When budgeting for a trip, getting there is always the most expensive factor. With a little planning, it is possible to add another country onto your trip itinerary without paying anything extra to get there. To help you I have written out some guidelines for how to book an amazing stopover in another country and factors that you need to consider.
I sort of stumbled across visiting another country while on my way to another one by accident. It was while I was living in South Korea and was going to Sri Lanka for my vacation. My flight had a layover in Shanghai…a 22 hour layover!
I did some quick research and found out that I could actually visit Shanghai visa free during this period. It turned out amazing because instead of having to fork up $250 for a tourist visa I could visit for free- I didn’t even need to pay for a flight!
A year later on another flight out of South Korea I noticed that it was impossible to avoid another layover in China. This time I decided to use it to my advantage. I changed my flight search settings to ‘multiple flights’ and put Beijing right in the middle. My search results showed me that I could book a flight into Beijing, spend a couple of days there, and then continue onto my final destination for no extra cost. For $0 I was now going to check Great Wall of China off of my bucket list!
If you would like the same, here are five things you need to consider when adding an extra destination onto your trip:
1. Find All Possible Stopover Destinations
To start your search I recommenced checking out a wesbite such as AirWanderer. This site is an amazing tool for showing you the cheapest cities for you to have a stopover in. It is great because they show you how much extra each stopover will cost you and even how much they can save you. Yes- you can actually save money and see a new country!
2. Figure Out the REAL Cost
You might see that you save $100 on a layover in Zurich verus a layover in Kieve. But think about once you arrive in the city. You will need airport transportation, food and possibly accommodation. It will be easy to rack up an expensive bill in Zurich while Kieve is easy to enjoy on the cheap. So while at first glance it may seem like it is cheaper for you to visit Zurich take into account other costs besides airfare.
3. Compare flights Using Other Search Engines
I only recommend using Airwanderer as a guideline for possible stopovers. Once you get an idea of where you would like to go, visit flight search engine of your choice to try and find the best prices. My personal favourite is Kayak. On Kayak you can use flexible booking option to compare what days offer cheaper flights.
4. Consider Visa Requirements
There is nothing worse than landing in a new country only to find out that you aren’t allowed to enter it. To avoid being stuck in an airport for two days make sure you check the entry visa requirements. China is one in particular that you should be weary about- it offers a visa-free 72 hour layover but there is fine print to read.
5. Enjoy the Journey
As a traveler I am sure you have heard many a time that it’s about the Journey- not the destination. Keep this quote in mind when considering adding an extra country onto your travel plans.
What do I mean by that? I mean consider flying into a different country other than your final destination. When you arrive you can create your own journey to your final destination by land.
When I was looking into flights to Belize they were so expensive. In comparison Cancun, Mexico was dirt cheap. But I didn’t want to go to Cancun. With a little research I ended up finding out that I could make my own way down through Mexico into Belize.
I ended up booking a cheap flight to Mexico and created an amazing adventure as I backpacked my way down through Mexico. It turned out to be an unforgettable experience. I got to see the country in a different way than most tourists who visit do. I grew a new appreciation for the country- plus it felt pretty bad-ass to walk across the border into Belize.
If you do chose this option just make sure before you try to enter the next country that you haven’t lost your passport like I did.
So next time you are considering buying a flight from A to B, consider adding in a C…or D!