Get Two Trips in One with an Open-Jaw Airline Ticket

When purchasing an airline ticket for travel, most people search for a round-trip ticket and leave it at that. But what if you want to visit more than one city? If you're traveling to multiple destinations, an open-jaw airline ticket may save you time, money and unnecessary travel.

Let's use a trip I'm planning as an example. I'll be traveling from Miami to London for a conference, then to Paris for a few days to meet up with friends, before returning back to the United States.

Most people would book a round-trip ticket from Miami to London, then a round-trip ticket between London and Paris. I priced that out, and here's what I came up with:

Round trip airfare from Miami to London.
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Round trip airfare from Miami to London.

The cost of a round-trip ticket from Miami to London was $354. A fantastic deal, but I would still need a ticket from London to Paris and back.

Round trip train ticket from London to Paris.
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Round trip train ticket from London to Paris.

A number of airlines offer round-trip flights between the two cities for about $100, or I could take the high-speed Eurostar train from London to Paris for just $76 round-trip.

$354 for a flight from Miami to London, and $76 for a train from London to Paris brings the total cost to $430.

But there is a smarter way to book this trip, and a better deal to be had. It begins with an open-jaw airline ticket. That is, a ticket where the destination and/or the origin are not the same in both directions.

Rather than flying on a traditional round-trip ticket, I could book an open-jaw ticket with two flights: Miami to London, and Paris to Miami. The route plotted on a map resembles an open jaw:

Map of an open-jaw flight route.
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Map of an open-jaw flight route.

While open-jaw tickets don't always offer the better deal, the strategy worked in this case. I used the multi-city search tool on Google Flights and found an open-jaw ticket from Miami to London, with a returning flight from Paris to Miami. It was a steal at just $322.

Open-jaw airfare from Miami to London and Paris to Miami.
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Open-jaw airfare from Miami to London and Paris to Miami.

And, since the open-jaw ticket would allow me to fly direct from Paris to the United States, I no longer needed a return train ticket to London. That helps maximize my time in Paris and creates an additional savings of $38, lowering the total transportation costs for my trip to $360. That's more convenient AND $70 cheaper!

The trip I have described is a destination open-jaw, where you fly from one city to another, then return to the original city from a different place. But there are two other ways to make an open-jaw ticket work for you:

  • Origin open-jaw — Where you fly from one city to another, then return to a different city. Example: Atlanta to London, London to Miami.
  • Double open-jaw — Think of this as two one-way flights on a single ticket. Example: Los Angeles to Paris, London to New York.

One of the ways I am able to travel so frequently for less money is by using strategies like this one. The first result in your airfare search is rarely the best deal or most convenient option, and I encourage you to keep searching until you find what works for you.

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