A Guide to Budget Flight to Europe

The ease of finding cheap flights in Europe has upended everything about how we plan our travels there. When I started traveling, no one spending their own money bought one-way airline tickets within Europe. It simply wasn’t affordable. But today that kind of thinking is so 20th century. Before purchasing any long-distance train or bus ticket, it’s smart to check the cost of a flight first — you might be surprised.

The proliferation of extremely competitive discount carriers has revolutionized European-itinerary planning and turned vagabonds into jet setters. You can hop just about anywhere on the Continent for less than $250 a flight, making deciding where to go mostly just a question of following your travel dreams: You’re no longer limited to places within a convenient train ride (or reasonable drive) from each other (though those are still perfectly fine ways to travel — it’s smart to run through all of your options). It’s now entirely feasible to lace together a far-flung trip from Ireland to Portugal to Sicily, if you please.

Research Airline Hubs

There are loads of budget airlines that fly almost everywhere, like Finnair, Ryanair, and EasyJet.

All European flights can only be booked online, so if you have specific destinations in mind, get familiar with which airlines fly where in advance. For example, Aegean Air may offer the cheapest flights to Greece, and Norwegian Air likely offers the cheapest flights to destinations in Scandinavia.

This low-cost European carrier webpage is an excellent resource for researching budget airlines and the destinations they service. Click an airline, and it will give you info on major hubs and the upside and downside of each carrier.