"Can you really do that?"
In my travel classes, I hear that often from the students. One of my favorite ploys is to find two separate round-trip tickets for a flight that requires a connection anyway. Not only can you save money, but you can choose to fly on airlines you want and you can create your own stopover. What does all that mean?
First, you might be able to save significant money. Fares between the US East coast and Australia are usually at least $1,200 ($1,050 right now). I was lucky enough to find a fare last week between Los Angeles and Sydney (or Brisbane) for $500 (on Virgin America). Combine that with a $200 fare between the East coast and Los Angeles, and I will save $300 to $500. A specific example is Nashville to Lome (Togo, Africa). That fare is $2,700 but splitting fares through Europe (Frankfurt, Paris, London, etc.) will save $1,200.
Second, you can choose the airlines. Only one airline at the moment has fares under $1,500 between Washington-Dulles and Australia. However, many airlines fly between Dulles and Los Angeles. Many others fly between Los Angeles and Sydney. I might as well pick airlines that I want to fly on instead of the only one offering a full round-trip between Dulles and Australia.
Third, you can make your own stopovers. In other words, you can have tow (or three or more) vacations during the same trip. If I bought the only sub-$1,500 fare between Dulles and Sydney, that airline would not allow me to stopover in Los Angeles; I would have to take the next connecting flight. By buying separate tickets, I can choose how long to stay in Los Angeles before flying on to Australia. It is even possible to get really clever and arrange the two round trips so that stopovers can be made in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and perhaps even Honolulu.
© 2008, Charles McCool