Cheap Flights Cheat Sheet – Europe

Find Cheap Flights to Europe

So this is the year you travel to Europe – terrific. Will it be Paris, London, Rome, or something more exotic or remote? FareCompare will help you find cheap international flights with our easy-to-use flight search tool and trusted advice.

Airfare to Europe May Be 10% Higher This Summer

Remember that "cheap" is a relative term. In past summers, we saw incredibly cheap tickets to Europe, but that was in the midst of the recession. Prices have since moved onward and upward, thanks to stabilizing economic conditions and the increasing price of oil.

In fact, we expect that if the price of oil per barrel remains in the low to mid $90's, airfare to Europe could run about 10% higher this summer compared to last summer.

Can you still find cheap flights to Europe? Yes. Here's how:

Cheapest Days to Fly to Europe

Two tips to make sure you get the best airfare deals possible.

1. Stay over Saturday: Be sure your travel includes a Saturday night stay-over; many deals require this, and airfares without a Saturday night stay often cost substantially more.

2. Fly on Weekdays: It's cheaper than flying on the weekends, which can add another $80 to $100 to your total airfare

Best Time to Buy Cheap Tickets to Europe

Airfare prices rise and fall depending on the season. Know the Europe seasons to save money. The best day to shop for domestic airfare is Tuesday, but there is no "best day" rule of thumb for Europe airfare, so just follow these tips:

Sign-up for FareCompare Airfare Alerts: Airfare sales on flights to Europe are much more random than domestic sales; sign-up for airfare alerts to learn about sales first.

Buy airfare from five months to one month from departure: It's rare to see big price swings within this shopping window.

Where You Fly Makes a Difference in Price

Some European airports have traditionally been cheap gateways to the Continent, including Dublin and certain cities in Spain. If airfare to London's Heathrow, Paris' Charles de Gaulle or Rome's Leonardo da Vinci is a little too steep this summer, or you have multiple destinations in mind, here are a few tips:

Use the FareCompare Where-to-Go Getaway Map: At a glance, you can quickly see the cheapest airfares to European cities from your departure airport.

Book flights within Europe on local discount airlines: Once you have flown to your gateway airport, catch local flights to London, Paris, Rome or a wide variety of Europe's finest cities on discount carries. These include: EasyJet, Ryanair, Air Berlin, Wizz Air and other airlines.

Discount Airline Baggage Fee Policies: Many no-frills Europe-based airlines have strict baggage rules. Be sure to check these airlines' websites for size and weight limits for carryon baggage (plus, some low-cost airlines count a woman's purse as the single allowable "carryon baggage"). Also note checked-baggage weight limits (they can be much more restrictive than U.S. airlines); and be sure you know how many checked-bags you are allowed. Some discount airlines limit you to a single suitcase.

Discount Airline Fees: Finally, learn in advance what the fees will cost for all bags, carryons and checked-baggage; it can be quite expensive and even more so for "excess baggage". Know before you go.

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:

Rick Seaney
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