Tips and Trends

KAYAK Explore Challenge: Around the World in Less Than 80 Days

KAYAK Travel Planner: Plan Your Group Trip in Messenger

4 Reasons to Consider a Stopover in Doha

4 Budget-Stretching Hacks for Your Next Vacation

Layovers Don’t Have to Suck: Escape the Airport and Explore

Von Andrea  Charriez


Von Andrea  Charriez

Von Andrea  Charriez

Von Andrea  Charriez

Tips and Trends

KAYAK Explore Challenge: Around the World in Less Than 80 Days

KAYAK Travel Planner: Plan Your Group Trip in Messenger

4 Reasons to Consider a Stopover in Doha

4 Budget-Stretching Hacks for Your Next Vacation

Layovers Don’t Have to Suck: Escape the Airport and Explore


It’s a big, wide, wonderful world out there. Ready to explore it?

The KAYAK Explore tool makes it easy to find a little inspiration for your next adventure. Simply plug in where you’re flying from and the date of your departure to see prices for round-trip economy class airfare around the world. You can filter flights based on your budget to see just how far your money will take you.

Of course, we decided to kick things up a notch and make a game of it. Instead of planning our next dream vacation, we set out to see how much it would cost to circle the globe.

The rules were simple:

  • Stop off on every continent except Antarctica (we love penguins as much as anyone, but we’re not ready to freeze for them).
  • Opt for the most affordable option (some wiggle room was added to save our sanity from inexpensive flights with ridiculous layovers).
  • Make sure it’s doable (in short, an actual human being has to be able to make the connecting flights).

The month of May seemed as good a place to start as any, and we were off!

From the Second City to the Pacific Pearl

Our plan was to kick things off by flying out of Chicago, Illinois en route to South America – Lima, Peru, to be exact. The plane would take off on Tuesday, May 9 and land the same day at 9:49 p.m., setting us back $191.

In addition to taking home the #4 spot on our 2017 Travel Hacker list of wallet-friendly flights, Peru’s capital city features breathtaking ocean views, colonial-era architecture and a nightlife that just won’t quit. Luckily, we would give ourselves enough time to sleep in the next day.

  • Flight: $191

Making it to Madrid … briefly

After our time in Lima, we would catch a 6 p.m. flight to Madrid, Spain on Wednesday, May 10. This would set us down in Europe at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, ready to explore the continent’s third-largest metropolitan area. Alas, we wouldn’t be able to take in Madrid’s rich cultural history for long, as we’d need to board a flight to Johannesburg a few hours after landing. Hey, nobody said being an international jet-setter was easy.

  • Flight: $566
  • Total cost: $757

South Africa after sunrise

Flying from Madrid at 3:45 p.m. on May 11, we would land in South Africa’s largest city at 7:10 a.m. on Friday, May 12.

There’s plenty to see in the “City of Gold,” including an incredible array of flora and fauna (Johannesburg resembles a man-made forest from satellite photos, and animal sanctuaries abound). The city is also home to a long history of fighting for human rights, illustrated by the renowned Apartheid Museum.

However, it wouldn’t be long before we’d need to get back in the air and head to one of the contenders for the 2017 Travel Hacker list of top trending beach destinations.

  • Flight: $407
  • Total cost: $1,164

Sydney after sunset

Our 12:30 p.m. flight to Sydney on May 12 would set us down in the capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities at 8:10 p.m. on Saturday, May 13. We would be just in time to take in the famous Sydney Harbour at night. We figured an uber-early surf session at one of Syndey’s spectacular beaches would leave us hungry for sustenance. Fortunately, world-class sushi wouldn’t be far away.

  • Flight: $531
  • Total cost: $1,695

Takeout in Tokyo

A flight from Sydney to Tokyo, Japan would depart at 6:40 a.m. Sunday, May 14 and land at 6:55 p.m. the same day. While the cost of the flight would be reasonable, the price for eating our weight in rice and raw fish would be far more. Still, it would be worth it.

  • Flight: $350
  • Total cost: $2,045

Heading home

While the bright lights of Tokyo would certainly be something to behold, we’d probably also start to get homesick for America (and our own beds). Thanks to the magic of time zones, we would be able to leave Tokyo at 1:50 p.m. on Monday, May 15 and arrive in Chicago at 7:40 p.m. the same day.

