For most people, the transatlantic flight is the most expensive part of a trip abroad. Unfortunately, there’s no magic fix. It’s always going to be expensive to get there. However, there are a few ways to cut costs, especially if you have some flexibility in your schedule. Here’s my top 10 list of ways to save money on flights.
- Go during the off-season: I realize this may not be feasible for teachers, students, people with kids in school, or anyone else who is dependent upon the school year in some way. However, most teachers and student get a break for Christmas from December to January, and this can be a wonderful time to visit! Otherwise, I’d recommend going in the fall (September-October) when the weather is still somewhat warm but the flights are much cheaper. Sometimes flights in August can cost almost twice as much as flights in September.
- Consider flying during the week. Flights are typically cheaper in the middle of the week. This may not be possible or practical, as most people usually try to squeeze as many weekends into a trip as possible. However, if you do have the flexible time, traveling on a Wednesday might save you a bit of money.
- Check out discount airlines such as Norwegian Air, Iceland Air, and WOW. These airlines are great for saving you a bit of money; however, they can get you with extra costs that are typically included in the cost of a ticket from other airlines. For example, you might have to pay to check a bag (even on an international flight), pick your seat, or have a meal on the flight. If these airlines don’t save you all that much money, I’d recommend going with one of the more mainstream airlines. It’s more convenient, and the price might be the same in the end. It’s definitely worth comparing prices, but do be aware of the downsides of these airlines.
- Search flights from nearby airports. Our closest airport is Hartford, but international flights from Hartford can be upwards of $500 more than flights out of Boston or New York. Even with parking or a train ride to Boston, we still typically save money. In fact, one time we even flew out of Montreal. Prior to the trip, we visited my dad, who lives in upstate New York and happened to be willing to drive us to the airport (thanks, Dad!). This saved us lots of money on parking and airport transportation: we parked at his place for free, and he drove us. Not to mention, we got to visit family on our way out of town. Google flights is a great resource when comparing flights from multiple destinations.
- Consider flying into another European city, then search discount airline tickets from that city. Sometimes you can find much cheaper flights to cities like Dublin or London. From there, you can sometimes find really cheap flights to Berlin or Frankfurt on discount sites like Ryan Air, Euro Wings, or Easy Jet. Keep in mind these discount airlines typically fly to airports that are slightly outside the city. Additionally, they don’t have too many flights per day (sometimes only one). But, if you’re interested in seeing another European city or country for a day or two, this option could save you money and allow you to see more than one place on your trip.
- Sign up for alerts to be notified when prices are low. If you’re at all interested in going to Germany and want to keep the flight prices low, I would highly recommend signing up for alerts or just searching flights every so often. We have decided pretty spontaneously to fly to Germany before, just because we found good prices on flights.
It’s important to remember that even with these tips and others, it’s still going to be expensive to fly overseas. However, every little bit of savings adds up, and there are so many ways to enjoy all Germany has to offer without breaking your bank!
Do you have any other tips on how to save money flights? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!