Traveling to Europe is on everyone's bucket list, or so it seems. This continent is home to so many countries that appeal to every type of traveler, from cities steeped in history to posh towns that exude luxury. Therefore, it's no surprise that when it comes to booking airfare and determining exactly where to go, travelers are looking to save some serious bucks.

It's possible to curve the costs of most trips by following a few simple rules of thumb. Not every European destination offers the same type of money-saving travel but many of them do, depending on when you go, and where.


Let's Talk About Traveling During The Off-Season

The cost of airfare and hotels skyrockets because of the number of people traveling during that time. In most parts of Europe, the peak season is between the months of late May to late August. Public schools are out during this time, it's the summer so more vacations are happening with nicer weather, and it's just a popular time for people to leave the country, in general.

Just as chilly weather forces travelers south, summer temps force them east across the pond to Europe. With that being said, the very first step to picking any type of time frame to visit Europe is to travel during October, November, January, February, March, or April.

  • Exception: December is the only month where travel peaks outside of peak season due to all of its holidays. This is a popular time for family-friendly travel, so this is yet another month to avoid in order to save money.

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Be Aware Of The Day On Which You Travel, And Avoid Direct Flights

For anyone truly looking to save money, Investopedia recommends looking into flights that go into major cities with layovers rather than booking a direct flight to one country. This can be done at either end; i.e. flights from New York into London can be more affordable than flights going from New York straight to a smaller country or airport. Flying between these two major cities is economical and will accrue minimal charges, as travelers will then be flying between two cities in Europe rather than flying internationally. If travelers are following the flight forecasts and booking during the off-season, then flights should be marginally cheaper.

The day a traveler chooses to fly on also makes a difference, believe it or not. Having flexibility is the key to an affordable flight nowadays although it may not always be the most convenient option. Airfare is notoriously cheaper in the middle of the week, specifically on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. To make things even more complicated, flights themselves can be dragged out to be even cheaper by opting for an overnight layover somewhere. For example, if a traveler flies out on a Tuesday and has an overnight layover, they might find an additionally cheap flight on Wednesday that will get them to their destination.

  • Cost of airfare to Europe: During the time of writing, the average cost of a roundtrip flight during the summer (peak season) is roughly $760.

The Big Question: Where Can, And Should, You Go?

According to Forbes, there are four places in Europe, specifically, that are seeing lower airfare rates than the rest of the continent. Flights to these countries are coming in hundreds below what one would typically spend when traveling to Europe, and the pandemic is the likely cause of that. These countries have also recently reopened, or are in the process of reopening, their borders, which means that tourism is slowly being encouraged - thus, lower airfare prices.


Historically, Iceland hasn't been the cheapest to visit. It's a destination that ranks high on many people's lists but it's not always cost-effective for those staying on a budget, until now. The airfare to this country has dropped by roughly 21%, according to Forbes, leading to significant flight deals.

  • Airfare from the U.S.: ~ $550, roundtrip


Airfare to Ireland is slightly more than that of Iceland but not by much. Once again, Ireland is a place that has notoriously priced itself out of many people's budgets. Those who wish to see this stunning Emerald Isle will be happy to know that jumping on travel deals right now will likely yield good results.

  • Airfare from the U.S.: ~$620, roundtrip


Interestingly enough, Spain has two points of interest right now that both offer great deals on airfare: Madrid and Barcelona. Both of these cities are absolutely breathtaking and flights to both are competitive and budget-friendly. Madrid is looking to be one of the first cities in the world to offer vaccine passports, while Barcelona is looking to cater even more to travelers looking to explore the city.

  • Airfare from the U.S.: $620-$640, roundtrip


When it comes to the cheapest place to travel, Portugal - specifically, Lisbon - made the list above all others. The reason being that it's much closer to the U.S. so flights are automatically cheaper, combined with options for flights during the off-season and so on.

  • Airfare from the U.S.: ~$480

Next: These Are The Best (Affordable) Family-Friendly Vacations You Can Take In The U.S.