Did you know that adding a stopover can save you money on your next flight? If you haven’t considered adding a stopover to your travel itinerary, you might be surprised to find out that you may be missing out on a significant amount of savings. Since I’m always scouring the web for useful travel hacking websites, let me introduce you to AirWander (AW) which does just that. AW is a flight search engine that helps travelers save money on flights by adding multi-day stopovers. It’s the first flight search tool to use advanced technology to take advantage of the cost savings from booking a series of flights with stopovers.
What is a stopover?
Stopovers are destinations that you can add to your itinerary before continuing to your final destination. Stopovers are shorter than your overall trip. For domestic flights, stopovers are typically more than four hours and for international flights, stopovers are usually more than 24 hours.
Here’s an example of a stopover.
New York City -» Dubai -» Singapore
Instead of flying directly to Singapore, you can stop in Dubai for a few days. While you’re visiting the United Arab Emirates, go on an outdoor adventure in Dubai like kite surfing or skydiving above the Arab Peninsula!
For those financially savvy travelers who like to save money on flights, adding a stopover can potentially lower the price of your ticket. Lots of travelers also use stopovers to visit their family and friends or see a city that they haven’t been to before.
So how do you find cheap flights with stopovers without spending a ton of time researching?
While some airlines like Icelandair, Singapore Air, and TAP Portugal advertise stopovers, AirWander is a search engine that helps travelers discover new destinations in route to their final destination.
A New Way To Discover Stopovers and Pay Less
In 2014, AirWander’s founders Ela Bader and Douglas Deming were backpacking across South America. While planning their eight-month route, they discovered a handy booking technique or “flight hack”.
Through trial-and-error, they discovered that stopovers reduced the price of their flights. Considering airlines, cities, prices, the ideal amount of days to spend at each stopover and much more, the process took hours if not days to coordinate.
Ela and Douglas needed a better solution so they created AW, a unique flight search engine that discovers the best flight combinations automatically, helping travelers make the most of air travel.
AW launched in December of 2016 and it is free to use. Right now there isn’t a mobile app but the team hopes that an app will come out soon.
How it works
Turn your layovers into stopovers with this free stopover flight search!
It has an easy-to-use interface that is jam-packed with a ton of features. Not only can this website save you money by predicting potential stopover cities but it also suggests the most efficient routes to take.
First, enter your departure airport and final destination. Pick your travel dates, currency, and language (English or Spanish). Next, search for a one-way, round-trip, multi-city flights or world tour. Then select if you want to travel first or business class or opt for premium eco or economy.
All prices include taxes and fees and prices adjust when you change any of these factors.
Behind the scenes, AW creates a free marketplace where airlines compete for pricing. The San Francisco based start-up earns commission from airline partners when customers book directly from the site.
You’ll notice that when looking at flight combinations, you have to book each flight separately. Unlike other search engines who show airlines within the same alliance, AW combines all airlines regardless of partnerships. This promotes competition among the airlines and ensures that you’ll find the cheapest flights possible.
The most popular stopover destinations worldwide are Los Angeles, New York City, Reykjavík, Paris, London, and Bangkok.
Noteworthy Airwander Features
Create Custom Stopovers
With AW, you have the liberty to customize your stopover by picking the days you want to spend at a stopover destination. Add a stopover to your outbound or inbound flight.
It then calculates a “benchmark” fare and compares flight prices when you add different stopover options. Adding a stopover can either increase or decrease the flight price (when compared to the benchmark).
In other words, AW recommends destinations and shares how those destinations affect the price of your ticket.
So for example, stopping in Bangkok for 3 days can save you $101 (indicated by the negative sign) but stopping in Los Angeles increases the price of your ticket by $84 (indicated by the positive sign). With all this information, you can now weigh your options and create the perfect itinerary that matches your budget and interests!
Furthermore, you can select the direction of your flights. You may only want to see destinations East-bound or North-bound for example.
Fine Tune Your Itinerary With Filters
It also allows you to tweak your flight leg searches by adjusting:
- Take off time
- Landing times
- Stops (up to 3 stops or more)
- Layover and flight leg duration
AirWander is an impressive flight search engine that specializes in finding multi-city itineraries (you can also search for hotels too). In the past, I thought that stopovers were more or less dictated by the airlines but it’s interesting how you can potentially use stopovers to travel hack your way to a cheaper flight. It is a smart tool ideal for savvy backpackers, globetrotters, digital nomads and retirees who want to save money while maximizing the time they spend in a particular region.
Overall, it’s a great resource for flexible travelers who are looking to weigh their options. It can save travelers money on flights by finding free or cheap stopovers and it reduces the time you spend searching for complex multi-city flight bookings. I love that it offers travelers a way to add short side trips to their itineraries.
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, author, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 27 countries and 4 continents. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.