How I fly round-trip to Europe for under $600
Updated: May 18, 2021
Save money on your flights, and let them guide your journey!
With the exception of 2020 (for obvious reasons), I travel to Europe every autumn. I know that sounds bougie and privileged - and it is to a certain extent - but I find ways to make my trips more "economically attractive" - starting at my flights!
How do I book round-trip flights to Europe for under $600? By buying one-way tickets. Hear me out: if you look up a round-trip flight from Portland to Paris in peak tourist season (summer), prices usually range on average $1.4k. But try a one-way from PDX to New York City in early October? $129. New York City to Paris? $160. That's a combined $289 each way! Now, this technique works well if you actually WANT to visit NYC (as I do), before hopping the pond. I work subway fare, lodging, and dining costs in the city into my overall travel budget, and normally stay in the city for a few days before catching my flight into Europe. This also helps significantly with jet lag, so by the time I get to my final destination in Europe, the time difference doesn’t wreck me.
The key to this trick is flexibility. I find that the majority of inexpensive flights into and out of Europe are between NYC and Paris, Rome, or Frankfurt. If you're down to bop around and see corners of the EU you might not normally go to, try this technique! Once in Europe, flights between countries are very inexpensive (€10-50), so if you fly into Paris and book a return flight through Rome, you'll be able to fly to Italy easily.
Additionally, many people have domestic airline mileage/points that can be used on some of the flights. If you have the points, use them! I'm low-key obsessed with the Alaska Airlines VISA Credit Card, which earns me enough points that I basically never pay for my domestic flights. If you’re interested in applying, let me know and I can refer you.
Additionally, I recommend subscribing to Scott’s Cheap Flights, which will alert you to good deals. Google Flights is your best friend. Get to know her. Love her. Set up Google Flight price alerts (see helpful guide here).
Now get to planning! Shoot me a DM if you have questions. I'm here to help.
*COVID-19 travel laws vary from country to country, so make sure to do your research about vaccine requirements and testing*