How to travel to Europe this summer, at a lower cost
Traveling is expensive most of the time and even more so during global inflation and global shortages, resulting from Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. But there are ways to travel cheaper by doing things differently, doing your research and/or booking differently/better.
Here are some ideas for traveling across the Atlantic:
- find the cheapest times to go— it has become more difficult now that “everyone” is working from home and can technically travel “off-peak” (if such a thing no longer exists). However, statistically, there are days that will be cheaper, such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays and August 23. Do your research.
- avoid arriving or traveling on vacation “pinch points”– although you may know the school holiday dates in your own country, remember to do your research on the holiday dates in your destination – to avoid them. In the UK, for example, it’s the weekend of July 23/24, while across the Channel, it’s much earlier. In France, the children separate for the summer on the weekend of July 1st. These are the dates when the queues will be longer and the security lines endless. Think about it, for the prices too.
- avoid checking baggage where possible— Industry experts across the US and EU continue to say that more luggage will be lost this summer due to airport strikes and staff shortages. You don’t want to spend time tracking your luggage, so pack light, with just one suitcase, if necessary, instead of two – less clothes perhaps, but 50% less room for vacation upheaval.
- aim low— that is to say, after two years of staying at home, do you really need to plan a trip to three continents, many flights and several hotels? This only adds stress, bureaucracy and leaves more room for error (notably due to the various Covid-19 related travel restrictions across Europe). Stick to one country, fly direct (if possible), and don’t plan to drive far. For example, road trips in the south of France in the summer are always at least twice as long as in the winter, and on top of the planned strikes in the UK and France on their respective transport systemsyou don’t want to spend a “revengeful” summer vacation stuck in traffic.
- book using offers and check low cost travel options— there are, for example, two new low-cost carriers flying between US destinations and European hubs, such as PLAY and French Bee. They both launched agreements to promote the new routes. The telegraph also reported on how to travel through Germany, for example, with a train ticket that costs less than £10 in total ($12). Again, do your research.
- book, book and book early—in a world of scarcity (staff, food, rooms, rental cars), it’s always best to book everything in advance. In France, for example, this means up to all lunch – if you want to eat something that is not frozen first.
- change the nature of your vacation—The Guardian offers five interesting ideas for going on vacation at a low pricelike home exchanges, staying in a Highland bothy (it’s free) and traveling around the world.
- ultimately, how and who to pay— it’s always worth paying on your credit card, so you have another plan of action in case of cancellation. Also, package tours might be a better option, as tour operators are required to find a way to get you to your hotel if your flight is canceled and you’ve booked both directly through them.