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How to Book Flights with Free Mini-Stopovers

Last night I landed in Florence. I had four layovers on the way here, which doesn't sound like a positive thing at first, but I booked them intentionally. Very frequently, if I have a long flight, I'll book tons of long layovers and actually leave the airport on each one.

My first layover was in Newark for almost five hours, so I rented a car, drove to see my family in New Jersey for a couple hours, and then headed back to the airport. My next flight brought me to Lisbon for two hours, which was a layover I couldn't avoid, but was too short to enjoy. It was early in the morning when I landed, and it was a short flight to my next destination, Amsterdam, so I got there early as well. I had twenty-two hours in Amsterdam, so I checked into my airport hotel, dropped off my stuff, and headed downtown.

Downtown I had some lunch , visited the Rijksmusem to see the Vermeers (I'm on a pointless quest to see all 34 Vermeers), visited the Van Gogh museum, had dinner, and then walked around the red light district before heading back to the hotel.

The next morning I woke up early again and headed to Zurich, which I was warned was incredibly boring. I managed to take the least direct train downtown, which gave me a mini tour of the outer edges of the city, I walked down the main shopping street, wandered through old Zurich, ate a couple Swiss chocolates, spent a lot of time down by the water watching the swans, took some pictures, and then headed back to the airport to work in the Swiss Air lounge. After eight hours total in Zurich, I headed to Florence.

A Few Useful Travel Tools


One of the things that took me a long time to figure out is that often, flying through 2-3 different cities on a single ticket often costs very similar to a one-way flight.

So, going "New York to Berlin on May 25th" might not be cheaper than going "New York to London on April 28th,  London to Munich on May 22nd, Munich to Berlin on May 25th" -- strange but true.

It's especially easy to stop in hub cities for up to a month, so swinging through Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and other regional hubs is easy. It's fun to stop in New York for 2-3 days when you're on your way elsewhere if you've got the time.

The thing is, it can be tricky to plan these routings. That's where Matrix comes in --


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