The Best Times to Buy Flights to Europe (Backed by Data)

The Best Times to Buy Flights to Europe (Backed by Data)

Dreaming of a European vacation? If you need to be sipping an Aperol Spritz on the Mediterranean seaside, wandering the slim streets of an outdated city, or cruising the Alpine slopes on skis, you’re not alone. International flights to the outdated continent are packed full – belief me, I simply obtained off of 1.

And we all know that many full flights imply only a few low cost flights, which is an actual bummer for these of us searching for a very good deal for our subsequent journey. Flight costs appear to be at an all-time excessive in relation to crossing the Atlantic, and that’s if you will discover seats on the flight you need in any respect.

While the most effective instances to purchase flights to Europe will rely rather a lot in your vacation spot and trip plans, there are definitely some suggestions and tips to discovering extra reasonably priced airfare. Frequent vacationers know all about travel hacking and flight trackers, however is there extra of a science behind discovering low cost fares?

As somebody who crosses the pond often, I’ve a good bit of expertise find the most effective time to guide flights, and I’m obsessive about the info, suggestions, and tips that get me the most effective offers. Read on to see my tackle when and the way try to be reserving flights to Europe.

The Prime Booking Window for Cheap Flights to Europe

Price history in Google Flights

Google Flights / Google Flights

You’ve most likely heard that the cheapest day to book flights is Tuesday – whereas that’s completely false, there are certainly just a few components to contemplate by way of when precisely to purchase airline tickets. Firstly, it’s worthwhile to take into account when the journey will truly happen; then, there’s an necessary timeframe for purchasing tickets earlier than then.

That timeframe is at the least 3 to six months earlier than your meant date of journey. If you wait any longer than that, your probabilities of getting an honest flight deal quickly lower. And in some instances, chances are you’ll even need to take into account reserving even additional out than that – {the summertime} excessive season is one which I discover is greatest booked as far prematurely as potential.

Now that that’s out of the best way and you understand how far prematurely try to be wanting let’s get into the prime instances to truly journey – the opposite element to discovering airfare offers. Before you hit Google Flights, know these necessary intervals and the way they’ll have an effect on your last worth.

Summertime High Season

Bluewater and Skyline in Milos
Brittney Liu / ViaTravelers

Without a doubt, the summer time months are Europe’s busiest – particularly for coastal countries like France, Italy, Spain, and Greece, but additionally for metropolis breaks and mountain escapes. The heat solar and sea carry a whole lot of hundreds of vacationers, however they definitely don’t carry cheaper flights. As I discussed, that is one season for which I might begin looking for my airline ticket much more than 6 months out.

The highest of the excessive season occurs in July and August. Avoid these months if you wish to miss big crowds, increased ticket costs, and costlier lodge charges. My high tip is to journey simply exterior of this season for those who can – early June and late September are perfect for climate, crowds, and budgets.

Spring Break & Easter

Panoramic view of the historic city of Avila from the Mirador of Cuatro Postes, Spain
giusparta / Adobe Stock

The March and April faculty breaks in America are supreme instances for families to travel. Luckily, European flight costs don’t skyrocket because of this, however you may discover barely increased fares because of this. Plus, the Easter vacation is a well-liked time to journey for Europeans.

The spring is a good time to go to locations which can be warming up and blooming with flowers, just like the Netherlands, the place Keukenhof Gardens fills with tulips. The complete nation of Spain celebrates Easter for a full week with parades and festivities, whereas the Greek Islands begin to come out of hibernation – you may need to go to Santorini earlier than the masses take over.

See Related: Best Gardens in Europe to Visit

Holiday Season & Christmas Markets

Lights down Carnaby Street in London during the Christmas Season
Aniczkania /

Just like all over the place else on this planet, the few weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year’s should not a very good time to search out the lowest prices in Europe. However, it’s a good time to go to the continent, and with correct advance planning, you possibly can decrease prices.

Most cities host Christmas markets – for those who haven’t heard of that idea, it’s when squares are lined with decorations, lights, and cubicles of distributors promoting tasty treats and souvenirs. Christmas markets are lovely and quintessentially European, so you’ll want to take into account this era. My favorites embody Budapest, Vienna, and Monaco.

See Related: Best German Christmas Markets for Festive Goodness

Special Events

Paulaner Festzelt (Paulaner Tent), Oktoberfest
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

There are all types of enjoyable issues taking place in Europe year-round, and they’re going to definitely drive up costs to the locations that they’re held at. Think of Oktoberfest for Munich, tulip season within the Netherlands, the Grand Prix in Monaco, and the well-known Cannes Film Festival within the French Riviera.

Along with observing the advance reserving window, you possibly can fight inflated costs to your vacation spot by flying to and from some other place. For instance, one in all my favorites to say is utilizing the three airports of Milan, which are sometimes very low cost, to entry the French Riviera – it’s only a few hours away through a cheap and comfy practice trip.

Low Season

pilatus kulm mountain panorama
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

So, when is the most cost effective time to go to Europe? While deals can be had year-round, the bottom costs are constantly discovered within the low season. These are the weeks and months that encompass the above-mentioned excessive seasons.

Fall and Spring are good methods to explain the off-season on the whole, however it will possibly differ by vacation spot. The Greek Islands will certainly be in off-season any time that’s not June, July, or August, as will most Mediterranean rivieras. On the opposite hand, Alpine locations like Switzerland and Austria are slower in between ski season and summertime however no much less lovely or culturally enriching.

