Best Time to Fly to Europe: Know the Seasons and Save

Know When to Buy Cheap Flights to Europe

You’ve made the decision; you’re going to Europe, and going this year. So what’ll it be – Paris, London, Rome, Dublin, Barcelona?

Personally, I love Florence: Michelangelo’s David, the Pitti Palace, the Ponte Vecchio – and the incredible Italian food. Such an experience need not be impossibly expensive, either, so let’s talk about saving money and getting the cheapest tickets to Europe that you can.

How to save on flights to Europe? It’s not so much where you go as when you go for affordable trips to Europe. And the key to that is knowing the air travel seasons of Europe. That’s right, the seasons.

Listen to the Europe Expert

World traveler Farnoosh Brock, publisher of Prolific Living, shares some money saving tips for international travel; plus, she names some of her favorite cities and explains why you’ll love them, too. Listen:

Europe’s Four Airfare Seasons Govern Flight Price

When planning your trip to Europe, it’s crucial that you know the various seasons for European air travel because seasons govern price, and are the key to finding the cheapest flights to Europe available.

Summer: Most Expensive Flights to Europe

Summer is peak season in Europe; this is when many families are free to travel, and the crowds in the Champs-Elysees and at Buckingham Palace bear this out. The airlines know this is when people want to travel, and airfare is at its priciest.

  • Summer Season: Start varies from late May/first week of June – Ends late August (typically, last week of the month)

Saving Tip: If you must take your trip when the kids are out of school, see if their schedule allows you to travel just before the season begins, or at its conclusion (if, for example, your children don’t have to return to school until after Labor Day).

Winter: Cheapest Flights to Europe

The least attractive time to fly is winter, of course and mainly because of the weather; however, it’s the most attractive time to fly in terms of price. For winter sports lovers, remember that Europe has some of the best skiing in the world – and we can show you how to get cheap flights to ski holidays in Europe.

Bonus: you won’t worry about fainting from the heat outside the Vatican in August, and the Louvre won’t be overrun by fellow tourists (one exception to the “smaller crowds” generalization: Christmas and New Year’s).

  • Winter Season: Starts mid/late October – Ends mid/late March

Saving Tip: Travel in October or March to avoid the worst of the weather and still get the deals; FareCompare’s Flexible Calendar search will keep you within the money saving season.

Spring and Fall: Moderate Airfares for Trips to Europe

Spring and fall are both excellent times to travel thanks to nice weather, fewer crowds and good airfare prices. For many, this is the ideal time to travel to Europe.

  • Spring Season: Starts mid/late March – Ends mid/late June
  • Fall Season: Starts mid/late August – Ends mid/late October

Saving Tip: Autumn is typically a little cheaper than springtime, but don’t forget – many families have available time for traveling during Spring Break.

More Tips for Saving Money

Some European cities are cheaper than others; see our “Cheap Flight Cheat Sheet – Europe” for more on getting the best deal possible, and it’ll also tell you why it pays to use the FareCompare Where-to-Go Getaway Map.

Finally, sign up for FareCompare Airfare Alerts – learn when prices drop on flights to Paris, London, Rome or my favorite – Florence – or wherever your European travels take you.

Learn more about FareCompare and the cheapest days to fly and best times to buy airline tickets for year-round savings.

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Published: January 27, 2011