Traipsing Through Europe


Air travel used to be only for those with deep pockets. But now you can fly for as little as $2—no joke (excluding taxes, of course). The rise of budget airlines in the last decade has transformed European travel into a flyway much more like that in the United States. Consequently, Brits now routinely fly from London to Rome for the weekend—and there is no reason the American traveler can't do the same. The key to making the most of the deals, though, is timing; if you book at least two months in advance, you'll have more of a chance of bagging a bargain. Purchase a round-trip ticket to a European hub like London, Amsterdam, or Frankfurt, and then plan little hops to any number of smaller regional destinations. For example, jet up to Edinburgh to catch a weekend of plays, music, and partying at the International Festival and Fringe without fully departing your London base camp; or bounce over to Berlin from Madrid for a quick study in Europe's diverse cultures.

A quick Google search will give you access to a huge array of other discount fares with various carriers. But bear in mind that these flights rarely fly from the largest airports. Like Southwest Airlines in the U.S., these no-frills airlines fly out of the smaller, lesser-known landing strips near major European cities—Beauvais Airport outside Paris or Ciampino Airport near Rome, for example.

New routes from easyJet this year include Paris (France) to Pisa (Italy), great for accessing the Renaissance cities of Tuscany; Berlin (Germany) to Valencia (Spain); Basel (Germany) to Alicante (Portugal); and Barcelona (Spain) and Nice (south of France).

While it really is possible to get flights for under $5, note that there may be additional hidden costs that bump the prices up. A more realistic price is around $120 for a two-hour flight booked one week in advance. All of the airlines' websites have telephone numbers to answer any questions.

Published: 13 May 2005 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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