The Hidden Cities Travel Hack

Today is Valentine’s Day and you might feel pressured to buy sh!t for your significant person because yay, materialism.

{Insert link to clichéd thinkpiece about how Millennials crave experience over things.}

In my very biased opinion, booking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Iceland, land of geysers, Sigur Rós, and hákarl is probably a much better use of your money than buying a necklace or yoga pants or whatever dumb thing it is that people fill the empty spaces in their lives. The memories you have of a weird volcanic rock where everyone wears fuzzy woolen sweaters year-round are bound to last much longer than any joy you could ever get from a shiny piece of metal worn around your neck.

The challenge is getting to a place like Iceland without burning a hole in your wallet. It helps to know which flight search engines help you find the best flight deals , but there’s another way. Hidden cities.

A couple years ago, a guy figured out that sometimes airlines put people on stopover flights to fill up the plane — and that there’s nothing stopping passengers from leaving the airport at a stopover destination and calling it quits. He launched a website, Skiplagged, and it did so well that United Airlines sued him for it (they lost).

The principle of the hidden cities hack works like this:

You live in San Francisco and want to travel to Iceland. Direct flights there on WOW air start at $129 one-way. Which isn’t a bad deal. Then you notice that you can buy a one-way flight to Frankfurt for $69 instead. So you buy that flight instead, remembering NOT to check a bag because, duh, it’s headed to Frankfurt. You get off on the Reykjavik stopover. Boom! $60 saved.

One other very important caveat to remember about the hidden cities hack: airlines DO NOT. I REPEAT. DO NOT.  honor the rest of an itinerary once you miss a leg. What this means is you do not ever book a roundtrip flight with the intention of skipping. Instead, book two separate one-way tickets.

Enjoy Iceland, lovers.

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