Back in 2009, the New York Times reported "shockingly" low fares to Europe.
The report showed prices from a few sites (including my own) such as New York to Paris for $392 round-trip.
There was no catch beyond the fact that back then the U.S. was in the depths of a great recession.
Well here’s another shock: We’ve climbed out of that recession and times are good, but you can still go to Paris for just $392. In fact, I just found a round-trip on Icelandair for $391! It must be noted that this fare and other cheap flights to Europe are largely good in the winter months, but these are still remarkable, even shockingly good deals.
Yet some don’t want to go to Europe. Here are four bad reasons that shouldn't hold you back:
1. You’re Cheap
You love to boast about how much you save, so a Boston to Brussels deal for $382 round-trip might be right up your alley.
Tip: Those of you who do like to brag about spending too much can take the same Boston-Brussels flights on the same days, same airline (Air Canada) but fly business class; then it’ll cost you $5,798.
2. You Like to Fly Favorite Airlines
While it’s true that many of the current best deals to Europe are offered by discount carriers like Icelandair, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Wow Air, there are nearly as many good deals on airlines you’re more familiar with and here are some examples (again, prices were found last week):
- Boston to Copenhagen: $355 round-trip on United
- Boston to Barcelona: $397 round-trip, British Airways
- Denver to Amsterdam: $489 round-trip on United
- Boston to Paris: $572 round-trip on Air Canada
- Chicago to London: $597 round-trip on British Airways
Tip: Always compare fares on an airfare comparison site (there are many, including my own) because you never know which airline will have the cheapest fares.
3. You Don't Like Crowds
Travel in winter and enjoy the significantly shorter lines outside the Uffizi Gallery or the Louvre.
According to British tourism statistics, the number of visitors to the U.K. in the first quarter of 2016 (January to March) was about 7.5 million. From April to June, the figure jumped to just a hair under 10 million and although the complete summer figures aren’t yet available, you know they’re staggering.
Luckily, prices in winter aren't. Here’s an example for a round-trip flight from Hartford to Dublin on Aer Lingus:
- Fly in February: $513
- Fly in July: $783
Tip: If you’re flying as a family of four on a trip in the example above, flying during summer will cost you more than $1,000 more than winter travel.
4. You've Already Been to Europe
Maybe you’ve been to London, Paris and Rome, but that doesn’t mean you’ve seen it all. There are more fabulous places like Barcelona, Glasgow and Venice. Or how about Oslo or Copenhagen, Santorini, Greece, or Split, Croatia? The point is the list is endless and so are the deals, at least for now.
So what if you can’t speak the language? Learn a few words, meet some people, get off the beaten path; my experience is that most people like people who take the trouble to come and see their native treasures.
Tip: You’ll never regret exploring a new city or country; you will regret not taking advantage of what may be once-in-a-lifetime deals to Europe.
Rick Seaney is the CEO of FareCompare, a website that curates the best deals on flights from around the world. Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.