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Traveling to Europe in 2011 – Finding Cheap Flights

USA Today Column Travel to Europe Cheap Flights

Hope you had a chance to see my latest airfare column at USAToday.com. My topic: how to find cheap flights to Europe.

Let me give you the condensed version here:

Will prices to Europe be higher this summer?

Yes. In the summer of 2009, you could find flights to Ireland for well under $500 roundtrip total; this summer, that’s your starting point – and by that I mean you’ll pay about $500 just in taxes, fees and surcharges – before you add in the actual airfare.

Will a nonstop flight cost more?

In most case, expect to pay a premium of from $150 to $350 for a nonstop; avoid those if you want to save.

Does it matter what day of the week I travel to Europe?

It does. Most of the airlines to Europe file two different price points: one for travel on the so-called “midweek days” which are Monday through Wednesday, and another for travel on what the “weekend days” (Thursday through Sunday). If avoid travel on “weekends”, you’ll save about 40 bucks each way.

What about a Saturday night “stay-over”?

Many of the cheapest European fares do require a Saturday night stay; if you don’t follow this rule, you could wind up paying hundreds of dollars more.

What can you tell me about Europe’s seasons?

I can tell you that the best time to fly to Europe depends on the season; some are cheaper than others:

  • Cheapest: Winter 

Begins mid to late November — Ends mid to late March

  • Less Cheap: Fall 

Begins mid to late August — Ends mid to late November

  • More Expensive: Spring 

Begins mid to late March Ends late May/first week of June

  • Most Expensive: Summer 

Please see my complete column for more money-saving tips on Europe travel.

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