Flight deals to Europe are very frequent, however only a handful of cities are available “directly” with these deals. But there is a way to get to any city in Europe at a much lower price than you are used to.
As you may already know, we find flight deals almost every day from Toronto and Montreal to Europe for under $500 roundtrip, and from the rest of Canada to Europe at low prices as well, around $700-$800. Of course, it is only for a few specific and limited destinations. But there is a way to get to any city on the cheap, even if the specific city is not on sale directly from your selected departure city.
The fact is, buying a single itinerary to get to your destination, especially for Europe, isn’t always the cheapest way to book. Since Europe is one of your favorite destinations, we wanted to share our trick to go anywhere in Europe at a low price.
Why this trick is necessary
We receive many messages asking us “is there a deal for X city or Y city”. Well the answer is no in 99% of cases, because its is pretty rare that Podgorica (the capital of Montenegro if you’ve never heard of it) will be on sale directly from Toronto for example. It’s usually the larger hubs that are served by transatlantic ultra low-cost carriers (ULCCs) or in very competitive markets that are on sale “directly” at really good prices. But you should never pay over $1,000 to go to Europe, no matter where, if you want to save money and are willing to use Ultra Low-Cost Carriers.
So the chances are extremely slim that your precise obscure European destination is on sale at the particular dates that you want and at the exact moment that you are writing. If every single destination was on sale, first of all it wouldn’t be a sale anymore, and secondly, you wouldn’t need to visit our website now would you 😉 ?
So, how to find the cheapest flight for a chosen destination if it’s not London, Paris or Amsterdam to name a few of those often on sale? Because yes, despite what we just said, when you know how, it’s doable to fly to almost every city in Europe for cheap, which means about $200 more than the cost of the cheapest transatlantic deal from your city.
First of all, there is no secret recipe: the most useful tool to travel with ultra low-cost carriers will always be to have some flexibility, whether you want to visit Europe or Florida. If you have extremely specific dates and have no wiggle room at all, I’m sorry to tell you that your chances to find a great deal for your flight and pay a lower price are significantly diminished. If you have the slightest flexibility, it is possible to find plane tickets to almost anywhere, and we will explain how to do so just below.
So, how do you find the cheapest flights for a specific destination in Europe?
1. Make a few stops (and take advantage of it by seeing a new city!)
This is the key, the ultimate secret to pay the lowest price! If you have to reach your final destination quickly and that you are in a rush, this isn’t for you. But for everybody else, it is what makes visiting any country for cheap possible.
The trick is to take the least expensive ticket to any city in Europe, that fits your dates, no matter where in Europe it lands. Then look for domestic flights with ultra low-cost carriers to reach your destination for a maximum of $100 each way most of the time.
Yes, you will indeed have a longer stopover because you will travel with two different airlines and need some wiggle room. It’s perfect, this way you can visit another city for the length of time you desire (or just wait in the airport if you prefer). If you like to travel, you should like the opportunity to visit a new city for free!
Are the stopovers really worth it?
Yes, because domestic flights in Europe are so ridiculously inexpensive (those of you who follow us on Twitter may have seen a $5 flight I found during my research, or even worse, a 49-cent flight seen this week). Flights are routinely priced under $50 each way in Europe.
For example, in January, I went to Eastern Europe. But the cheapest way to cross the Atlantic was to go to Sweden. Therefore, I landed in Stockholm, I made the most out of it by staying in the city a few days, and then my flight from Sweden to Bulgaria cost me $13. Yes, $13 with all taxes included.
Flying directly from Montreal to Bulgaria would have cost me at least $1,200 and instead I only added about $13 in each direction to a $300 roundtrip flight to Europe.
I saved over $800 on a single ticket. That is the best trick to go anywhere for cheap.
How to find these flights?
For the transatlantic part, visit our deals page regularly and keep in mind that the best deals for Europe come out 2-3 months (sometimes more) before the departure date, or even much earlier for the fall. For domestic flights in Europe, since we don’t yet have a “Flytrippers Europe” website, use our advanced search tool to find the best dates for your specific destination in Europe. Ryanair and Wizz Air are the two main ultra low-cost airlines in Europe (you’ll find my review of Ryanair on this blog soon).
2. Be flexible
To continue what we were saying, being flexible is really key. It is not necessary to have three weeks of flexibility, but at least a few days would be helpful to find a better price. Why? Airlines make money precisely with the people that have no flexibility whatsoever.
When you have no choice but to leave at a certain date, they know you are ready to pay any price, especially in the case of business travelers, who still make up a big part of the airline industry’s bread and butter. Did you know that leaving only one day earlier/later could save you up to $500? Yet, it’s true!
You can read more about that in our article about which day of the week is the cheapest to fly on.
3. Pack light
This is a general requirement that applies to every Ultra Low-Cost cCarrier, whether it’s to visit Europe or Florida, as mentioned in our popular article “How ultra-low-cost carriers work”.
Airlines that offer the best prices to Europe (like WOW Air from Toronto and Montreal) only include a free backpack, as do the intra-Europe airlines that have the very best prices. If you are absolutely unable to pack light, you should still look into ULCC carriers, because even if you pay a surplus for a bag, it can often still come out less expensive than flying with regular airlines.
However, having done it many times, with a little bit of effort, it is easily achievable to pack light and not pay a single dollar more than the base fare. It’s a different way to travel, but it saves you so much money that you can travel much more, maybe as much as I did in 2017 (65 flights and 18 countries).
Three other tips
The transatlantic flight being the most expensive, it is obvious that you should concentrate your efforts where it will have the biggest impact, by booking the longest flight first. When you have decided on your itinerary for Europe, book as soon as possible because in Europe, the prices of ULCC flights go up quickly as the departure date approaches.
Secondly, pay particular attention to cities where there are multiple airports so you don’t have a nasty surprise during your stops. For example, in London, most transatlantic flights land in Heathrow or Gatwick, but the European domestic flights with ULCC carriers usually leave from Stansted or Luton (London has six airports!). Therefore, you must simply plan ahead your schedule and as always, be flexible.
Thirdly, make sure to verify the baggage policies of each airline on your itinerary and remember that if you use this technique with more than a carry-on baggage, you have to pay luggage fees every time on each flight segment: as I said, it is always more advantageous for those who can pack light!
Finally, come see our website every day to find deals
As mentioned, we search for the best prices every day, many times per day! We do everything to find the most dates for you to fly to Europe for less than $500.
The dates and destinations are always displayed on our deals page and this way, by checking regularly, you’ll see when your dates and destinations are on sale, always keeping in mind the tips above.
Always check if it is cheaper to split your itinerary into two separate tickets before paying full price to Europe, as you can often save hundreds of dollars… and get to visit an extra city too!
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