When I wrote my book, Have Home Will Travel, The Ultimate International Home Exchange Guide for Families, I spent a lot of time researching airfare; specifically, how to save a lot of money on airfare. Before I wrote the book I knew enough tips to save a good deal of money, but I learned even more through my book research.
So, ironically, I recently referred to my own book for advice about airfare for my families trip to Europe next summer. I always start looking for airfare early; it’s the best way to ensure snaring a good deal. However, another tip that I learned while writing my book, has also panned out for me. It’s the tip about ‘stopovers.’ A stopover is like a layover, but longer; it can be days or even weeks instead of hours. A stopover lets you leave the airport to visit a cool place for your choice of time, and then return to the airport to continue to your ultimate destination. The great part is that the stopover may not increase your airfare rate. In fact, it can reduce the cost of airfare!
I know that it can reduce the cost of airfare, because I tried it out on my upcoming trip. My family was planning to fly out of JFK airport in NY on about July 12, 2015 to begin our back to back home exchanges in Amsterdam, followed by Brittany, France. Then we planned to take the train from Brittany to Paris at the end to spend a few nights in Paris before flying out of Paris back to NY on August 15th.
The cheapest air, by far, was on IcelandAir, only $1,052 – a fantastic rate for air travel from the US to Europe in the summer. However, since Iceland is someplace my family would love to visit, and because IcelandAir prompts you to try a stopover, I checked it out. What I found was that adding a three day stopover in Reykjavik, Iceland, produced even cheaper airfare, only $994 for the same flights (with the exception of stopping in Reykjavik for three nights, instead of a short layover, before flying to Amsterdam. For my family of five (including my mom) that’s a savings of $290 for the family – and we get to spend three day’s in a cool place like Iceland!!
So, that’s what we plan to do. Even better news is that I have accumulated enough rewards miles on Chase and American Express to get two free IcelandAir tickets (excl. taxes & fees), so I’ll only need to purchase two round trip airline tickets, instead of four. You can find out how to utilize great credit card sign-on bonuses to accumulate award miles infinitely more quickly in my book, Have Home Will Travel, as well.
Iceland here we come!