Whether you’ve traveled to Europe 100x or you’ve been dreaming of your future getaway, you’ve probably noticed getting there is the hardest part. While hotels and restaurants are usually the same price in Europe as they are in the US, flights are generally WAY higher internationally than domestically. Rather than pulling up a flight search engine and typing in your desired dates and destination, getting a bit creative with the travel booking process can save you LOTS of money. Check out my 8 travel tips for booking cheap trips to Europe below!
Use Google Flights And Search “Dallas” To “Europe”
Book a trip based on cost rather than destination on Google Flights. By searching for “Europe” rather than a specific city, you will see a full list of European cities ranked on flight price from your departure city. This way you can compare prices between all cities in one search! Be spontaneous. While Paris may sound romantic, flying to cities like Stockholm, Budapest, Milan, or Helsinki may save you a lot of money! Be open to exploring new destinations. Getting to Europe is the pricey part, but once you’re there you can hop on a train or a short flight (try RyanAir) for way less expensive!
Travel On Non-Holiday Weekends
Ok I know this can be tricky when PTO is a factor, but picking a random weekend will save you lots of money. Holiday travel rates are always so much higher than others, so try saving a couple extra PTO days and travel on an off-weekend. Your wallet will thank you. If you DO travel on the holidays, Thanksgiving is generally a lot less expensive than Christmas/New Years.
Travel Mid-Week And Be Flexible With Your Travel Days
I know I know, PTO again – but seriously, traveling on a Wednesday rather than a Thursday or Friday will be much less expensive. Everyone wants to book a long weekend or save as many PTO days as possible, but if you plan accordingly and don’t mind missing a few extra days of work, you will get a MUCH better deal. Another great perk of Google Flights is the calendar will show you the cheapest days to travel around your desired time frame. If you start booking trips based around rates rather than specific days, you’ll be able to afford multiple trips!
Use Extended Layovers To Try A New City
When you look at a travel itinerary and you see a 26 hour travel day through Europe you may panic, but booking flights like this may actually work in your benefit! When my friend Sarah and I flew from Amsterdam to London, we booked a 12 hour layover in Madrid to leave the airport and explore the city. It was less expensive than going directly to London, plus we got a free trip to Spain! Most airports offer lockers or storage, so simply store your bag, leave the airport, and roam the city. Also, Iceland Air offers extended layovers up to 7 days – which is basically like getting a bonus trip for free in Reykjavik when you travel from NYC to London! Unfortunately my layover in Iceland was only a few hours, but I plan on booking this next time.
Look For Planes, Trains, And Automobiles
Be open to different forms of transportation. Since London is close to so many major cities, we booked cheap train tickets to visit Brussels and Amsterdam. Since my trip to Eastern Europe this weekend (follow along with #perennialtravels) is more spread out, we have a rental car to cut back on travel time and have more flexibility. Weigh the options of transportation to see which is the most cost-effective for your journey – whether it’s the Eurorail pass, flights, or a car rental.
Book Flights In Increments
Ok this one is a bit quirky, but I’ve used it multiple times and it always works. When traveling internationally, I’ve found New York and Boston tend to have the cheapest flights. Try booking a flight from Boston to Rome for example whenever you see a deal, then use Southwest points or Spirit Air (or wait until your next paycheck) to book a flight from Dallas to Boston separately. It’s easier to find cheap flights domestically, so keep an eye out for international flights from major cities and book them when they pop up!
Download Hotel Tonight
Seriously, download it right now. This is the only app I use to book hotels, and it serves as a great reference for researching hotels as well! If you can wait to book your hotel one week in advance, you’ll get MAJOR discounts on some of the best hotels. The app categorizes the hotels by “hip” (my favorite), “luxe”, “solid”, “basic”, and the ultimate “high roller”. Use the code EFlowers11 for $25 off your first booking! Hint: the more you use the app, the more discounts you get.
Check Out Groupon And Travelzoo Deals
While I personally have not booked a trip on Groupon or Travelzoo, I’ve had a lot of friends use it and they loved their trips! Be sure to read the fine print about eligible dates and what’s really included in “all-inclusive”, but for an inexpensive getaway, this is a great way to travel!
So whether you’re planning a honeymoon, family vacay, or girls getaway, give these tips a shot for booking cheap trips to Europe. Trust me, it’s worth it!