How to do a stopover in Toronto

Toronto is one the biggest cities in North America, and such always has something going on and changes if you are going there in the winter or summer. Toronto deserves repeat visits.

Toronto is a typical layover between Europe and North America. It also has a few nearby airports where discount airlines fly out of so, and there are some options.

With that complexity, your best bet is to accomplish a cheap stopover to London is to use Hopupon will search 1000's combinations to find the best deals for a stopover in Toronto. It will also give you some other city suggestions in case you want to try somewhere new!

On the odd chance that Toronto does not come up for you (likely it's not a cheap stopover for your route). There are ways you can get there manually, but it will take a bit of patience and resilience.

Doing it on your own.

Your best deals for stopovers will require a bit of muscle to find the best prices and even more stamina for some local or domestic routes as not all airlines are on every Online Travel agency (OTA). The airlines that might not be on some OTA's include discount or regional airlines, which often have the lowest prices. If your flight route might contain one of these airlines, you'll need to do a bit of additional research.

Examples of this in the North American market areas such

  • Delta Air Lines: Excluded from Cheapair, CheapOair, TripAdvisor
  • Southwest: Tickets only available for purchase on the Southwest website (or over the phone)
  • JetBlue: Excluded from Vayama, SmartFares, MyFlightSearch
  • Frontier: Promotions only bookable on Frontier's website.
  • Spirit: Promotions only bookable on Spirit's website
  • Allegiant: Excluded from Vayama, Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, MyFlightSearch, CheapOair, CheapOair, OneTravel, and others

In all cases, the general process is the same. For a stopover in Toronto, I will share an example of finding a Toronto stopover on a London to Miami flight.

Know your surrounding airports

First, you need to research the surrounding airports to the point where you would draw the line on the distance to saving.

When leaving London, there are a ton of airports to choose from. However, only two airports will fly to Canada, Heathrow, and Gatwick, making things a lot easier. If the destination were in Europe there would be more than 5 other airports to check.

Toronto has two main airports: Pearson and Billy Bishop. For flights coming into Toronto from Europe, Pearson is the only airport with that kind of flight. Montréal–Trudeau in Montreal is a good choice for nearby airports because it's a great Canadian city to visit.

Leaving Toronto to Miami, there is a ton of choices. Domestically you have Billy Bishop and Pearson, Hamilton, and further on, Montréal–Trudeau. Likely though, in the US, you will find Miami's best deals as inter US flights are always cheaper than between Canada and the US.  If you wanted to see Niagara Falls, why not visit the falls then fly out from Niagara airport? Or nearby Buffalo? It makes sense, right?

Rochester is another choice but might be harder to get to, and unless you're checking out the finger lakes, you might not have a reason to go there.

There are two options to get to Miami. Miami and Fort Lauderdale (less than 40 min away). However, there a few other choices further afield but worth it if you want to see a lot more of Florida Punta Gorda Naples Southwest Florida, Orlando Melbourne, Orlando International, to name a few

To find all the surrounding airport options, a quick google map search with the keyword 'airport' can help you find additional airports that may contain cheap flights.

Creating the search options.

The first step is to list all the airports in all three cities, London, Toronto, and Miami, and then try every combination. It would better to only search flight paths with direct flights, and if none do at most one layover. You can easily find this out by looking at the wiki for that airport. They always list all direct flights offered.

From our example, we can guess that only some airports have direct flights between London and Toronto and Toronto and Miami, which means we can remove airports that don't have direct flights. For instance, We can remove Billy Bishop airport because it doesn't have a direct flight to anywhere in Florida.

An example of a route list is as such,

Gatwick, Pearson, Niagara Falls, Fort Lauderdale
Heathrow, Pearson, Buffalo, Miami

Heathrow, Montreal, Toronto, Miami

Search all combinations

A quick hack to speed up the process is to use metro Codes instead of airport codes. Metrocodes will search all airports in a city. Each OTA could have different metro codes they support and are defined. Examples of well-used metro codes in OTA's are London LON, and Toronto YTO

It would be best if you searched all the flight route combinations to find the best price. In addition to switching up the airports, you'll want to switch up the dates as well. In some cases, a difference in a day can be over 100 dollars in savings.

If your favorite OTA has a nearby airport button or +- 3 days button, these buttons will dramatically speed up the search process.

How do you know when to search individual airlines.

A way to know if you're missing an airline is to look up discount airlines for the country you're flying from or to, and if they don't appear in the search results of your favorite OTA, then li

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About Doug Creighton

Data Scientist in Toronto in the tech industry. I have travelled to 40 countries and used to build handcrafted stopovers. Built this algorithm years ago for me and finally got it online for everyone.
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