Explore on a budget: 5 airlines that offer enticing stopover programmes for travellers

An plane making its way over an exotic destination. Picture: Unsplash

An plane making its way over an exotic destination. Picture: Unsplash

Published Apr 5, 2024


ARE you looking for ways to explore more destinations on a budget? Some airlines have stopover programmes that allow travellers to explore the airline’s hub city for a few days without any extra charges on their flight ticket.

If your visa permits, you can venture around the city. Depending on the amount of time you’ll be spending at your stopover, you can take a city tour using public transport. Some airports provide half-day city tours free.

Travellers can get in some rest time, get a massage at an airport hotel, read and even meditate.

Audy Yao, a travel content creator on Instagram, says stopover arrangements differ across airlines. Some include complimentary or discounted accommodation, transport from the airport, or even special discounts on local tours, dining or entertainment.

Here are five airlines that offer some enticing stopover programmes, according to the travel content creator.


When you fly transatlantic with the airline, you can choose to add a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare. You can stay for a day or up to a week while enjoying everything from geothermal bathing to northern lights gazing in Iceland.

Turkish Airlines

The airline’s website states: “Passengers who are connecting via Istanbul Airport can enrich their travels by discovering the city’s history and cultural life with Stopover in Istanbul – and enjoy free accommodation in partner hotels.”

TAP Air Portugal

According to TAP Air Portugal, travellers can add a free stopover in Lisbon or Porto from one to 10 days with its Portugal Stopover. “You can opt for this stopover on an outbound or returning trip. In addition to the opportunity to visit Portugal and its islands, you will have access to exclusive offers making your experience unforgettable,” said the airline.

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi is an ideal stopover destination as it’s easy to reach much of the world from the UAE’s capital, according to the airline. “Whether you’re looking for a short city break or longer beach retreat, a stopover in Abu Dhabi definitely won’t disappoint. Uncover Abu Dhabi for 1-6 nights with hotel discounts or 1-2 nights with complimentary lodging,” said the airline.

Qatar Airways

And finally, Qatar Airways said that you can turn one holiday into two with incredible stopover packages to Qatar, the perfect destination for a taste of local culture, desert adventures, world-class shopping, fine dining and more.

“Make the most of your journey with these amazing packages by Discover Qatar, including up to four nights in a hotel, tours, and memorable experiences. Choose from 4 or 5-star hotels in the package types below to create the perfect stopover itinerary,” said the airline.

For more information, check out the respective airlines’ websites.