Taking Advantage of Winter Airfares to Europe
Europe is one of the most desirable destinations for travelers from the American side of the Atlantic. It can also be one of the most expensive destinations in the world, especially for when the Euro is strong against the US Dollar, as it has been for the past few years.
For American travelers who don’t want to give up on their European ambitions but who don’t want to spend their life savings on a dream vacation, the colder seasons are a good time to visit the continent. Airfares, package tours and hotels are much cheaper in the fall and the winter than during the summer. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Ski destinations in the Alps, for example, are pricier in the colder season. And, because the holidays are a popular time to visit the great urban destinations on the other side of the Atlantic, Christmas and New Year airfares and hotels reach summertime prices.
Though there are fewer winter deals this year compared to previous years, it is still possible to travel to Europe for reasonable prices during the winter time.
Here are some places to look for good deals as the weather gets colder.
Lufthansa is one of the best airlines for off-season deals. The German carrier offers great deals not only to Europe, but also from North America through Europe to destinations in the Middle East and Africa. This year’s fares include a $270 one-way fare between New York and London. Lufthansa is also the obvious choice for travelers who want to visit Germany. They regularly have the lowest prices between the US and German cities like Munich and Berlin.
American Airlines is one of the best airlines for package tours. Many of AA’s European vacation packages include great hotel deals. When it comes to airfares, American is able to hold its own in terms of price when it is compared with the other major trans-Atlantic carriers. Fares to Europe start in the $250 range. However, it is important (especially for frugal travelers) to be aware of the additional expenses like fuel surcharges and taxes that are sometimes not quoted in the price.
Continental Airlines will have some of the better deals for travelers who want to cross the ocean in luxury. The carrier’s BusinessFirst prices will be especially low for fliers who are traveling from the Continental hubs of Newark and Houston. Destinations include Rome, Amsterdam and London.
United and Delta both have economy class specials from their hub destinations in the US. United is one of the better airlines for Midwestern travelers, with sub-$300 one way prices from departure points like Denver and Chicago.
Around the world airfares can be a good choice for people who want to visit more than one destination and get the most miles per dollar value out of their travels. Though these multiple-stop tours can be more of an involved journey than some travelers might want, they are a great value for adventure seekers. Some of these airfare packages offer travel on three continents for less than $2,000. For example, a current fare, starting at $1,495 includes stops in one European city and a city in East Africa, and a return fare to the East Coast of the US.
True round-the-world fares (from the East Coast through Asia and the Middle East to Europe) start at less than $2,000 with more stops and a less-straightforward route adding several hundred dollars to the overall price tag. For those who have their minds made up to travel to Europe and don’t have interest in the rest of the world, airfare packages that allow travel through many of the continent’s best destinations start at around $2,000. Another option could be a Eurail pass (starting at $300), which, when combined with a standard $600 trans-Atlantic airfare could prove a better deal than an all-air package, although train travel will be bit slower.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Icelandair are decent choices for travelers who want to go to Northern Europe. Scandinavian has been steadily increasing its service of the past couple of years. Major SAS destinations include Stockholm and Copenhagen (from D.C., New York and Chicago). SAS also has connecting flights to destinations in Asia like Dubai and Bangkok.