When traveling around Europe, it is always impressive at the cheap vacation deals you can find because the flights are so well priced. Trains have always been thought of as the cheapest and most convenient way to get from country to country within Europe. While you cannot beat the convenience of the train (most train stations are located in the center of cities) they are not always the cheapest mode of transportation. With the deregulation of airlines and the proliferation of extremely competitive discount carriers, more new no-frills airlines are taking off every year. This means that it is the perfect time for travelers to snatch up some great deals on flights within Europe.
Although this seems like a blessing, make sure you know the ‘rules’ for the discount airline you are flying with. Read the small print and follow the tips below to make sure you are not hammered with extra fees. If you follow these tips, you’ll be flying and saving money before you know it.
- Consider your trip route. If you are staying within a country and are not crossing different countries in Europe, you may want to buy a rail pass for that specific country. A train, in this case, is more practical for travel within shorter distances.
- Book in advance. The farther ahead you book your flight, the cheaper the rate will be (aside from the occasional surprise sales).
- Do your research. Check a few different sites before deciding on one airline. Different sites have different prices and promotions. The two most popular airlines to check first are: RyanAir and easyJet.
- Get creative. Sometimes, the cheapest flight might not be from your destination. Do some fishing around to see if there is a cheap flight leaving from a nearby location. This way, you can take a short train ride to your new departing airport.
- Don’t plan on turning back. These budget tickets are usually nonrefundable and non-changeable. If you are connecting from another flight to a budget flight, make sure you allow yourself enough time. If you miss your flight, you will have to buy another one.
- Be aware of extra charges. These companies are not making money off your ticket, but in other ways such as: over-priced food and drinks, carrying an infant onboard, checking in at the airport as opposed to online, and checked baggage. Make sure you read the fine print to see where extra charges are coming from and avoid them at all costs.
- Check in online and print your boarding pass. Before arriving at the airport, most budget airlines request that you print your ticket online before arriving at the airport. If you do not have your ticket, there is generally a cost involved. Print your ticket first to avoid extra fees.
- Pay attention to baggage restrictions. Most budget airlines only allow one carryon bag. This carryon includes your personal item. Go onto the airline website and make sure your bag dimensions are correct to avoid big baggage fees.
Below are some of the more popular of the budget airlines available across Europe:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Berlin
- Brussels Airlines
- Cimber Sterling
- Wind Jet
- Wizz Air