Cheap European Flights: Fare And Route Examples

Let’s check out some instance fares throughout the Atlantic. I searched some standard routes for one-week-long, round-trip tickets throughout August and November, together with an alternate that might be cheaper. It’s superb to see the distinction between excessive season, off-season, and an alternate arrival airport – however, as all the time with airfare, your outcomes might differ! These examples are for demonstration functions solely, and also you’ll have to do your individual searches for dependable fares.

Route Summer High Season Fall Low Season Cheaper Alternative Example
New York to London $639 (American/British) $444 (TAP Portugal) Dublin ($439 – Aer Lingus, High Season)
Los Angeles to Paris $1345 (Air Tahiti Nui) $630 (Aer Lingus) Barcelona ($848 – American, High Season)
Chicago to Munich $1313 (United) $676 (Aer Lingus) Budapest ($845 – Swiss, High Season)
Houston to Rome $1190 (Delta/Air France/KLM) $751 (Turkish) Milan ($920 – United, High Season)
Las Vegas to Madrid $1289 (American) $789 (American) Barcelona ($849 – American, High Season)

Cheapest Destinations in Europe

Aerial view of Zlatni rat beach in Bol, Island Brac, Croatia
mislaw / Shutterstock

While you possibly can’t all the time handle to find a cheap flight, you possibly can undoubtedly restrict what you pay if you get to Europe. One of the most effective methods to do this is to journey to a usually cheaper vacation spot, the place issues like meals and lodges are wallet-friendly. Here are a few of the hottest locations on the continent that don’t break the financial institution:

  • Portugal: One factor that’s all the time struck me about visiting Portugal is how insanely low cost Uber is there for some purpose. I stayed on the Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa, which isn’t precisely strolling distance from something, and by no means paid greater than 5 Euros for an Uber to city.
  • Croatia: New to the European Union and the Eurozone, Croatia and its many islands are beloved by vacationers for his or her lovely surroundings and low costs. Dubrovnik, Split, Krka, and Plitvicka Jezera National Park are my favourite spots there.
  • Hungary: With a novel tradition, language, and historical past, Hungary is a well-liked place to go to and one of many most cost-effective within the Schengen Zone. Budapest is the primary attraction, however don’t hesitate to go additional into the countryside to get off the overwhelmed path.
  • Greece: Yes, for those who keep on the caldera in Santorini, you’ll pay a fairly penny to your Greek vacation. But deciding on a less-visited island, or at the least staying in a non-Instagram-famous city, reveals the identical surroundings and seashores for lots much less cash.

Of course, we’re being very normal right here – you will discover very costly locations to go to inside these international locations. You may also discover low cost locations to go to inside costlier international locations, like rural Ireland or southern Italy.

See Related: Riding the Eurostar from Paris to London after Brexit

Tips for Finding Cheap Fares to Europe

We did an entire information on how to find cheap flights, and all of them apply to getting throughout the pond! It is crucial to mix the most effective time to guide flights with the most effective practices for locating them. Here are just a few of our greatest suggestions.

Use the Right Tools

Be certain you’re signed up for an inexpensive fare finder, like Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), our favourite. With this trick up your sleeve, you gained’t even have to do any looking to search out nice offers, as they pop up in your inbox each time somebody on their workforce finds one, leaving you to simply resolve whether or not to guide.

In all chance, you’ll be performing some looking, although. Sites like Momondo, Skyscanner,, and Google Flights make it straightforward to carry out a flight search with the precise parameters you want, together with including checked baggage, limiting layovers, and excluding budget airlines. Just keep in mind that the extra filters you utilize, the tougher it turns into to discover a low cost flight!

You may also discover success in finding cheaper flights if you use a Virtual Private Network (or VPN).

Track Prices

A key good thing about utilizing your favourite flight search device is having the ability to set up price alerts. Every time a fare you’re watching considerably drops or rises, you’ll get a cell notification or e-mail. Sites like Momondo and Skyscanner may even use previous information to let you know in the event that they assume it’s the most effective time to purchase or not.

While you must use these alerts to plan forward so far as potential, you may also use them to get the most effective worth even after reserving. Nowadays, change charges are largely gone. So if a worth drops, rebook your ticket – you’ll get a flight credit score to make use of for subsequent time!

Flexibility is Key

Perhaps an important tip of all, irrespective of what tools you’re using or what costs you’re monitoring, is to be as versatile as you probably will be. The departure date, return date, connection preferences, and even the vacation spot, plus extra, ought to all be negotiable in an ideal world. The skill to shift a number of of those can have a profound impact on the power to search out good offers.

Search for flights with versatile dates, and use the low-fare calendar supplied by most websites. Search a number of airports at a number of locations without delay, and verify the “embody close by airports” field. And attempt to restrict the filters accessible in a search.


What components affect the price of flights to Europe?

We did an entire piece on the many factors that affect the worth of airline tickets and why they’re continuously altering, however in brief, virtually all of them boil down to produce and demand. For European flights, extra folks need to fly within the excessive seasons like summer time, on standard routes to large cities like London and Paris, and on extra handy direct flights – provide and demand components like these result in increased costs.

How far prematurely ought to I guide my flight to Europe?

Unlike home flights, which have a candy spot of 1 to three months prematurely, your greatest guess to purchase tickets for worldwide flights is at the least 3 to six months prematurely. For the very excessive seasons, like July, August, and the vacation season, even additional prematurely than that’s prone to get you the most effective costs.

What is the height season to journey to Europe?

Visiting Europe is exceptionally standard within the July and August excessive season, particularly for seashore locations, which ends up in the best ticket costs. The Christmas vacation season, new yr, and different main holidays are, in fact, different peak instances.

Alpine and snowy locations like Switzerland and Finland stay high-priced within the in any other case less-expensive winter season. For the most effective deal, focus your journey plans round these excessive seasons.

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