  • Flight: $960
  • Total cost: $3,005

All told, our not-so-little adventure would cost $3,005 in airfare. It would also be responsible for the longest jet lag-induced nap we’ve ever taken in our lives.

Interested in taking your own trip? Show us what your itinerary would look like by giving the KAYAK Explore tool a spin.


Think we can all agree that one of the most challenging parts of planning a group trip is figuring out a date that works for everyone and agreeing on where to go.

So, we’re making it easier to get your group trip off the ground with the KAYAK Travel Planner for Facebook Messenger. This new enhancement to our bot takes advantage of Messenger’s new Chat Extensions which launched today at F8 and makes group travel planning a more social experience. 

With the KAYAK Travel Planner, you can plan your group trip from start to finish with just a few taps and without leaving Messenger. Create a poll to agree on dates and where to go. Share it with friends so they can vote, view results, pick the winners and kick off a search. 

To try the KAYAK Travel Planner, open the most recent version of Messenger on your favorite mobile device and tap “+” within a conversation. Select the KAYAK icon* and start building your poll. Choose your destinations and travel dates, then save and share with the group. You can track your polls and, of course, search for flights once you know when and where the group wants to go.

Want to learn more about our Messenger bot? Here’s what you can do with it.

It’s all part of our mission to make sure KAYAK is everywhere you need it most — in the social apps and sites you use every day. Travel Problem Solved.

*If you cannot see the KAYAK icon, go to and find your original chat. Repeat the process above. Still not seeing it? Did someone forget to update their app? (Trust us, it’s worth it.)

When traveling from North America to Asia or Africa, why not stopover in Qatar. Thanks to Qatar Airways, travelers can now more easily experience the capital city of Doha — a world-class hub and luxury stopover city. Qatar Airways offers free stopovers to all passengers, allowing them to experience Qatar for up to four days at no extra cost. So stretch your legs, stash your bags and prepare to discover a whole new country.

How to spend your stopover in Doha

1. Indulge your inner adventurer.

If you’ve got time to venture out of the city, there are plenty of ways to see Qatar. Just 60km southeast of the city is Qatar’s inland sea, Khor Al Adaid. It’s a UNESCO-recognized natural reserve with its own ecosystem and one of the few places in the world where the sea reaches deep into the heart of the desert. To explore more of Qatar’s desert by camel, sand board or buggy, travelers can arrange a Desert Adventure. Whether you choose to go out for just the day or experience Bedouin-style camping and spend the night, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. For another adventure, the Sheikh Faisal Museum is only an hour outside of Doha and houses an impressive private collection of artifacts that paint a picture of Qatari culture and life.

2. See the world from another perspective.

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is the largest institution to celebrate everything from ancient to contemporary work produced by artists from all over the Islamic world. The building that houses MIA was designed by the legendary IM Pei and is commonly referred to as the “eyes of Doha” as it looks out onto the Arabian Gulf. From there, take a shuttle to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, which focuses on modern to contemporary Arab art.

Qatar’s commitment to culture extends to a range of impressive public art installations by leading international artists. These include:

  • Ahmed El Bahrani: The Challenge 2015 at the Lusail Multi-Purpose Sports Hall
  • Anne Geddes: Healthy Living from the Start at HMC Women’s Hospital
  • Damien Hirst: The Miraculous Journey at Sidra Medical and Research Centre
  • El Seed: Calligraffiti at Salwa Road Tunnels
  • Lorenzo Quinn: The Force of Nature II at Katara Cultural Village
  • Louise Bourgeois: Maman at Qatar National Convention Centre
  • Richard Serra: East-West/West-East at Zikreet
  • Richard Serra: 7 at the Museum of Islamic Art Park
  • Sara Lucas: Perceval at Aspire Park
  • Subodh Gupta: Ghandhi’s Three Monkeys at Katara Cultural Village
  • Tom Claassen: Arabian Oryx at Hamad International Airport
  • Tony Smith: Smoke at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre
  • Urs Fischer: Lamp Bear at Hamad International Airport

3. Where heritage and history come to life.

The Katara Cultural Village showcases some of the architectural traditions of the region. This recent development seeks to preserve the cultural heritage of Qatar, complete with an impressive amphitheater, art galleries and performance venues sharing space with world-class restaurants and an active beachfront.

