Four Ways to Save on Flights to Europe This Summer: Travel Alternatives

The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the Summer Olympics, the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens – lots of reasons to go to Europe this summer, and no reason for you to pay a penny more than you have to.

Listen as FareCompare’s Rick Seaney tells Editor as Anne McDermott that you can indeed fly to Europe – with just a carryon.

Will the Olympics cause Delays at Heathrow?

Step One: Find a Cheap Flight

Good advice no matter where you fly: Find a cheap flight by comparison shopping. See what all the airlines are offering before you spend too much on your ticket.

4 Ways to Save on Europe: Travel Alternatives

Here are four other ways to save – just try these four alternative travel solutions:

1. Look for alternate cities

No shock that many of the most popular destinations in Europe are more expensive than other less sought after cities: put it down to supply-and-demand and/or higher airport taxes (London and Paris are a couple of good examples).

Break out of the pack and save. While airfare prices to cities can and do change, right now some of Europe’s cheaper country destinations are as follows:

  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

Another way to save: skip non-stop flights in favor of a connecting flight – just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to make the connection. Make that several hours or even a day, especially if you’re traveling on two different airlines.

(Keep reading for more tips, below the search box)

2. Look for alternative airlines

Europe is home to several discount carriers with fares that can be dirt cheap. Some examples:

  • EasyJet – based in London, this carrier flies to 30 countries in Europe
  • Ryanair – based in Dublin, the airline flies to more than 150 destinations throughout Europe
  • Wizz Air – based in Budapest, this carrier flies to 60+ destinations, many in Eastern Europe

Note: Discount carriers often charge steeps fees – including fees for services U.S. travelers get for free  (example: Ryanair’s online booking fee). Study these charges – especially the baggage fees – before you fly.

Worldwide Airline Baggage Fee Chart

3. Travel on alternative seasons

Summer is the most expensive time to fly, and winter is cheapest. Even if you have your heart set on traveling this summer, with a little juggling of dates, you could save big on spring or fall flights. See the Cheapest Times to Fly to Europe for more.

4. Stay in alternative accommodations

A good tip for those planning to stay put in a city for a while, whether in Europe or the U.S., is to get a hotel room with a kitchenette  so you don’t have to eat all your meals out. Depending on the hotel chain, you’ll find prices from budget-conscious to luxury-loving.

More from Rick Seaney:

Making a Summer Vacation in Europe Affordable


Published: February 29, 2012