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When is the cheapest time to fly to Europe?

sunrise flight

So, you’re young. You’re (kinda) free. And you want to go to Europe? Twirl in the Parisian streets? Sip espresso in Rome? Frolic around the spellbinding Swiss Alps? Canal cruise in Amsterdam? Ahh, sounds like a dream. And the only thing that can make it come true (without it making a hole in your pocket)? A hack to find the cheapest time to fly to Europe, of course. 

It’s every traveller’s dream – to snag cheap AF flights and spend the saved-up money lavishly on everything Europe has to offer (and those souvenirs you’ll buy for your mum too). And you’re in luck! Here’s a list of tips to help you save your precious bucks while buying plane tickets.

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When is the cheapest time to fly to Europe? 

One-word answer? Off-season. This means travelling between October and March will be lighter on your wallet.

Summer trips are stunning, but they do make everyone channel their inner vagabond, driving up prices faster than a Ferrari on the Autobahn. But winter? Now, that’s a different story. 

Not a lot of people are going to Europe during the colder seasons. It’s chilly. It’s (sometimes) damp. And people are just craving some tropical sunshine. But as most locals would probably tell you – the off-season is probably the BEST time to go to Europe. And the most awesome part? It also happens to be the cheapest time to fly there!

Shoulder season savings

What happens if you wanna be thrifty, but also wanna avoid those frigid temperatures? So, there’s this super cool thing called shoulder season…

Spring and autumn are the sweet spot between a sunny-but-expensive summer and a cheap-but-chilly winter. It might not be THE cheapest time to fly to Europe, but it’s a bloody bargain. The temperature’s perfect. The sun’s still out. And there are fewer tourists too. Basically, Europe is shining in all its glory.

So, if you’ve got a week or two off in spring or autumn – Europe is on the cards.

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6 Tips To Save On Your Tix

1. Snatch the sneaky stopovers

If layovers make you wanna run and hide, it’s time to play the Uno reverse card on them. How, you ask? By turning them into mini vacations! Every stopover is an opportunity to explore the country you’re in. All you need to do is strategically plan them. Longer layovers mean that you’ll have more time in a brand-new country. And prices for such flights are cheaper too. Spend less, explore more! (Travel hack of the century, if you ask me).

2. Wiggle-room wonder: Flexibility is key

Flexibility can make a massive difference in how much you end up splashing out on your trip. So if you’ve got some wiggle room for when you can fly – make the best of it. You can toggle around and change your departure dates to see when is the cheapest time to fly to Europe to plan your trip. Who knows? You might just find a treasure box of budget-friendly days.

3. Rise & shine: Travel early

The early bird catches the worm – yeeep… it’s true. Prices for flights that are super early morning tend to be lower. So if you manage to pull yourself outta your ever-so-comfy bed, you might catch some wonderful sleep in a wonderful European country instead (with a loaded wallet too!).

4. Mid-week magic

As the hump day kicks in, flight prices go down. Rumour has it that this happens because corporate travellers don’t tend to travel mid-week. Great news! This means prices tend to be lower for midweek departures (and we love not having to think about work while on vacay). Nothing like a good hump day fiesta for your wallet.

5. Turn. Those. Notifications. On.

Okay, want the EASIEST way to know when the cheapest time to fly to Europe is? Turn the ping on. Google Flights (and most other flight search engines) have a feature to notify you when the prices of the flights you’ve been looking for go down. So if you’re booking months in advance and have some time before you finalise your trip – this is a lifesaver.

6. Go incognito

Sneaky hacks require you to be a bit sneaky…

One of the best ways to find cheap flights to Europe (or anywhere, really) is to search for them in incognito mode. This way, the flight prices won’t be influenced by all the previous searches you did. (Those darn cookies!). And if you can, do your browsing on a separate device to the one you’ll use to book.

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Where is the cheapest place in Europe to fly into?

Well, that entirely depends on where you’re flying from. If you’re coming from North America, international flights to Dublin or London are cheaper. Yes, it’s not mainland Europe. But you’ll find that it’s cheaper to fly to these cities and then catch another flight into Europe. Some prices from London to major European cities cost as little as $25. Yep. And if you’re flying from Australia, then Istanbul or Rome could be cheaper. It’s all about the distance.

What is the off-season to travel to Europe?

Off-season tends to occur during the colder months. That means October to March is the golden window for budget-friendly flight deals.

How far in advance should I book a flight to Europe to get the best deal?

Not too far in advance, but not too late either. The general opinion is that flight prices are the lowest between 3 months and 3 weeks before departure.

It’s time to book your tickets…

Now that you have all this new-found wisdom, it’s time to unleash your inner booking wizard. There’s no time to waste. And there’s a lot to be explored (without making your wallet weep). So, if you’re still dreaming of that espresso in Rome, you’ll love Contiki’s trips to Europe. 

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