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how to successfully prepare for your Camino
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Open Jaw -

zenofmatthew

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
The dimensions of
length and breadth are now unplanned,
depth and time are cast.
Open Jaw
1. What happens when you see something stunning
2. A flight itinerary that arrives in one city and departs from another.

When you're searching flights on Google or wherever you go, consider the open jaw. Round trip to Madrid was $25 cheaper than DFW-Madrid, Santiago-DFW. Better said, it cost me $25 to fly back to Madrid to get home with one reservation. That buys me one more day on the trail. Santiago round trip was either ridiculous or some enterprising Spaniard should start giving rides to and from Santiago for a couple hundred bucks to compete with the airlines.

This idea came from a trip plan with my dad and son. We wanted to go to London. Round trip was around $700. Out to London and back from Barcelona? $500. Fight to Barcelona was from $30 (do you even get a seat?!) or somewhere over $100 if we got picky. We get a new city under our belt and we're up a hundred bucks. $300 for the family. It adds up.

Your mileage may vary.
 
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how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Open jaws are also great if you are starting - say at St. Jean Pied de Port, and departing for home from Santiago. To get to SJPdP, flying into Paris is the easiest option, then take the TGV and TER trains from Bayonne to SJPdP. It's a great way to start.

From Santiago, take a plane, bus, or train to Madrid and fly home from there. You can even build in several days in Madrid as a tourist if you arrive early for your return flight.

Personally, I hate backtracking. it is one of my three basic rules for walking a Camino.

1. Never cover the same terrain twice in the same pilgrimage. Don't go back.
2. I don't do side-trips to interesting places on signs. I walk straight following the arrows.
3. I NEVER put leche in my cafe. The results are too horrid to describe.

Your experiences may vary.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Totally agree on the open jaw option (which you can find on airline websites if you click on the “multi city” search function).

Several years ago, probably about a decade now, someone on the forum suggested that option. I have used it many times, US into Madrid and on to Almería, home from Santiago, etc etc, and it has been great. It rarely adds more than $100-200 to the ticket, and as @zenofmatthew points out, it saves you a day, because you hop on the plane in the morning in Santiago!

There are lots of good reasons to take a train/plane from Santiago to Madrid and spend a day or so there before leaving for home, but if you just want to get home, consider this option. And flying into your starting point is also wonderful — I’ve flown into Irún, Oviedo, Valencia, Almería, and it has always saved a lot of hassle.

It works best for those who fly a One World airline, because most of the intra-Spain flights are Iberia or a subsidiary and the ticket pricing comes out better since AA, BA, etc. is a partner.
 
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Jodean

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
Looking at flying from Frankfurt into Barcelona to visit a friend, then take a train to Pamplona. Fly home from Santiago as Lufthansa has direct flights to Frankfurt from there. The alternative was to take a bus from Santiago to Porto and fly home from there. Easier than the train to Madrid and cheaper.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos Francais: 2002, 2012, 2019. (Future Ingles, Primitivo, Portuguese in 2021)
Open jaws are also great if you are starting - say at St. Jean Pied de Port, and departing for home from Santiago. To get to SJPdP, flying into Paris is the easiest option, then take the TGV and TER trains from Bayonne to SJPdP. It's a great way to start.

From Santiago, take a plane, bus, or train to Madrid and fly home from there. You can even build in several days in Madrid as a tourist if you arrive early for your return flight.

Personally, I hate backtracking. it is one of my three basic rules for walking a Camino.

1. Never cover the same terrain twice in the same pilgrimage. Don't go back.
2. I don't do side-trips to interesting places on signs. I walk straight following the arrows.
3. I NEVER put leche in my cafe. The results are too horrid to describe.

Your experiences may vary.

Hope this helps.

Tom
Cafe solo is the way to go-oh!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos Francais: 2002, 2012, 2019. (Future Ingles, Primitivo, Portuguese in 2021)
As I had never been to Portugal and knew the CP was my next Camino, I took the bus from Santiago to Lisbon for my flight back to St Louis MO. (Santiago - Lisbon Bus Station is $56-69 and 11 hours, with a one hour required bus driver stop somewhere along the way and I grabbed a sandwich and drink. (Keep a Euro coin or two handy as the bus bathroom is not free.). Comfortable seats. I chose the bus for the scenery (left hand side) to obtain just a hint of a "feel" for Portugal and glad i did!

