Why Kiwi.com is different: ALL our travel hacks explained

Travel hacks

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Read all about the travel hacks that make Kiwi.com the perfect travel provider for smart adventurers everywhere. Come and hack the system with us

Traveling takes time and money — two of anyone’s precious personal resources. Whether you’re looking for the quickest route, the cheapest, the most direct, the one with the most convenient departure time, or even one with a long layover somewhere exciting, Kiwi.com has you covered. Our Kiwi-Code scours over 95% of the global travel inventory and creates combinations of flights, trains and buses that you can’t find anywhere else. We love to think differently and challenge the status quo when it comes to travel, hacking some of the broadly-accepted carrier practices to uncover great savings and new ways to navigate the world. This is how we do it.

Self-transfer: endless route possibilities

Girl looking out of an airport terminal window and smiling — ShutterstockSelf-transfer broadens your selection of route options immeasurably — Shutterstock

Kiwi.com is a travel provider that uses tech innovation to put together flights, trains and buses operated by different companies to create entirely personalized itineraries. The industry term for this is “virtual interlining”, but we like to say it like it is: self-transfer. This is an effective travel hack because it gives you a much greater choice of routes and prices you don’t have to rely only on the connection options that the airlines decide for you. 

Instead, you treat each flight separately, as you would if moving from a plane to a train. You collect your luggage after each flight as if it were your final destination and check in again for the next part of the trip effectively transferring yourself. It also gives you the bonus opportunity of being able to leave the airport you don’t have to remain in the transit area to wait for the next flight as you aren’t limited by the carrier’s rules. You can take time to explore your stopover city, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling.

Do remember though, that once you leave the transit area to make a self-transfer, you’ll be crossing the border as if it were your final destination. This may mean that you need additional documentation for the stopover country or territory (such as a visa), though this is not always the case.

The reason why we offer self-transfer connections is simple: to give you more flexibility

Commonly, when an airline sells tickets with one or more transfers, that airline will take care of your transfer(s) at the connecting airport(s). You stay in the transit area, while the airline moves your checked baggage from one airplane to the next.

As we mentioned, the central drawback of relying on airline transfer is that the combinations of flight routes are limited. Moreover, it can be more expensive. Meanwhile, with Kiwi.com’s self-transfer, being able to choose from routes operated by a variety of airlines helps immensely in building an itinerary that’s perfect for you.

Throwaway ticketing: pay less for the same flight

Have you ever noticed that airlines often charge more for a one-way ticket than for a return? If you’re looking to travel one-way, or for a single flight segment before making a self-transfer, Kiwi.com has a smart little hack that’ll save you money: throwaway ticketing.

If the Kiwi-Code determines that a one-way flight ticket is more expensive than the return, it will include the return segment in that itinerary — for a future date that, to you, will seem random. Consequently, we’re able to quote you an overall cheaper price. Once the tickets are booked and the itinerary is finalized, from the airline’s perspective, you will be traveling on the return leg. But of course, you don’t have to (why would you, unless you were dealt an incredibly specific change of plan?) — you can simply “throw it away”.

Hidden cities: make the most of the middle

Man with a backpack stood outisde an airport — ShutterstockLeave the airport at your technical transit point to discover your hidden city — Shutterstock

Now, here’s a hack that might surprise you — it’s not for the faint-hearted. It came about due to pricing policies of airlines that make very popular routes more expensive for a traveler. For instance, an airline might price a ticket from London to New York considerably higher than one from London to Toronto, via New York.

As far as the airline’s concerned, New York is merely the layover. Meanwhile, we refer to New York as your hidden city, your final destination, as you’d disembark there without going on to Toronto. The hidden city is nestled discreetly in between the origin and the ‘technical’ destination a magical place just waiting to be discovered by you. (After all, New York is pretty magical.) And there you have it a much cheaper price for a ticket to where you want to be.

Essentially, the concept of hidden cities takes throwaway ticketing one step further. The idea is more-or-less the same: booking a ticket that you won’t use in order to cut costs. But instead of the unused portion of your itinerary being a return journey, it’s an onward journey.

