How to jet off on your dream European vacation WITHOUT breaking the bank: Travel experts reveal genius tips for slashing the price of plane tickets – as flight costs hit a FIVE-YEAR high
- Trips to Europe are currently averaging $1,167 per ticket for summer departures
- That is 36 per cent more expensive than last year or about $317 per ticket
- The experts say booking early, using points and being flexible will help cut costs
- READ MORE: US-Europe summer flights hit a five-year high of $1,167
European flight prices for US travelers are currently at an all-time high – with an eye-wateringly expensive average of $1,167 per ticket.
Analysts at travel booking app Hopper told DailyMail.com that airfares this summer are the highest they have been in more than five years due to rising jet fuel prices, staff shortages and a lack of new aircraft.
Trips to Europe are currently averaging $1,167 per ticket for summer departures, which is 36 per cent more expensive than last year or about $317 per ticket. Meanwhile, flights to Asia are up 62 per cent compared to pre-pandemic, with the average ticket being $350 more expensive at $1,817.
However, despite plane ticket prices soaring, there are a few handy hacks that you can use to keep the cost of your summer travel down, with experts sharing a hosts of tips to ensure that you can still jet off to your destination of choice without breaking the bank.
Here, DailyMail.com rounds up the very best expert advice to help you enjoy the European vacation of your dreams.
Analysts at travel booking app Hopper told DailyMail.com that airfares this summer are the highest they have been in more than five years (stock image)
Researchers say flights to Europe and Asia have jumped to their highest level in five years
Be flexible with your travel plans
You might have set dates for travel in your head, but all of the travel experts recommend being as flexible as possible with your plans in a bid to get the best deal.
This means, if you need to book time off work, it’s best investigating the best flight deals available before requesting leave.
Sometimes altering your travel dates by a couple of days can slash costs by almost half.
Travel booking site Skyscanner allows you to search flights for an entire month, with the lowest price for each day listed so you can easily spot the cheapest times to fly.
If you can be really flexible, it might be worth postponing a trip by a few weeks. The team at money-saving website NerdWallet highlight that the shoulder months – spring and fall – are usually the cheapest times to travel.
They found a return flight from Newark, New York, to Athens cost in $435 September compared to $906 during high season.
Search every day of the week – NOT just on Tuesdays
The team of travel experts at Thrifty Traveler highlight that there is an ‘outdated myth’ within the travel community that Tuesday is the cheapest day to book flights, but ‘there’s just one problem: It’s not true.’
Instead they instruct travelers to try different searches throughout the week as there is no reasoning behind deals and they could crop up at anytime.
The flight deal analysts say they ‘find crazy cheap flights, mistake fares, and unadvertised award sales every single day of the year.
‘And no, airlines aren’t tracking your searches and raising your prices based on how many times you search. That means there’s no need to search incognito for flights, either.’
The team of travel experts at Thrifty Traveler highlight that there is an ‘outdated myth’ within the travel community that Tuesday is the cheapest day to book flights
Fly on off-peak days for the best deals
While the day you book doesn’t matter, the experts say that the day you fly does.
Typically Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays are the cheapest days to fly, while Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays are the most expensive.
According to a 2022 data analysis by the team at Google Flights, flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday was 12 per cent cheaper than flying over the weekend over the last five years.
For domestic travel within the US, that number came in at 20 per cent.
Points mean prizes! Why it’s worth getting a travel credit card
According to the travel experts at NerdWallet, award travel is one of the easiest ways of saving money on flights. It is worth investigating which banks offer the best travel credit card deals.
These cards allow you to earn points or miles with certain purchases, with these being redeemable against flights, hotels and car rentals. Other bonuses can include trip insurance and lounge access.
An analysis conducted by Bankrate looking at travel cards from a range of providers including Chase, Citi, American Express and Wells Fargo, found that the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is currently the best on the market for overall travel.
The experts say that this is ‘in part to its flexibility.’ They add: ‘You’ll earn unlimited miles and can redeem them as statement credits for a variety of travel expenses, including airfare and accommodations.’
While travel credit cards have many pluses, Bankrate notes that some of the cons include needing a good-to-excellent credit score to quality and hefty annual fees that can sometimes run up to $500.
Another niggle is that using rewards points can be complex, so it requires a bit of effort to maximize their value.
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points or miles with certain purchases, with these being redeemable against flights, hotels and car rentals
Book at least 45 days in advance
Booking as early as possible is best, the experts say, when it comes to getting bargain travel deals.
According to CheapAir’s 2023 International Airfare Study, those considering traveling from the US to Europe should book at least 45 days in advance.
Ideally, the experts recommend booking 10 months in advance.
Set price alerts for price drops
If you can’t find a flight deal to fit your budget, set a price alert.
There are lots of websites that automatically notify you when flights fall in price.
The experts from travel site Via Travelers rated some of their favorite flight price trackers with Skyscanner coming out on top.
They explain: ‘If the flight price is too high, set up alerts and wait, or add nearby airports to your search. That way, you get immediate flight alerts if the price changes or better flight options arise.’
Their other flight price tracker recommendations include Google Flights, Expedia, Going and Hopper.
Take advantage of the 24-hour rule
Travel deal site Going, advises travelers to lock in a deal but to take advantage of the ’24-hour rule’ if the price drops after booking.
It explains that this useful US regulation ‘allows passengers to cancel or change their flight free of charge within 24 hours of booking, if they booked directly with the airline at least seven days before travel for a flight going to or from the US.’
If you spot a cheaper flight, the experts recommend booking it before doing anything else to ensure you lock that rate in.
Once the booking has been confirmed, you can cancel the original ticket provided you are still within the 24-hour window from when you bought it.
Going highlights that the 24-hour rule is not applicable if you booked via an online travel agency like Expedia or Booking.com, although ‘some have their own 24-hour cancellation rules.’
Consider landing or starting from a different destination
Sometimes flights to a different destination to the one you are looking for can be cheaper.
With a greater selection of budget airlines in Europe, you can then find a low-cost connection.
While you might see this as an inconvenience, it could serve as an opportunity to tick off another destination during your vacation.
For instance, if you need to travel from the US to Paris, it might be cheaper flying to London first as there are more carriers operating this route.
You could then get a connection, or use the money saved to explore the British capital for a couple of days before heading on.
Likewise, starting out from a different location could net you savings, and the experts at Going previously revealed New York JFK, Newark and Chicago as the top three US airports most likely to offer deals on international flights.
If you don’t mind hanging out at airports, it might be worth altering your travel search to include layovers too.
Data from Google Flights found that adding a layover to your flight itinerary can save an average of 20 per cent.
Streamline your packing to avoid luggage fees
An increasing number of airlines are implementing checked baggage fees for long haul journeys.
Where as in the past it was a given that tickets from the US to Europe would include at least one checked bag, now many basic fares only come with an item of carry on.
To avoid paying extra for luggage, try and keep your packing to a minimum.
If you can, try and wear bulkier items to the airport and if you are traveling with friends, family or colleagues see if items can be distributed among the group.
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