By Grant Walzcak
Let go of all the notions you have about flying, Europe is an entirely new ballgame. There are tons of ways to find extremely cheap flights to all major cities, and get ripped with HUGE fees. The key to the game is to do your research.
Europe has many No-Frills Airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet that have changed the industry since it deregulated its airways in the 1990’s (I promise this isn’t a history lesson). Using these airlines has made it possible to get flights for as low as $20 in some situations, but it pays to do your research and book ahead.
Sites like Skyscanner.com are fantastic resources that specialize in budget flights. They will show you what carriers serve your line and compare prices. Combining one-way flights from budget airlines often provides you with a cheaper alternative to round-trip flights. Once you find the right airline, I recommend using their website to book your travels.
THE CATCH: Using No-Frills Airlines comes with its risks. Don’t worry, your safety is not at risk, but your wallet may be. Most of these airlines charge huge fees to check bags, especially if your carry-on is too large and needs to be checked at the airport. Make sure to always look at the Airlines website and review the regulations on baggage. I recommend traveling light and only using a carry-on bag that meets the requirements. It will save you money and the hassle of checking bags. Something else to look out for is a fee for printing your boarding pass at the airport (RyanAir). This could cost you up to $100.
Traveling by air in Europe is extremely easy, IF you prepare for each trip. Otherwise you can expect some nightmare experiences. For example, London has five major airports – extremely convenient – but no so convenient is the fact they all require about an hour of extra travel time. Most cities in Europe will provide you with this additional challenge to traveling. My recommendation is research all the methods of travel to and from the departure city AND the arrival city. Otherwise you will arrive at Barcelona International Airport scratching your head.
As always, arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare before your flight. This may sound simple, but there are many challenges standing in your way. KNOW YOUR CITY. If you are in Rome, you can expect a transportation strike almost every week. An unprepared traveler would miss their flight, but researching all the options to getting to the airport will get you there every time. Each city has its unique methods of getting to the airport. Knowing these will save you money and provide piece of mind.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS:
- Bookmark Skyscanner.com
- Check Budget Airline websites for great deals
- Book in advance
- Use one-way flights to save money
- Only use carry-on bags that meet requirements (No checked bags)
- Print boarding passes ahead of time
- Research transportation methods to and from airports