At the Al Zubarah Fort, you’ll find archaeological treasures and one of the most extensively preserved examples of an 18th-19th century settlement in the region.

4. Bring something back home.

For those looking for a more down-to-earth, traditional shopping experience, the Souq Waqif is a bustling market filled with smaller shops that offer an array of Middle Eastern crafts. From spices and food to perfume, clothing, jewelry, textiles and souvenirs, you’ll be sure to find something unique to take home. If high-end luxury shopping is more your style, Doha doesn’t disappoint. The Pearl is one of the premier shopping centers, located on a manmade island off the West Bay coast. Some of the world’s biggest brands boast impressive storefronts. Or, you can venture to the newly opened Festival City which combines shopping with other favorite vacation pastimes like a theme park, winter sports, over 500 stores, food courts and more.


Know before you go:

  • Travel Visa: Travelers must be booked through Qatar Airways to add Doha as your stopover. So, book your flight first then submit your e-ticket number to reserve your free visa. Go here for more details.
  • Dress Code: Like many Middle Eastern countries, Doha is a modern city steeped in tradition. Travelers are expected to respect the basic tenets of its dress code. Learn more about what to wear.
  • Alcohol: If you’re looking to sip cocktails (or the country’s legendary mocktails), you can head over to one of the many five star hotel bars.
  • Etiquette: Just as you would expect visitors to adhere to your house rules, the same applies in Doha. Learn about its customs and rules, and apply that to your visit. It’s just good manners.

You travel to experience the world – so consider experiencing Qatar. Whether for business or pleasure, experience luxury, culture, Arabic hospitality and history when you visit Qatar.

For more information, please visit and


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Until scientists work out all the kinks in teleportation technology, flying remains your best bet to see the world. And all that globe-hopping can add up fast.

Check out these four budget-stretching hacks before you book your next vacation. Your bank account will thank you.

1. Book a wallet-friendly flight

Our 2017 Travel Hacker Guide list for wallet-friendly flights outlines the top 10 destinations that saw the lowest median airfare – the perfect resource for budget-conscious travelers.

Cartagena, Colombia tops the list, with median airfare from the U.S. and Canada hovering at or below the $500 mark for 11 out of 12 months of the year. Best of all, you can count on warm temperatures no matter when you book. The average temp never falls below 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

Travelers who book at least two months in advance are set to save the most.

2. Explore hostel life

Hostels aren’t just for college students. They’re an ideal solution for travelers on a budget looking to meet new people and fully immerse themselves in the local culture.

If you don’t mind a bit less privacy and a generally younger clientele, there are hostels around the world offering affordable accommodations and unique extras.

Take Rock Solid Backpackers in New Zealand. After visiting Auckland (#3 on our Travel Hacker Guide list of trending destinations), head on over to Rotorua to check out this hostel’s giant indoor climbing wall. Once you’re done unleashing your inner Edmund Hillary, take a dip in nearby Lake Rotorua (seriously, it’s two blocks away).

3. Travel in the off-season

Travel to the beat of your own drum by visiting different locales during their off-seasons.

As you might imagine, cities like London (which took home the  #4 spot on our Travel Hacker Guide list of most popular family destinations) are in higher demand during the summer months. That said, nothing’s stopping you from taking your family to the capital of the U.K. for an autumn vacation.

While median airfare from the U.S. and Canada to London is $1,021 in July, it’s only $591 in November.

Be sure to check out our When to Book tool for general guidelines regarding how far in advance you should book a flight, as well as specific calculations based on city-to-city travel.

It also pays to stay off the beaten path when planning a vacation. Our Travel Hacker Guide also highlights  2017’s most popular destinations. The more travelers heading to a locale, the more expensive prices are bound to be.

4. Luxuriate in local ingredients

Traveling typically means eating out, but there’s no law against cooking for yourself on vacation. In fact, acting as your own chef gives you a great chance to test out your host city’s unique culture and cuisine.

