who take long stopovers. Icelandair does it with Reykjavik for someone looking forward to a short getaway in Iceland and come on, doesn´t it just sound like a great experience if you start your next South East Asia trip in a diverse and vibrant city like Taipei?! Particularly when China Airlines flies from Europe via Taipei to places all over Asia and even offers special discounts for students and travelers under 29 years old.
As you can see, finding the right stop over isn’t rocket science . It just requires a little bit of patience, some time in front of a computer and planning a little ahead. This time I spent some days in Taipei and loved it, but who knows where my next stopover is going to take me!