If you want to go to Europe this year, we think that’s a great idea. But you should start planning and shopping right now.
LISTEN: Rick’s been saving money on Europe for years.
Flights to Europe
Start ticking these items off your to-do list.
1. When to Shop
If you are thinking of a trip in late winter or spring, begin shopping immediately. Deals are out there but may not last long. You can shop for summer now, too, but you do have some breathing room for a late summer or fall trip.
- General rule: Purchase tickets at least a month-and-a-half before departure, especially for summer.
2. When to Fly
The cheapest deals are in Europe’s winter season, followed by spring and fall. Key dates to keep in mind:
Winter season – ends around March 12
Spring season – ends around May 15
Fall season – begins around Aug. 23
- You can save from 15-30 percent by flying cheaper periods.
3. Where to Go
Cheaper destinations include Ireland (Dublin or Shannon) and we are also seeing some good deals to Scandinavia (example: New York to Oslo for under $600 round-trip in May). But if you time it right, even the most popular European cities can be cheap; in early February we spotted Los Angeles-London round-trip fares for under $650.
- Compare airfares every time you shop. Never assume one airline is always cheaper than the others.
4. How to Cut Costs
A few ideas:
- Pack light: Most carriers allow trans-Atlantic passengers a free checked-bag, but overweight penalties (usually 50 pounds or more) can cost hundreds of dollars.
- Price connecting flights: Non-stops are more convenient but sometimes more expensive.
- Include a Saturday night stay: This isn’t always necessary but some airlines require this to get the cheapest fare.