We all want to travel Europe on a cheap budget these days.
Over the last few years, budget and low cost airlines have popped up in almost every European country – all of them fighting each other furiously to offer the best deals on cheap airfare. Do we really benefit from these European discounted travel fares or do we have the disadvantages of trying to travel in Europe outweigh the benefits? Does the low-cost budget blindly blind us to the extra hassle that the cheap price can be hidden? Let's take a look at some up-to-date cheap European travel deals and see what we find.
Almost every European country now has at least one non-budget airline. Easy Jet and Ryan Air are becoming well known and popular in the UK and Ireland. Germany has four or five low-cost airlines and low-cost airfare specialists. Meanwhile, in Sweden, SAS have just released their own budget called Snowflake.
At first glance, the fares these airlines charge may seem ridiculously low; Ryan Air has given flights almost free of charge in the past – although you still have to pay an airport fee of around twenty pounds. But where is the catch? Are there any catches? Can you really travel Europe by air without spending a fortune?
Here's the deal if you want to travel to Europe on a cheap budget:
First, low-cost airlines in Europe almost always operate outside the city's 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 trip from each end. You also have to pay for the bus or train connection to get from the airport to the city center. Make sure you add this price to the price of your ticket when comparing prices between cheap airline ticket deals and those charged by major airlines. In most cases, your major airlines fly to the airport downtown, reducing travel time and the cost of any additional transportation.
If you are not fortunate enough to miss a flight, then you could literally stay in a very rural airport for one night when all the outlets are closed and there is no way to return to the city or town.
Second, you only get what you pay for. European budget airlines may not offer flights for food and drink. Or, if they do, they will charge you a premium. Coffee, sandwiches and beer can be really expensive. To be fair, many flights last only an hour or two, so snacks and drinks may not be that big a deal.
Third – calculate the total travel time and compare it with the cost. For example: it takes five hours by train from the center of Glasgow in Scotland to central London and costs around twenty-five pounds each time.
Now – you can take a cheap flight from Glasgow to London, only to find that both of your airports are forty miles from the city center. This instantly adds three hours to your travel time, not counting the airport waiting, baggage handling and any extra surplus related to it. You will also need to pay separately for bus or train travel from the airport to the city center and back. Unless your ticket is extremely cheap, in the long run you can spend more money on less convenient travel. Check everything carefully in advance if you can.
Fourth, the cheap airline ticket quotes are for APEX passengers only. You may have to pay a lot more if you need to change your flight time. Cheap airfare is also usually only available if you buy well in advance – buying the day before or the day will add a big premium to the price. Luggage allowance is also on the middle side – often no more than 15 kg or 20 kg per person. Anything more than that and you will face a very rich premium on your ticket for a cheap price.
In summary, you can travel Europe cheaply by carefully selecting your airline discount package. But try to weigh all the extra hidden costs while comparing flight fares. You should also consider the extra travel time that may arrive at a provincial airport.
Please remember: Don't go overboard with all this!
Traveling in Europe is fun – as much as you do.