The bus stopped directly in front of Porto Airport Sa Carneiro. As I did not have my 2019 ticket handy for reference, I sprang to the ever-amazing App Rome2Rio (an absoute must, in crazy pandemic times especially!) indicates trip Santiago - Porto Airport is 5 hrs 17 minutes. $25-$30. Airline Code OPO.

With reference to the handy hints re: "Open Jaw", A previous post on this Forum some months back recommended researching air travel from Porto as less expensive than air travel from Santiago.

Rome2Rio did not display air travel options from Santiago to Porto.
****************

NOTE: As at 15 July 2021, Rome2Rio has a handy and apparently pretty up to date COVID-10 Information Page for travelers considering entry into Portugal.

YES, a COVID-19 test "issued at most three days prior to travel" is required.

"No exceptions."

USA allowed travel; but Brazil, India and South Africa have 14-day mandatory self-quarantines.

Me? Oh, not until Spring 2022. It's waaaaay too "crazy/up and down" for this J&J vaccinated gal.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Totally agree on the open jaw option (which you can find on airline websites if you click on the “multi city” search function).

Several years ago, probably about a decade now, someone on the forum suggested that option. I have used it many times, US into Madrid and on to Almería, home from Santiago, etc etc, and it has been great. It rarely adds more than $100-200 to the ticket, and as @zenofmatthew points out, it saves you a day, because you hop on the plane in the morning in Santiago!

There are lots of good reasons to take a train/plane from Santiago to Madrid and spend a day or so there before leaving for home, but if you just want to get home, consider this option. And flying into your starting point is also wonderful — I’ve flown into Irún, Oviedo, Valencia, Almería, and it has always saved a lot of hassle.

It works best for those who fly a One World airline, because most of the intra-Spain flights are Iberia or a subsidiary and the ticket pricing comes out better since AA, BA, etc. is a partner.

Your right that One-world members probably have more options.. Sometimes the connections from Madrid can be as long as 6 to 8 hours, however. In those circumstances it might be wise to explore other options depending on where you llive and-fly

For example we live 70 miles from EWR. It is a UA hub, with a connecting flight ( star alliance) one can be in Bilbao by by 11:30 am.


Sometimes, I book a flight with a long layover on the way home. I dislike
departing SdC, changing planes, and then taking a long flight home. I don’t mind a morning flight out of SdC and then spend the rest of the day in a Munich, or Geneva. Some airlines will keep your luggage and put it through to your next day international flight.

In addition, I sometimes do Hack fares. I might buy a RT fare say to Dublin on UA and then an open Jaw ticket from Dublin to Spain or Munich and back to Dublin from wherever I plan to depart from. I always leave a day inbetween connecting flights so there is no issue with missing the transatlantic flight. Sometimes, we might spend 3 or 4 days around the Irish-countryside or the Bavarian or Austrian Alps before returning home.

The downside of hack fares is if you miss your transatlantic connection your not protected.
 
Last edited:

pjacobi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015, St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
2016, Burgos to Ponferrada
2017, Ponferrada to Atlantic Ocean
If you happen to live near two major US airports, you might look into a "reverse open-jaw". For example, fly out on one US city to Europe, but return home via a different US city. It's possible that you might find a cheaper ticket price via the different US route.

-Paul
 

zenofmatthew

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
The dimensions of
length and breadth are now unplanned,
depth and time are cast.
@pjacobi this a cool idea, hadn't thought about this kind of combination. My goal with this thread was to help others think differently. With the airlines changing prices in an apparently arbitrary fashion, it is an idea to get us out of their molds and maybe save a couple bucks. It's not about the brushstrokes of how they come to their ticket prices, it's about what we see on the ticket price painting.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
If you happen to live near two major US airports, you might look into a "reverse open-jaw". For example, fly out on one US city to Europe, but return home via a different US city. It's possible that you might find a cheaper ticket price via the different US route.

-Paul
This isn't about an open jaw trip but sometime in the past we flew to Europe by flying west to Detroit from Boston where we had very cheap tickets across the Atlantic. We returned in reverse. We were happy with the savings. We are older now and so this kind of trip isn't as appealing now but you might want to consider it.

