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Money Hack: Score two holidays for the price of one


Yes, you can DIY an extended layover – and for no extra cost.

Flying direct is usually more expensive than opting to include extra stops on your trip. The reason is simple: your journey becomes quicker and smoother and so you have to pay for the convenience.

But if you're open to extending that layover from a few hours at the airport to a couple of nights in the city there's a neat little trick you can do online that won't cost you more in flights (if you play your cards right) and it gives you the chance to see two cities for the one price.

First things first, what's the difference between a layover and a stopover? Well, a layover is the time between two flights and usually lasts under 24-hours, thus giving you limited time to see the city, if any. A stopover, on the other hand, runs longer than 24 hours and allows you to get out and explore.

The hack

To make this one work you'll have to have a destination already in mind and it has to be a significant distance. In the below example, I've chosen to fly from Sydney to New York in November.

Using Skyscanner, search your route, nominating to have up to 1 stop included, so you can see where carriers on your route stop and give you an idea of where you can extend your holiday to. These stops are generally the airline's home city. So, for example, Air China stops in Beijing, Cathay Pacific stops in Hong Kong, Etihad stops in Dubai and so forth.

From this search, you can see that the cheapest flights stop in Shanghai (PVG) and Beijing (PEK). Of these two, I'm going to check out Beijing because it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit.

Drawing from this idea, go back to search and create a multi-stop trip instead with Beijing (or your desired stopover location) included. Since the airline is stopping there already, you can typically add on a few days to that stopover at no extra cost, or minimal extra cost.

You might have to play around with dates a bit to get it just right, so remember to be flexible. But if you tweak well enough you can come out with gems like this:

This multi-stop not only saves me $22 bucks all-up but it gives me a week to tour Beijing before continuing onto New York for six days.

So, where are you headed?

finder money hacks is a bi-weekly roundup of the latest tips and tricks to improve your finances. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for new hacks.

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