So you want to go to Europe, but you don't want to spend an arm and a leg to get there. Good news, it's easy. It just takes a little bit of patience, flexibility, and planning. On average, you'll see flights to Europe from the US for around $1100-$1400 during peak season. So how do you get around paying these prices? Here are the tips I've used over the years.
1. Be Flexible
Do you have very specific dates? Specific location? Then be prepared to pay for it.
The more flexible you are with dates and location, the cheaper airfare will be. Dublin is one of the cheapest places to fly into, so grab a flight there and make that your jumping off point to the rest of Europe. Icelandair offers great deals and allows free extended layovers in Iceland. Travel during shoulder season.
May, September, and October are my favorite months to travel to Europe. Not only is the weather still nice, but prices are lower and the summer crowds are gone.
My go-to tool for finding the best deals? Google flights. Using their search tool, you can plug in your location to any general destination, i.e. Europe. Click the month and time frame, i.e. September and one week. Different locations will pop up with the time frames and cheapest prices listed. Thank you, Google.
So, be flexible and maybe you'll be able to score a last minute deal.
2. Use Points
Put those credit card points to good use. If you're already using a credit card to gain points, you can think about using them towards to your flight to offset the cost.
Thanks to points, I've gotten to Dublin for only $200 in travel fees and I've flown business class on every intra-Europe flight I've taken with British Airways.
3. Buy a vacation package
I'm not really the vacation package type, but I've seen some great deals appear over the years. If you're the type of person that wants to do the least amount of work planning your trip, buy a vacation package.
4. Be Creative
Sometimes you have to think outside the box. Maybe your favorite destination only has direct flights from NYC and you live in Chicago, or you live somewhere there isn't an international airport and you have to connect before you can get to Europe. It may be cheaper to book your flight from New York to Milan and book your flight from your home to New York separately, or use a combo of points and cash.
5. Don't Book Early
I'm talking to you, the year-out planner. Book too early and prices can be as high as booking last minute. Patience, young grasshopper.
6. Be Patient
Good things come to those who wait. Just don't wait until the week before!
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