I was just thinking that in 2016 we had flights home from New Zealand via Sydney. Maybe we aren't as old as I thought.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I am flying to Valencia through London in September, then flying home from Madrid through Frankfurt in November. I did not choose these flights originally, but when my airline cancelled my original flights from Calgary through Montreal to Barcelona and home from Barcelona through Toronto to Calgary, I made what changes I could to simplify my time in Spain. However, this necessitates my keeping informed on the changing and unpredictable pandemic regulations in four different countries. There will be considerable expense involved, and difficult scheduling. In particular, the practice of Spanish labs being closed on Saturday and Sunday even in time of pandemic makes the 72 hours required timing before the departure of the last flight returning to Canada almost impossible. I have not been able to get any information about pandemic requirements for transiting Heathrow Airport, which are likely to change in a couple of days in any case. My original simple, cheap return tickets would have been so much simpler, although requiring travel from and to Barcelona in Spain to access my camino and my flight home.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Your right that One-world members probably have more options.. Sometimes the connections from Madrid can be as long as 6 to 8 hours, however. In those circumstances it might be wise to explore other options depending on where you llive and-fly

For example we live 70 miles from EWR. It is a UA hub, with a connecting flight ( star alliance) one can be in Bilbao by by 11:30 am.


Sometimes, I book a flight with a long layover on the way home. I dislike
departing SdC, changing planes, and then taking a long flight home. I don’t mind a morning flight out of SdC and then spend the rest of the day in a Munich, or Geneva. Some airlines will keep your luggage and put it through to your next day international flight.

In addition, I sometimes do Hack fares. I might buy a RT fare say to Dublin on UA and then an open Jaw ticket from Dublin to Spain or Munich and back to Dublin from wherever I plan to depart from. I always leave a day inbetween connecting flights so there is no issue with missing the transatlantic flight. Sometimes, we might spend 3 or 4 days around the Irish-countryside or the Bavarian or Austrian Alps before returning home.

The downside of hack fares is if you miss your transatlantic connection your not protected.


You have my utmost sympathy to have to use Newark NJ (EWR) as your home hub. I used to be a loyal UA flyer - I have Million Miler status with them. But, when they removed flights from Washington Dulles (IAD) to put them at EWR, that did it for me.

IAD has six runways, three of which are active at one time. EWR has two runways, only one of which can be used at one time, depending on the prevailing winds. EWR is like an aircraft carrier hemmed in on all sides by hazards.

UA took this decision for economic reasons. When Continental took over UA, they also took over the very long term, and very cheap lease on the entire Terminal C at EWR that Continental Airlines had negotiated with the Port Authority of NY - NJ in the 1980s. It did not matter that IAD was safer, had triple the active runways, was better situated, had far better facilities and great non-stop flights to most all world capitals - from our national capital.

I used to live 10-minutes by car/taxi from the check-in desk at IAD. The flight shift happened right around the time I moved to Florida from northern Virginia.

When I saw that, to go ANYWHERE, UA forced me to connect at EWR, I changed my loyalty to AA. Still not perfect, but having Miami (MIA) as a nearby intercontinental hub (one hour by car), and most of my required domestic connections through the much safer and better situated Charlotte, NC, was a HUGE improvement. I now use Iberia (a AA codeshare) to fly direct to MAD or elsewhere in Europe. Using an AA flight is a fallback, but the their fares are usually much high for the identical routing.

My point, I suppose, is that you have alternatives. My most suggested idea is to depart from a US gateway airport where you can get a direct, non-stop flight to Madrid on Iberia. If you were starting a Camino in France or Portugal, I would recommend Air France direct to Paris or TAP, direct to Lisbon. These flights always operate - they need to operate.

The reason is that these national flag airlines MUST run at least one flight daily to rotate crews, and provide a critical link for mail and parcel delivery. Flights from New York (JFK) and IAD also have the caché of government couriers carrying diplomatic pouches from national capital to national capital, or from the UN.

Do not underestimate the weight of the government that partially subsidizes you influencing a decision to fly or not. This is the case with most all non-US flag carriers. We (the USG) usually stick our diplomatic couriers on most any flight headed in the right direction.

If you live in upstate NY or CT, consider flying to Boston (BOS) from your nearest airport. Catch a direct flight to Europe from there. If you live in PA, consider driving to Philadelphia (PHL) and taking a direct flight from there, or a domestic flight to a more favorable jumping off point.

