With Shanghai Disneyland set to open in June 2016, we’ve had a few friends message us asking if these principles can be applied to an itinerary to visit Shanghai. Yes, they absolutely can.
The bad news is that several major U.S. carriers permit a maximum of 1 stopover and 2 open-jaws, so you can’t add Shanghai without removing Honolulu, unless you’re willing to fly a different carrier (I didn’t have a full list of the rules on this, but I know Lufthansa allows 2 of each. I also know “EVA Air” does…because they are the airline that keeps coming up when I’m running test searches out of LAX). I’m guessing all 4 destinations is going to be excessive for most, so probably not a big deal, anyway.
When you’re searching for different routing options, you should test out a variety of options, but I’d recommend starting in Shanghai or Hong Kong, and heading to Tokyo from there. I haven’t done extensive searching for the purposes of this article, so the best order in terms of price might vary, but for our dates (and the random search I just did now) it was best to do Tokyo last. Plus, saving the best for last is always a good idea. 😉
In terms of pricing, I assume the reason you want the open jaw portion of the flight to be between PVG and HKG is because they are the closest to one another in geographic distance, and have the cheapest options on regional carriers. (Another option would be to look for flights with a long layover in Hong Kong, and potentially avoid having to mess with the regional carrier completely.)
Your mileage may vary on the different possibilities here; obviously a lot more options exist flying out of LAX than other cities. On my first try tonight, I got the above results–$874 for multi-city airfare isn’t too shabby. (Ironically, there’s a layover in NRT on the front end there.)
Airfare costs to Asia are significantly cheaper than they were when I originally wrote this post, so I’d keep tinkering with dates until you can get a flight under $1,000. Roundtrip airfare to Tokyo has been under $600 for many East Coast airports in the last several months, and under $500 for Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.
One other unintended benefit of doing this as opposed to booking a standalone trip to Shanghai is that you can take advantage of the 144-hour visa exemption. This rule only applies if you’re making a stopover in China and are visiting a third country (HK counts for this, so you wouldn’t have to visit Tokyo).
I know I’m doing an incomplete job explaining this, but I’m not sure how many people care this long after the post was written. Hopefully the explanation suffices. If not, feel free to leave a question in the comment and I’ll try to assist.
We understand this is a lot to digest and stopovers and open-jaw bookings can be confusing. Play around with it, run some test flights, and see what you can find. It’s worth reiterating that you might find flights that are considerably more expensive than this on your first few tries. If your goal is to “refute” this post, congrats, as I suppose you can. However, if you actually take some time to run multiple searches, are flexible with your dates, and make an effort, you will find flights along these lines. It may cost more depending where in the country you’re located (out of Indianapolis, we’ve paid <$1,400 for similar airfare…), but it’s not impossible anywhere.
If this has you intrigued about a “Disney Grand Circle Tour of the Pacific Rim,” we highly recommend making your next stop our trip planning guides for the locations covered in this post. Be careful, though, as these guides sort of gush about how much we love each of these destinations, and might be what pushes you over the edge to book:
If you have questions about the airfare component of this post, or how to get it to work, please feel free to ask below. Chances are, if you’re wondering something, someone else is wondering it, too. This is a very confusing topic, and I just hoped I covered it reasonably well…
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As mentioned above, we know there will be questions, so don’t be afraid to ask. We’ll try to answer them all! If you are a master traveler who has done this sort of thing before, please share your feedback in the comments, too!