Cabin baggage and entry requirements

 

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Flying on an itinerary that has a hidden city does come with considerations. Don’t bring checked baggage on your hidden-city trip — you need to be able to travel with cabin baggage only. Why? To use our example route, if you checked in any baggage in London, it’d go all the way to Toronto. Cabin baggage, however, remains on your person and so it can leave with you at New York.

Furthermore, you need to make sure that you have the correct documentation not just to enter the territory at your final destination (in this case, the US); but also to “enter” the territory at the final destination in the eyes of the airline (in this case, Canada). Put clearly, the airline won’t let you board the plane without being sure that you’ll be permitted to enter their final destination of Canada. It’s only you who knows of your intention to leave the airport in New York — the airline won’t know about your plan to stay in New York and you shouldn’t tell them. Let’s not be shy here, this is one of the best hacks out there — it can really cut your costs. It’s just that the fact that you’re not traveling on the connecting flight is better kept to yourself, as the airline won’t necessarily be happy about it. We want this ingenious money-saving hack to be your secret so that everything goes smoothly for you.

Nomad: accessible adventuring 

@kiwi.com Everything is possible, if you know which tools to use😉 #nomadtravel #cheaptravel #digitalnomad #flightitcket #travelbyplane #travelwithkiwicom #wehackthesystem ♬ original sound – Joy

Nomad is the globetrotter’s must. It’s a tool on our website that takes your dream destinations, together with the lengths of time that you want to spend at each one, and generates a selection of the very cheapest and most practical itineraries for you to choose from. You won’t find a hack quite like it anywhere else — you’ll be amazed at how easy it can be to join the dots in creating your trip of a lifetime.

Nomad vs. multi-city — what’s the difference?

The multi-city search feature on our website allows you to put your destinations in a certain sequence, departing from and arriving at each on a concrete date. This is useful if you need to be in certain places at particular times in a particular order.

Meanwhile, Nomad takes your destinations and shuffles them, creating unique routes based on the most competitive prices. So, you get to go to all the places you want to go for the periods of time you’d like to be there, but Nomad finds the best order in which to do it for the best price. It’s great if you have numerous places on your bucket list and are more flexible with your travel plans.

Multimodal travel: planes, trains and buses

Kiwi.com search results page with multimodal travel filter on and highlighedThis is where you’ll find the ‘Transport’ filter on our website

Getting from A to B doesn’t always mean from a big city to another big city — you might begin or end somewhere that doesn’t have an airport. This is why at Kiwi.com, we don’t just do flights. When you search for trips on our website, you have the option to filter the results by mode of transport — flights, trains and/or buses. This is our multimodal travel hack, and it gives you the ability to find and book your optimum route, from start to finish, all in just a couple of clicks. Gone are the days of booking separate tickets for separate legs of your journey on separate modes of transport… on separate websites.

Searching for multimodal travel options is also a useful way to find out whether ground transport is a better means to get to where you want to go. If you select to see trains and/or buses in your search results and the Kiwi-Code determines that it’d be cheaper or more convenient for you not to fly, it will present you with a train or bus journey first.

Kiwi.com Guarantee: for peace of mind

Man on the phone in airport terminal footbridge — ShutterstockIf you’ve added the Guarantee to your booking and your flight gets delayed or canceled, contact us and we’ll help you out — Shutterstock

Now more than ever, flight disruptions are a fact of life. Fortunately, the Kiwi.com Guarantee is on hand to help. This is our Superman travel hack, if you will.

If your flight is canceled or undergoes a schedule change ahead of time, we’ll inform you via email as soon as the carrier informs us. And if you added our Guarantee to your booking at the time of making it, we’ll make sure that you get to your final destination, one way or another. If we can’t, we’ll offer you a refund.

The Kiwi.com Guarantee protects your entire booking, whether you’re traveling by airplane, train, bus, or a combination of modes; and no matter how many legs there are to the itinerary. Exactly what kind of help you can get mainly depends on how long it is until the first flight on your itinerary departs.

