International Tips Travel

How I Extended My Stay In South America for Free

Airline lingo can be confusing. Direct flight vs. Non-stop flight (Wait…why are we stopping? I thought we were going DIRECTLY there!). Carry-on vs. Personal item (I can bring two things? No? Just one? Can I put one inside the other?). Layover vs. Stopover (So, can I leave the airport or not?).

Layover is a term I’ve been familiar with all along, but this stopover business was new to me. Very shortly I’ll be headed to South America for two weeks. South America has some beautiful places to visit like Patagonia, Global Basecamps deal with tours and trips in that area and it is tempting to book one next time I’m off there. Anyway, back to what I was saying, when I purchased my flight to Brazil, once I received my confirmation I decided to read the fine print. I NEVER do this, but something in my spirit said, “Girl, read the fine print.” This is when I saw it said something along the lines of my ticket being eligible for one FREE stopover in a connecting city. I wasn’t 100% sure what a “stopover” was but I damn sure knew what “free” meant and that was reason enough to do a little research.

LAN Terms and Conditions

Let’s start with some basic definitions:

Lay·o·ver – The period spent between connecting flights

Stop·o·ver – Connections between flights that allows you to stay in a connection city for greater than 24 hours and less than the duration of your trip

After scouring the internet as well as the airline’s website for definitions and examples, it looked like I was in the clear and that this was something I could take advantage of. I called the airline’s customer service, and the conversation went a little something like this:

ME: Hi! I see that my airline ticket says I am eligible for a FREE stopover, and I just wanted to get a little clarification as to what that is. (Yes, I already know what this is at this point but I just wanted to make sure me and the rep I was speaking to were on the SAME PAGE lol)

REP: *explains what a stopover is and confirms that I am eligible*

ME: And it is FREE of charge, correct? (I am serious about not paying another dime)

REP: *confirms that is FREE*

ME: Great! Well I would like to extend my time in Lima, Peru and push back my original departure date

REP: *tappity tap taps on keyboard* You’re all set! Check your email inbox for your new itinerary

ME: Thank you so much for all your help! *hangs up* YAYYYYYY!!!!

It was that simple! Because I bothered to read the fine print, I managed to turn an hour and a half layover in Lima, Peru into a two-day stay over and another stamp on my passport! The only conditions were that I (1) complete the first leg of my itinerary as is and (2) complete the itinerary in full by mid-December. I’ll be home by December 3rd so, check! Depending on your airline (I’m flying LAN), there may be a fee associated with utilizing a stopover but I strongly encourage looking into it. The fee still may be cheaper than the cost of a flight between destinations.

Becoming familiar with travel related terminology can be a tad bit overwhelming for a novice traveler like myself. But I assure you it’s in your best interest to be in the know so that (1) Your experience lines up with your expectations and (2) you get all you’re entitled to. If it helps you get that extra stop when you travel to patagonia, then it can only be a good thing.

Tell me about a time you took advantage of a layover, stopover, got a free upgrade, a free drink, ANYTHING! LOL I want to hear about all the perks of airline travel!

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  • Reply
    November 14, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    This is so awesome! I’ll have to keep an eye out for this on my tickets. Please tell me you’re going to Machu Picchu!

    • Reply
      November 15, 2015 at 7:11 AM

      No, unfortunately not this time 🙁 We’re only going to be there 2 fulls days and we decided to just spend those days exploring Lima and I want to devote a lot more time to Machu Picchu and Cusco but I DEFINITELY intend to return and make my way there next time!

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