We all want to travel to Europe on a cheap budget these days.
How to Travel Europe on a Cheap Budget – and discount price airlines have sprung up in almost every European country in the last few years – all of them fighting furiously with each other to offer the best value cheap airfare deals. However, do we benefit from these discount European travel prices or do the drawbacks of trying to travel Europe cheaply outweigh the advantages?
Travel Europe on a Cheap Budget
Do the budget low price airfares blind us to the extra hassle that the low price might be hiding? Let us look at some current cheap European travel deals and see what we find.
Almost every European country now has at least one no-frills budget airline. Easy Jet and Ryan Air are becoming thoroughly known and popular in Great Britain and Ireland. Germany has four or five low-cost airlines and cheap airfare specialists. Meanwhile, in Sweden, SAS has just launched its budget offshoot called Snowflake.
At first glance the fares that these airlines charge can seem ridiculously low; Ryan Air has given their flights away almost for free in the past – although you still have to pay the airport tax of around twenty UK pounds. However, where is the catch? Is there a catch? Can you travel to Europe by air without spending a fortune?
Here is the deal if you want to travel to Europe on a cheap budget:
Firstly, the low fares airlines in Europe nearly always use out of town provincial airports – often about forty or fifty miles from the respective city centers. This can add up to two hours of travel time to your journey at each end. You also have to pay for the bus or train connection to get from your airport to the city center.
Make sure you add this price into the cost of your ticket when comparing prices between cheap airfare deals and the prices charged by the mainstream airlines. In most cases, the leading airlines fly you into the city center airport and thus cut your travel time and the cost of any other transport.
If you are unlucky enough to miss a flight, then you could be stuck in a very rural airport overnight with all the food outlets closed down and no way to get back to the town or the city.
Secondly, you only get what you pay for. The European budget airlines may offer no in-flight service for food and drinks. Alternatively, if they do, they will charge you for it at a premium rate. Coffee, sandwiches, and beer may be very pricey, indeed. Many of the flights are only of an hour or two’s duration so snacks and drinks may not be such a big deal.
Thirdly – figure out the total travel time and compare that to the costs. For example, it takes five hours to go from the very center of Glasgow in Scotland to the very center of London by train, and it costs around twenty-five UK pounds each way.
Now – you might pick up a cheap flight from Glasgow to London, only to find that both of your airports are forty miles from the city center. That immediately adds three hours to your travel time, not counting the waiting around at the airports, baggage handling and all the extra hassle that goes with it.
You will also have to pay separately for the bus or train journey from the airport to the city center and vice versa. Unless your airfare is exceptionally cheap, you might well spend more money in the long run for a less comfortable journey. Check it all out carefully in advance if you can.
Fourthly, the quoted cheap airfare ticket prices are only for APEX travelers. You might have to pay a lot extra if you need to change your flight time. Cheap airfare prices are also usually only available if you buy well in advance – buying the day before or on the day will add a significant premium to the price.
The baggage allowance is also on the mean side – often no more than 15kg or 20kg per person. Any more than that and you will face a very hefty premium on your cheap price ticket.
In summary – you can travel to Europe cheaply by choosing your discount airline package carefully. However, do try to weigh up all the extra hidden costs as you compare flight ticket prices. You should also factor in the extra travel time that arriving at a provincial airport may bring.
Please remember: Do not get too hung up on it all!
Travel in Europe is fun – however, you do it.