More than 48 hours before departure

If we inform you of any disruption more than 48 hours in advance of your trip, we’ll offer you:

  • alternative means to your destination, which may be free of charge or significantly discounted, depending on the value of your booking and how much the alternative costs
  • an up-front refund in the form of Kiwi.com Credit (which will allow you to book a free/discounted alternative yourself)
  • an assisted refund, which may be monetary, at the discretion of the carrier(s)

Less than 48 hours before departure

If your trip is disrupted less than 48 hours before departure, including while you’re traveling, we’ll offer you:

  • alternative means to your destination, free of charge
  • an up-front refund in the form of Kiwi.com Credit (which will allow you to book a free/discounted alternative yourself)
  • an up-front monetary refund
  • overnight accommodation and reimbursement for airport transfers and/or refreshments, when appropriate

Happy woman sat on the floor in airport terminal — ShutterstockThe Kiwi.com Guarantee covers your entire booking, coming to the rescue wherever and whenever your itinerary might be disrupted — Shutterstock

We’re all about working together, a bit of give-and-take, to make travel better for you. So that we can provide you with the most suitable Guarantee treatment, we just need to ask you to stick to a few simple rules: 

  • Don’t make any changes to your ticket directly with the carrier(s) without prior agreement with us
  • Don’t bring checked baggage on a cabin bag-only itinerary
  • Make sure that you have all the necessary travel documents (visas, for example) for your particular trip

Ticketing options: as flexible as you need

While the Guarantee covers any trip changes made by the carrier(s), our ticketing options are there to cover any changes that you need to make.

We understand that sometimes, you need a flexible ticket that allows you to change or cancel your trip; and other times, you just want to grab yourself a bargain and not pay a penny more than necessary. Kiwi.com gives you three levels of ticket flexibility for all these times — ticketing options that are easy to understand and apply to your entire booking, regardless of any complicated airline policies.

You get to choose your ticketing option during the booking process on Kiwi.com. Here are the basic terms of each of them:

Kiwi.com’s Flexi ticket

  • If you change your trip, you’ll only pay the difference for the new booking — we’ll cover the rest
  • If you cancel your trip, you’ll get back 90% of the price you paid in your chosen form of refund: monetary or Kiwi.com Credit

Kiwi.com’s Standard ticket

  • If you change your trip, you’ll only pay the difference for the new booking — we’ll cover the rest
  • If you cancel your trip and your booking cost more than €20, you’ll get €10 in Kiwi.com Credit

Kiwi.com’s Saver ticket

  • If you change your trip, you’ll pay the full price of the new ticket
  • If you cancel your trip and your booking cost more than €20, you’ll get €10 in Kiwi.com Credit

Price alerts: snap up the cheapest deal

@kiwi.com Follow for more hacks and jingles🎼 #travelhacks #besttraveltips #traveltips #wehacktravel #kiwicomtravelhacks #traveltiktok ♬ original sound – Kiwi.com

Thanks to our Kiwi-Code performing over 2 billion price checks every day, we’re able to notify you right away if and when the price of your chosen route goes down. We do this with price alerts — via email or push notification — and the reason it’s such a great travel hack is that it eliminates the need for you to keep checking yourself for the best deal. When you get a price alert, simply tap to secure your seat for the cheapest price.

How to set up price alerts on Kiwi.com

If you search for a specific route and it costs a little too much for you, toggle the ‘Set up price alerts’ slider or tap the bell icon in the app (both of which are in the top left-hand corner of the results page), let us know your contact details, and we’ll let you know when the price drops. It’s as easy as that.

Price FX: fair currency exchange rates

Have you ever fallen victim to extortionate exchange rate fees when booking a flight directly on an airline’s website? It’s often a hidden cost, but it’s a more common occurrence than you might think — sometimes, carriers charge up to 6.5% in currency exchange fees. Why? Put simply, if you pay on an airline’s website in a currency that the airline doesn’t use, your money will go through a foreign bank — a bank that operates in the airline’s primary currency. When this happens, there is usually a cost to cover the conversion of your money through the bank.

Meanwhile, when you decide to pay in your chosen currency on Kiwi.com, we simply charge the middle of the market rate for any conversion. Our goal is to make travel cheap, simple and more transparent. We accept payment in 50 major currencies — book with Kiwi.com and you know you’re getting a fair price.

Do you want more travel articles? Visit Kiwi.com Stories.