Knowing how to utilise cheap layover destinations is pretty much the pinnacle of smart travelling. It’s a perfect way to add an extra city to your sightseeing itinerary, break up a long journey, and save cash. For every long-haul flight you do, you can add multiple destinations and actually see your airfare cost go down. In some cases, you can save up to 50% by adding just one layover versus taking a direct flight.
But the real key is turning that annoying 5 hour layover into a 5 day stopover so you can use your savings to really explore your added destination properly.
In this guide Skyscanner New Zealand will run through the best money-saving layover routes (and roughly how much you’ll save), and then teach you how to turn these savings into a multi day stopover in just a few easy steps.
But first thing’s first! What’s a layover versus a stopover, and does it matter?
Well, yes it does matter. Airlines distinguish that a layover is the waiting time between connecting flights, ranging 30 minutes to 24 hours. Whilst a stopover refers to a stay that lasts longer than 24 hours, giving you that extra time you need to get to know the city you’re stopping in.
The best money-saving layover routes for New Zealanders
|Route||Layover City||Average Savings|
|Auckland (AKL) to Seoul (ICN)||Shanghai (PVG)||47%|
|Auckland (AKL) to Tokyo (NRT)||Gold Coast (OOL)||18%|
|Auckland (AKL) to Bangkok (BKK)||Sydney (SYD)||39%|
|Auckland (AKL) to London (LHR)||Hong Kong (HKG)||18%|
|Auckland (AKL) to New York (JFK)||Honolulu (HNL)||25%|
|Auckland (AKL) to Santiago (SCL)||Buenos Aires (EZE)||32%|
If you see a route that you like, skip to step 4 in the how-to section.
How do I book a stopover through Skyscanner?
You make use of our brilliant Multi-city search function, which is designed specifically to help you sift and search easily for stopover options. We also recommend being flexible, as this will enable you to snap up that mystic white-whale flight price that is usually hiding on a Tuesday morning or a Wednesday afternoon.
How do I use the Multi-city search tool?
Step 1: Search for flights to and from your final destination
Decide where you want to end up on your travels and the date range you want to depart. Head to Skyscanner New Zealand and type this into the search box. If you’re okay with being flexible, then select Entire Month or Cheapest Month and we’ll display the cheapest range within those parameters. Then, click the Search button.
In this example, we’ll show you how you can save money, and travel more with a cheeky stopover between Auckland and Seoul.
Step 2: Look through the results and switch between “direct” and “1+ stop” to see price differences in the results.
As you can see, the cheapest direct flight from Auckland to Seoul is $680
The price for flights on the same day from Auckland to Seoul including a layover to Taipei is $604
Step 3: Discover which cities offer cheap layovers
Take note of the cities that are presented as layovers on your route. You’ll find that for most airlines you will fly via their main hub (and luckily, these tend to be huge, exciting cities). Choose a flight that fits your price range and has a layover in a city that interests you. Keep this layover city in mind – we’re going to turn it into a stopover.
Step 4: Perform a search using the Multi-city option
The Multi-city tool is the easiest way to turn a short layover into a several day stopover. Go to Skyscanner’s home page. Now, select to search for flights using Skyscanner’s Multi-city option. Decide on a date range that you want to depart your origin city by. Then, for your mid-stop, enter the layover city that you found in Step 3. Then simply add the number of days you want to spend there.
Step 5: Add your stopover
Since your main flight is going to stop here anyway, you can usually add in a few days at no extra cost, or a minimal one. Shift your dates to and fro slightly to see if you can get the long-haul flight for an even cheaper price.
Stopping in Taipei from Auckland to Seoul saves us $76 in airfare and gives us a chance to explore the city.
Step 6: Complete your booking
Yay! Success! Once you’ve found a flight that gets you to your main destination, and still allows for a few days of exploration in a new city, just click to complete your booking.
Case study: our favorite stopover routes
Because of stopovers, you can really find yourself adding a whole new dimension to your planned holiday, and we’ve listed a couple of our favourite stopover combos. Such as combining the beautiful beaches and mountains of Hawaii, with the frenetic and cosmopolitan energy of New York. Or the harbour-side beauty of Sydney with the soaring skyscrapers of Bangkok.
AKL to HNL via JFK
This route saves a New Zealand flyer 25% on average compared to flying direct.
The journey from New Zealand to the east coast of the USA is a super long one, and no one who has ever dreamed of seeing the Big Apple has spent the days in the run up to their holiday fantasizing over the 30 hour journey time.
On a trip like this one, you have to layover, but instead of spending the time in a brightly lit and sterile airport, you can step off the plane and hit the surf. Spending your stopover in Honolulu is a great way to unwind from any stresses you may have left back home, take a moment to breathe, and truly get into the holiday mood.
It is also one of those rare travel combinations that allows you to spend time in nature, grab some (always reliable) Hawaiian rays on the golden beaches of Waikiki, before throwing yourself into the buzzing atmosphere of New York.
And if you’re going to take advantage of New York’s famous nightlife, you may need some prep days to unwind before you hit the City That Never Sleeps.
AKL to SYD via BKK
Another ingenious stopover is the one via Sydney to Bangkok. New Zealanders can save around 39% on average adding Sydney to their travel itinerary.
Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the Antipodes, and who hasn’t wanted to update their Instagram with that spectacular Sydney Harbour backdrop? A few days in this city will give you a chance to get to know our Aussie neighbours, whilst giving you a little taste of Australia if you’ve always wanted to go.
Sydney makes a great companion piece to Bangkok, as they are both major cities that really encapsulate the contemporary culture of their respective countries. Also, whilst you’re in Sydney, you can experience the city’s vaunted dining, shopping and nightlife, as well as start work on your base tan for Thailand by visiting Bondi Beach.
What cities are on your list?
Planning your trip around a stopover could potentially save you thousands of dollars, but give you a chance to experience something totally new. So, whilst airlines might be trying to add more direct flight paths to their call list, you should stick to checking out what cheap layovers are available, and add somewhere exotic to your next adventure.