How To Get A Free Stay On A European Stopover

How To Get A Free Stay On A European Stopover

If you’re planning to travel to Europe long-distance, it makes sense to take in an extra city or two on the way. A stopover is one of the fastest growing travel trends (breaking a journey in one country before moving onto the final destination) and even better, some European airline carriers currently offer free stopover programs.

Online searches for Stopovers are up by 48% across the U.S. over the past year, particularly to places like Iceland, where it makes sense to break the journey to see the Northern Lights or bathe in geothermal springs, before heading onto Paris or Lisbon, say.

There are several European airline carriers that offer stopover programs—crucially, stopovers are different from a layover. With the latter, you normally don’t leave the airport (usually, you can’t). You simply have to wait to change planes and are beholden to the airline’s whims and timings.

Stopovers give you just enough time to take in another dream destination, in a planned sense, and allow people who don’t travel that much or extensively, to see more of Europe on the same trip.

Icelandair’s Stopover Program Is From 1 to 7 Nights

Icelandair is currently taking advantage of this trend. After noting that stopovers were up 28% since the pandemic began in 2019, it recently polled 7,791 transatlantic flyers across nine different markets (U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Norway) to discover how keen U.S. travelers were to split a long-haul European trip via Iceland. The results noted that stopovers for business travelers were up by 43% from 2019 to 2023—another sign of how much easier it has become to work remotely.

Icelandair offers travelers a free stopover of anything from 1 to 7 nights without paying a surcharge, although accommodation has to be booked separately. The Stopover program is available from 34 North American destinations to 37 European destinations.

TAP Portugal’s Stopover Program Is Multi-City And Up To 10 Nights

It might not have been the first to start allowing Stopovers but Portugal’s TAP carrier is one of the better known programs. It is longer than most (up to 10 nights are possible), it also allows travelers to move between two Portuguese cities during the stay and it has discounted hotels and entry to museums and city sights through its partners. Additionally, the booking system is easy to navigate as you simply click the Stopover button when searching for options.

Turkish Airline’s 20h+ Stopover In Istanbul Offers A Free Hotel Stay

Turkish Airline has a very specific Stopover program for travelers. It’s a little fiddly to book but it specifically encourages people with a layover longer than 20 hours to be able to leave the airport and visit Istanbul, essentially turning a layover that already exists into a free stopover.

Anyone who already has a booking can email 72 hours before departure and obtain a free voucher to stay in the city. There is an added incentive to encourage Business Travelers to use the program as it offers two free nights in a five-star hotel, whilst Economy passengers get just one in a four-star hotel.

As ever, travelers must make sure they have the correct paperwork for stopover parts of the journey, as they would to the final destination. In the case of Turkey, for instance, travelers would need to be in possession of an E-visa or a full tourist visa, depending on the passport they hold. Plus, you should always make sure your insurance will cover you across each of the legs of your Stopover.

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