a beach with rocks and water

With limited vacation time, money and other real life factors, vacation is a sacred institution. Why see one city, or country, when you can see two or more, without adding any major costs? You can.

One of the simplest yet most effective travel tricks is the “open jaw”, where you fly into one city and out the other, connecting the dots with a simple one way journey in between. Here’s how to bring it into your travel skills arsenal…

What’s An Open Jaw?

Think of a typical round trip journey like drawing a closed mouth. It’s just a flat line from one place to another. Adding a second destination creates what looks like an open jaw, if you were viewing a face from the side.

Here’s the boring round trip…

a map of the world

And here’s the open jaw…

a map of the worldThe basic takeaway here is that many of the most worthwhile places require traveling a long distance and while you’re in that far away place, it can be great to see more than one city or country while you’re there.

It’s a lot easier than going back and forth, right?

Europe is a great place to use as an example, as is Asia because flights in both places from one country to another can be as low as $5.99 one way, and there’s countless rail and driving options as well.

If you only get one or two shots at seeing Europe in your life, why settle for just one culture or city when you could see two or more with total ease and delight?

Good, we’re on the same page!

They key is all about how you book and search for your flights.

One of the many reasons Google Flights is a great tool for searching and booking flights is how easy it makes it to search for seemingly complicated things.

While it’s not guaranteed, it’s not uncommon for flights to and from nearby parts of the world to be similarly priced, so for the same price of a simple round trip, you may be able to spice things up.

a motorcycle parked on a narrow street

How To Research An Open Jaw

Instead of booking New York to London round trip, you may be able to book an “open jaw” from New York to London, back from Rome, Lisbon or any other European city to New York for similar, if not the same money.

The added beauty of this is it allows you to keep moving forward, never backtracking to where you started. You’re in perpetual, forward motion with your travel.

To search for this type of “open jaw” trip, you’d select “multi city” rather than “round trip” on a flight search with your favorite booking site or airline, and enter something like NYC-LON for the first flight and PAR-NYC for the second. This example would mean flying into London and out of Paris.

You’ll worry about getting between the two cities on a separate ticket, or a different means of travel, like Eurostar. Europe just improved high speed services between major cities, by the way!

Here’s an example in Google Flights for a trip into Milan and out of Rome, to get you started.

a sunset seen through a windowThis same concept would work wherever your starting city (your home) may be, and to regions all over the world.

In the example above, you could swap out those two cities for any other cities in the world. You could depart from wherever you are and head to Tokyo, flying back from Bangkok. The opportunities are endless.

If you want to get really tricky, you can always double open jaw as well, where you fly back to a different city, other than the one you originated from. This can be fun if you’ve got plans elsewhere and don’t want to waste time by flying “home” first. Take a peek…

a map of the worldAnd before you ask, this trick works in all cabins whether you want a single “open jaw” or a “double. It even works on tickets you book with points and miles too!

It’s a great tool for premium economy, business class or first class flights too.

Finding great prices just takes a bit of trial and error! To ensure you’re getting a great price, search for a simple round trip to one city to get an idea of how expensive the trip should be, and then see if you can get a similar price when flying out of another.

Saving both time and money is what makes this such a simple yet effective way to travel. You don’t need to buy a separate round trip ticket to get back to the city you started exploring, nor do you need to plan a second trip to that part of the world, just to see another city or country. This can be fun for something as simple as flying into Paris and out of Nice, or as exotic as flying into Tokyo and out of Bali.

The world is quite literally your oyster…

The possibilities are endless, the search process is simple and there’s nothing more exciting than squeezing more greatness out of your precious vacation time. If you only get one or two chances a year to go somewhere, this is your ticket to feeling like you took double the vacations, or more. What’s not to love?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. While I agree on the fun of it, 99% of the times I have searched for a Multi-City journey it’s come out to be much more expensive than a round trip. Even though the Airline flies to all sectors in my Itinerary daily.

    Fun to try it once in a while..

  2. For reward travel open jaw can actually be cheaper.
    As in 2019 when we flew into Madrid on cheap Iberia tickets, and flew out of Dublin on low-fee Aer Lingus tickets.
    As a bonus we got to road trip both the Iberian peninsula and Ireland.
    Win, win.

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