If you’ve been kicking around the idea of a trip to Europe this year, we say go for it. We also have a couple of pieces of advice:
- Shop for tickets now
- Travel before mid-May
In fact, the sooner you can travel, the cheaper. The price of airfare to Europe is governed by seasons and wintertime is the cheapest time but you can save on other flights once you know the seasonal parameters.
LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney’s tips from his 40+ trips to Europe.
Europe: When to Travel
Europe has four distinct travel seasons; they are ranked from cheapest to most expensive (and please note that the dates are approximate because they vary by airline).
- Winter: mid/late October – mid/late March
- Fall: mid/late August - mid/late October
- Spring: mid/late March – mid/late May
- Summer: mid/late May – mid/late August
Fall and spring prices are very similar but autumn fares have a slight edge. Also, you may see summer prices bump up again in mid-June as the peak-season of Europe really gets going.
Note: The cheapest days of the week to fly to Europe are usually Monday through Wednesday and sometimes Thursdays are cheap, too. Avoid weekend flights but remember, many airfare deals require a Saturday night stay.
Europe: Where to Go
If you want to go to Paris, London or Rome, go for it! But if you’ve been there or are simply looking for cheaper alternatives, here some suggestions.
Click the destination to find flights and prices from your hometown.
- Germany: Frankfurt
- Ireland: Dublin and Shannon
- Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway and Sweden
- Spain: Barcelona and Madrid
- Switzerland: Zurich
Note: Scandinavia may not seem cheap compared to, say, Ireland – but according to airfare analyst Rick Seaney, the current fares to cities like Copenhagen and Oslo are some of the best prices he’s seen in years.
Europe: When to Buy
The best time to begin shopping for flights to Europe is about five months in advance of travel. Be sure to complete your purchase at least a month-and-a-half before take-off.