Many cities feature modern hotels and hostels with kitchens, and vacation rentals are all-but-guaranteed to feature stoves, ovens, refrigerators and cooking utensils.

Immerse yourself in the local culinary scene by cooking dishes using fresh local ingredients associated with where you’re staying.

We’re not saying you should forego pasta at a restaurant in Milan, but you can also save some dough whipping up your own risotto during your stay.

Traveling isn’t cheap, but with a little strategy, the right tools and the occasional home-cooked meal, you can see the world without breaking the bank.


Flying for business frequently means dealing with the dreaded “L” word. And we’re not talking about legroom.

Big or small, layovers are the business traveler’s worst nightmare. After all, no matter how nice an airport is, it’s ultimately a giant waiting room. Fortunately, the longer your layover, the more potential there is to turn annoyance into adventure.

Check out our checklist for saying sayonara to the layover blues:

See the sights

All too often, busy business travelers put a pin in the map without actually stepping foot outside a city’s airport. Sure, you’ve been to Tokyo loads of times as part of a stopover, but have you explored more than the free Wi-Fi at Narita Airport?

Next time you’re in town, check out the Narita Transit Program for guided tours of the surrounding region. All tours are run by local guides and are free of charge. If you’ve got three hours or so to kill, why not visit the Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple or dress up like a samurai at the Chiba Prefectural Boso no Mura Sakae theme park?

Many major cities across the globe offer free tours, meaning you can stretch your legs, breathe some fresh air and actually experience local culture next time a layover strikes.

Keep your eyes peeled for free tours everywhere from Singapore to Salt Lake City. You’d be surprised how many airports are willing to foot the bill for some cultural exchange.

Not sure you’ll have enough time? Our filter options allow you to adjust the length of layovers, so next time opt for the longer layover if you want to spice up your journey.

Or, you know, fly nonstop.

Make a layover buddy

No, the fellow passenger who fell asleep on your shoulder at your gate is not your friend. But who’s to say layovers aren’t the perfect time to make a traveling companion?

When flying over the Atlantic, the Icelandair Stopover Buddy program allows you to stop off in Iceland for up to seven nights with no additional airfare costs (overnight layover, anyone?). What’s more, you can request an Icelandair employee to act as your own personal tour guide for up to one day free of charge.

Not only did Reykjavik, Iceland take home the #3 spot on our 2017 Travel Hacker list of wallet-friendly flight destinations, you can now explore the country’s capital city with someone who knows how to live like a local.

Pro tip: If you can swing it, try to get a layover in Reykjavik in August to enjoy Reykjavik Culture Night. Free concerts, fireworks and traditional waffles – what’s not to love?

Median hotel rates are $219 in August, and even cheaper every other month of the year.

If you’re looking for a warmer stopover, and are traveling from North America to Africa or Asia, consider a detour in Doha, Qatar. World-class art and architecture live side by side with luxury shopping and cultural immersion in the Arabian Peninsula.

A visa is required, but you can snag a transit version for up to 96 hours free of charge and in under 15 minutes through an online application.

Plan for pleasure

While it’s not always possible, if you know you’ll be traveling in certain parts of the world on business far enough in advance, you can plan for layovers to occur in stopover-friendly cities.

Heading to Asia in the near future? Both Beijing and Shanghai have visa-free stopover policies for visitors from the U.S., Canada and many other nations for up to 72 hours. Put down the packaged airport food and check out an imperial palace from the Ming dynasty instead.

Doing business in Europe? Odds are one of your flights will stop in Amsterdam. If you’re not in the mood for fun of the more herbal variety, why not take in a liquid lunch with a designated local?

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines introduced Layover with a Local last year. The program is supposed to pair travelers in town for six hours or more with Amsterdam locals for a round of drinks. Why would locals participate? Because the airline is paying for the drinks, of course. The program initially focused on U.S., Canadian and Italian travelers. Frequent fliers in town for a spell can download an app to be hooked up with pre-vetted Amsterdamians who share similar interests (and want to test out their foreign language skills).

So there you have it. Fun and layovers may not be bedfellows exactly, but they don’t have to be enemies. Next time you’re planning a business trip, consider introducing a little stimulation into your stopover.