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Airline Layover Programs Offer Great Value, Experiences

by Carley Wade

Nov 8, 2017

© Andrei Zveaghintev | Dreamstime

Travel Tips

Horseback riding … hiking … whale watching … with a plethora of adventure activities and an otherworldly landscape, Iceland’s charms are captivating. But one of them, thanks to Icelandair, is also a great value, since a stopover on this island nation is basically free through the airline’s Stopover program. Offering flights across the Atlantic from 34 cities, families can stay in the land of the Vikings for up to seven nights before heading to their choice of 37 European destinations. Even better? Everything is super-easy, with convenient FlyBusses that transfer your brood directly to most of the larger hotels in the capital of Reykjavik. Reykjavik Excursions can also be booked online as part of several value-priced packages that include hotels with breakfast, or as separate tours —everything from Northern Lights hunts, to Scandinavian cooking lessons and adventures further afield to an ice cave.

 

horses kissing in Iceland

© Worldaround | Dreamstime

Low-cost carrier WOW Air is also worth checking out (with a few less bells and whistles), except you’ll pay separate luggage fees for each leg.

 

Warm weather more your thing? TAP Air Portugal’s Stopover program offers up not one but two free extension options, to either Porto or Lisbon for one to five nights. An app makes it easy to get around with maps and excursion planning, with a plethora of discounts at hotels, restaurants, museums and tours like a Belem pastry experience, dolphin-watching or city strolls.

Porto, Portugal cityscape in the day.

Photo: Sean Pavone | Dreamstime

For the ultimate in flexibility, Air Canada stopovers can be booked just 96 hours prior to flight time. So if you want to explore Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver and have six hours or more between flights, you can avoid airline fees and get a free night’s hotel accommodations in select ticket classes, or rates starting at $49. Even better, like TAP, if you’re connecting in one city on the way and another on the way out, you can extend on both ends.

 

Six is the magic number in Istanbul, too, where Turkish Airlines offers pickups directly from Ataturk Airport to the city center to explore historical and natural wonders. Kids can learn about the evolution of one of the world’s greatest civilizations, admiring the Blue Mosque or marveling at Ottoman-era Topkapi Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Blue Mosque at night in Istanbul Turkey

Photo: Travnikovstudio | Dreamstime

Want to see more modern marvels like skating rinks or aquariums inside shopping malls, or head up to the top of one of the world’s tallest buildings? Emirates’ Dubai Stopover program includes the opportunity, plus refundable 24-hour hotel check-in for those heading further afield and using Dubai as a break for Asia flights, for instance.

 

Those heading to Singapore can enjoy a value-priced side trip through Singapore Airlines’ Stopover Holidays. It’s not free but for as little as $40, you’ll get complimentary one-night hotel stays, admission to 15 tourist attractions on the hop-on SIA bus and return airport transfers.

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