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I mean, it is free…

Years ago, layovers meant one thing: hassle. Direct flights were always better than connecting flights and avoiding roundabout routings was everything. At the same time, airlines have home bases and many of them are sought after destinations in themselves. Why not turn the part of travel people hate most into something so exciting, it’s almost better than the final destination itself? Turkish Airlines stopover program has flown way too far under the radar, and it’s easily amongst the best

turkish airlinesFree Stops And Free Hotels

If you’re flying Turkish Airlines from basically anywhere to anywhere, you’re going to be flying through Turkey en route, and that probably means beautiful Istanbul. It’s an awesome city. To encourage people to actually explore Turkey, rather than just fly Turkish Airlines, you can book free stopovers over 24 hours at no additional cost. The airline even picks up the tab on your hotel, even if you’re flying economy. Here’s what you get…

  • Economy passengers receive one complimentary night at a 4* hotel.
  • Business class receives two complimentary nights at a 5* hotel.

How The Istanbul Stopover Works

If you find great Turkish Airlines flight deals on Google Flights or Turkish Airlines, you can book a multi city journey for the same price as a standard round trip, as long as Istanbul is the city in the middle. For example, you’d book a multi city journey like New York to Istanbul on a Monday, then stopover in Istanbul until Wednesday and then fly on to Bangkok. On the return, you could just fly through without stopping. It works for departure points and destinations all around the world and looks something like this…

Once You’ve Got A Booking

A bunch of airlines now offer handy stopover programs, but this is amongst the most generous. Once you’ve made a booking with Turkish, you simply email the local Turkish stopover office, at least 72 hours in advance. A full list of contacts is here. Obviously, the sooner the better. When you email, include your name, your record locator/confirmation number and which date(s) you’d like to stay in Istanbul. You can also note if you prefer double beds, etc. Add in your email and telephone number and voila – Istanbul for free! Some of the hotels are legitimately nice too.

Getting a Turkey Visa

Turkey requires visas for citizens of many countries and to ensure the easiest entry process, it’s best to get one well in advance. You can read up on everything you need to apply online at the Turkey e-visa website. U.S. citizens would pay $20 for a 90 day entry visa, and can do so online. It’s the same for most countries and the process is quick and easy! Good to know, right?

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