It’s nearly that time of year when social media feeds start blowing up with family and friends’ happy-snaps of boats floating on the Adriatic Sea, pools set against hilly Tuscan scenes, and charming Parisian streets. It’s when masses of travellers flee winter in Australia for summer in Europe, and with a little planning, you could be among them next year. If you’re already picturing yourself roving around in sandals and shorts and sipping sidewalk spritzes, then read on.
For ski-bunnies and those that live for the colder months, you’re in luck, as travel will be vastly cheaper, and the best Europe early bird sales are generally on throughout April and May. Get booking!
Ahead are all the reasons you need to plan your European vacation sooner rather than later, as well as a few tips and tricks to help you on your way.
1. Save On Flights
So you’ve wanted to travel to Europe for a while. But then those great-value Southeast Asia tours come up, and that trip just seems so much easier to do. The truth is that your European dream vacation is within reach if you have some know-how, flexibility and time. To secure cheap flights to Europe, the first thing to note is that the ‘when’ of booking your airfares is everything. If you’re keen on summer in Europe (June to August) and destinations such as the Greek and Croatian Islands, think about booking your flights between October and February to get the best deals. Arriving in late August is a good bet for pleasant weather and affordable flights, but if you can go in late May or early September that will be even better, as the initial weeks of autumn and spring are generally off-peak. If you like the idea of wondrous winter scenes such as the Northern Lights in Scandinavia or glamorous apres-ski experiences on the Swiss Alps, your time to book flights is right now. Early-bird airfares and holiday deals for the cooler months (December to February) in Europe are often rolled out from March until May. Outside of major calendar dates such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve, winter trips will generally be more accessible than summer ones. Regardless of the season, though, another good-to-know is that if you don’t need to be at your destination on a specific date, then that will help your hip pocket too.
The ‘where’ of your departure and arrival is also important. Again, it pays to be flexible. If you can forego a little convenience and snap up cheap flights from wherever they leave in Australia and arrive in Europe, and then find affordable connections internally, that will serve you well. Same goes with direct flights versus longer journeys with stopovers along the way. If you’re open to the latter, you’ll not only save yourself some dollars but also potentially be able to make the most of a few days in your layover destination (you can easily investigate the possibilities using Webjet’s multi-city search). Learn more about how to travel to Europe for less here.
2. The Early Bird Gets the Worm
As well as striking when the iron is hot when it comes to cheap flights to Europe, knowing where you might like to travel in 2020 (or a year in advance) promises the opportunity to secure much-coveted dates for some of Europe’s most popular experiences. You can snap up your cabin of choice on a Europe river cruise, or lock in your preferred dates for a trip around the Baltic Sea and Norwegian fjords. Getting in early for these experiences, among others, is essential as these trips often operate within limited seasons. Imagine how much more relaxed (and smug) you’ll feel in the lead up to your holiday, knowing you got in early and not only secured the best price; but the best travel dates and your first accommodation preference.
3. Get Excited
The most beneficial part of travel happens in the lead up to your time away – it’s all in the anticipation. And the further out you book your trip, the more months you’ll have to look forward to your big escape. Not only that, but the extra time to plan and save (as well as the money you’ll have already hung onto from booking flights early) will pay you dividends when there, ensuring you have the best possible holiday in Europe.
4. Beat the Crowds
As mentioned, the best time to go to Europe for cheap flights is in the weeks before and after peak season (otherwise at the beginning or end of the season). As well as being able to access better deals, another advantage to this is avoiding the lines at every popular European attraction. More money in your pocket and fewer tourists to contend with – what is there not to like about that? And in some areas, those off-peak weeks are not only less crowded, but also offer milder weather that is more enjoyable.
5. Get Great Deals on Europe Packages and Tours
Given the short distances from place to place once you’re on the Continent, choosing where to go and what to do can prove an overwhelming task. A good way to avoid decision overload could be to cover off some top spots on a European tour. Another smart way to travel is to combine cheap flights with accommodation in your destination by browsing holiday packages in Europe. You’ll still be able to set your preferences for the style of accommodation you’re after, whether that’s a luxe five-star hotel or an eclectic small stay, but you can eliminate a lot of the stress by booking it all at the same time.