I am one of those few and far between people that actually enjoys plane rides. Call me strange, but the feeling of take off, landing and even turbulence is exhilarating, and I can spend hours on end to watch movies, read, and sleeping without feeling like I am wasting time! I even enjoy the airplane food… most of the time.
When you live in New Zealand and Australia, getting to Europe is a REALLY long journey. From New Zealand your looking at two 12/13 hour flights with a layover in between of anything from 1.5-20+ hours. Obviously the same problem for anyone in UK/Europe heading down under, or even an American living on the West Coast getting to Europe!
Luckily for us, having to catch at least two flights to get anywhere far away means we get the opportunity to tick a brand new city off our bucket list- often for free! It is also a perfect way to break up the journey and can help beat jet lag- win/win! It can be kind of tricky with some airlines to do this online, so this is when a travel agent comes in handy!
Some of the most popular airlines/stopovers I used to book as a travel agent are the following:
Air New Zealand- Stopovers in Tokyo/Hong Kong/Shanghai/Vancouver/Los Angeles/San Francisco. You can even do one stop in one city in Asia on the way there, then the USA/Canada on the way back and Voila! Super cheap round the world trip! They even have the option of paying a bit extra to include Rarotonga or Fiji as an extra stopover.
Qantas/Emirates- Stopovers in Melbourne/Brisbane/Sydney (although Australia has a stopover tax of around $100AUD), Bangkok, Dubai. Ever since Qantas and Emirates started code-sharing it has opened up more flight times as well!
Etihad- Abu Dhabi, which is also only a 40 minute bus ride to Dubai!
Singapore Airlines- Singapore (also have a great option called Asian Add-ons, where you can add on return flights from Singapore to other Asian cities for a really inexpensive price! Opens up a lot more stopover options- Delhi, Koh Samui, Borneo…)
Lufthansa/Swiss Airlines/Austrian Airways- these three are also great for Round the World options! They codeshare with a bunch of airlines from America/Asia back to New Zealand/Australia- so say hello to stopovers in Vancouver/Los Angeles/San Francisco/Bangkok/Kuala Lumpur/Tokyo/Osaka/Singapore/Shanghai… just to name a few!
There are MANY more options out there as well- these are just a few! Although this is more aimed towards Kiwis/Aussies heading to the UK and vice versa, it gives an idea to everyone what opportunities are out there. If your traveling to London from Vancouver- how about Japan as a stopover? For the West Coasters, Iceland Air do REALLY cheap flights to Europe via Reykjavik. Or how about if your heading from L.A to Australia, flying Air Tahiti Nui and break up the flight in style in Bora Bora? The options are endless!
Check out some stopover inspiration below from some of my favorite stopover cities!