For example, if I lived in western NJ, I might drive to Scranton or Allentown (ABE) and take a domestic flight to a major intercontinental hub that was NOT EWR. Be sure to make the connection on US soil to avoid difficult COVID regulations. If I lived in central or south-NJ, I would definitely use PHL instead of EWR.

I grew up in northern NJ, and EWR was my home airport for the first 26 years of my life, until I got the heck out of there, moving to Boston for school.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
Last edited:

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
You have my utmost sympathy to have to use Newark NJ (EWR) as your home hub. I used to be a loyal UA flyer - I have Million Miler status with them. But, when they removed flights from Washington Dulles (IAD) to put them at EWR, that did it for me.

IAD has six runways, three of which are active at one time. EWR has two runways, only one of which can be used at one time, depending on the prevailing winds. EWR is like an aircraft carrier hemmed in on all sides by hazards.

UA took this decision for economic reasons. When Continental took over UA, they also took over the very long term, and very cheap lease on the entire Terminal C at EWR that Continental Airlines had negotiated with the Port Authority of NY - NJ in the 1980s. It did not matter that IAD was safer, had triple the active runways, was better situated, had far better facilities and great non-stop flights to most all world capitals - from our national capital.

I used to live 10-minutes by car/taxi from the check-in desk at IAD. The flight shift happened right around the time I moved to Florida from northern Virginia.

When I saw that, to go ANYWHERE, UA forced me to connect at EWR, I changed my loyalty to AA. Still not perfect, but having Miami (MIA) as a nearby intercontinental hub (one hour by car), and most of my required domestic connections through the much safer and better situated Charlotte, NC, was a HUGE improvement. I now use Iberia (a AA codeshare) to fly direct to MAD or elsewhere in Europe. Using an AA flight is a fallback, but the their fares are usually much high for the identical routing.

My point, I suppose, is that you have alternatives. My most suggested idea is to depart from a US gateway airport where you can get a direct, non-stop flight to Madrid on Iberia. If you were starting a Camino in France or Portugal, I would recommend Air France direct to Paris or TAP, direct to Lisbon. These flights always operate - they need to operate.

The reason is that these national flag airlines MJUST run at least one flight daily to rotate crews, and provide a critical link for mail and parcel delivery. Flights from New York (JFK) and IAD also have the caché of government couriers carrying diplomatic pouches from national capital to national capital, or from the UN.

Do not underestimate the weight of the government that partially subsidizes you influencing a decision to fly or not. This is the case with most all non-US flag carriers. We (the USG) usually stick our diplomatic couriers on most any flight headed in the right direction.

If you live in upstate NY or CT, consider flying to Boston (BOS) from your nearest airport. Catch a direct flight to Europe from there. If you live in PA, consider driving to Philadelphia (PHL) and taking a direct flight from there, or a domestic flight to a more favorable jumping off point.

For example, if I lived in western NJ, I might drive to Scranton or Allentown (ABE) and take a domestic flight to a major intercontinental hub that was NOT EWR. Be sure to make the connection on US soil to avoid difficult COVID regulations. If I lived in central or south-NJ, I would definitely use PHL instead of EWR.

I grew up in northern NJ, and EWR was my home airport for the first 26 years of my life, until I got the heck out of there, moving to Boston for school.

Hope this helps.

Tom

ThanksTom ! I have explored all the metro airports . Weighing various considerations over the years, including public transport, non stop flights, connections, passport wait times, airport facilities, etc. EWR Is the best for us and UA also has direct nonstop flights to MAD. 🙏🏻
 
Last edited:

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Di nada! Good luck.

Arrive early, check in early and check your flight status often.

Do not wander too far from the departure gate.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
EWR has two runways, only one of which can be used at one time, depending on the prevailing winds. EWR is like an aircraft carrier hemmed in on all sides by hazards.
Never knew that — but I bet that has something to do with why I arrived 8 hours late to EWR and missed the first day of my 50th high school reunion!

I grew up in northern NJ
Anywhere near Berkeley Heights?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
No, it was as small blue collar town in Passaic County, probably a 45-minute ride to Berkeley Heights, if I recall correctly. It was 15 miles, as the bird flies west of Times Square in NYC.

All in all, a great place to be FROM. I learned a lot of life's lessons, fast.

If any one of the three major airports serving the NYC metro area (EWR, LGA, or JFK) has ANY problem with arrivals or departures, all three airports feel it. They actually share one big chunk of three dimensional airspace. It is scary actually.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 

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