How I flew to Europe for under $300
Flying abroad can be cost prohibitive. You could easily expect to pay well over $1,000 for a roundtrip ticket. However, there are ways to get abroad for much less. Last year I was able to fly to Ireland for $340 RT (nonstop) and this year I flew to France for $286 RT (nonstop). Many blogs you’ll read you may find that people are using reward points or credit card bonuses. Well, I don’t have those things. So, how did I do it?
Book as early as you can.
If you want to get a good deal on summer travel, book in January to enjoy the low rates. The rates go up as the plane fills up and the closer you get to the departure date. Hopper uses a fare forecaster to give you a date when you’re likely to see rates rise.
Utilize the rate forecasts calendar via Momondo and Google Flights to see if you can adjust your trip by a few days or a week if you’re able.
Overnight flights and early morning departures tend to be cheaper. If you’re like me, I’m really sensitive to time change and I can’t sleep on planes. Check the airport for a Minute Suites or a lounge where you can catch a nap. I have a credit card that gives me access through Priority Pass and I’ve also looked at purchasing day passes through Lounge Buddy. Some airports even have hotels where you can book by the hour. If all else fails, see if your credit card offers concierge service and have them call the hotel for an early check-in.
Avoid peak seasons.
Summer is the most expensive time to travel to Europe for both airfare and hotel costs. When I traveled to Ireland and London I never paid more than $150 per night in the hotel for December/January travel.
Is there a particular draw to the city at a specific time? For example, like tulip season in Holland or Cherry Blossoms in Japan? Unfortunately, these are the most expensive times to visit. Unless you have your heart set on going for these reasons adjust your travel time.
Try different airport departures.
Do you live between two airports? Sometimes a little extra drive can save you $100+ per flight.
Act quick. Be ready to buy.
The flight email alerts you’ll get will have a timer on them. Many of them will expire in 1-2 days and some might even be gone when you search. Airlines will release a certain amount of tickets on a particular fare type and they are available until they are gone.
In addition to the tips above, these are some of the most helpful resources I’ve used in keeping an eye on flights and getting the best deal possible. It almost becomes addictive, so be careful!
This is a flight alert email for best deals from your home airport for both international and domestic flights. $25 per year.
This is a flight alert email for best deals from your home airport (not all airports are available for tracking). What I like about this site is it gives you both domestic and international options. Plus it’s FREE!
This is a flight alert email for international flights. You don’t need to subscribe to be sent alert emails.
Flight tracking/alert app. This is one of my favorite apps. I input all of my dream flights with varying dates and get alerts when the prices drop via alerts on my phone. They also let you know when the prices will start to rise and by how much. This is free to use.
Flight search and tracking website. Google allows you to track multiple flights and you’ll get email alerts as the fare changes. You can also play around with dates and see how much flights are months out.
This is a flight alert email for international flights. You don’t need to subscribe to be sent alert emails, but there is a premium subscription which means those who are paying subscribers will get the alerts first. That means those limited fares might be gone by the time you get an alert as a non-paying member. $49 per year.
This is a vacation planning site (which I love!). You can start to plan your trip by looking by destination. You can choose the destination or the vibe of your vacation (i.e. beach, city or mountain getaway). You can set the price you’re looking to pay and see the fares to multiple destinations at a time on a map. They also have a predictive fare calendar. This is where I start planning for my yearly vacation to see what fits in my budget, then I track those places for the best price via Google and Hopper.
Is this a foolproof way of finding a cheap flight? Not always. Is it amazing when you score that deal? Why yes, yes it is!
Did you score a good deal on a flight using my tips? Comment below to let me know where you’re headed!