- Check multiple departure hubs. If you live in the Cincinnati region, for instance, don't just check the Cincinnati airport. Even though it's smaller, you might find cheaper rates if you fly out of Lexington, Kentucky.
However, when checking rates for other hubs, it's important to make sure that you factor in cost of gas, as well as possible cost of hotels, too, in case you need to spend the night there. If you're only looking at saving $50 or so, then driving 2 hours out of your way isn't going to be worth it.
- Check multiple destination hubs. If you are going to England, then don't just check rates to London. You should also try checking Manchester and Birmingham, too. On the other hand, if you are going to be spending your entire trip in London, then it might make more sense to fly into there, because the train fare from Manchester to London might not be worth the savings that you're making on your airline ticket.
- Use Europe's low-cost airlines to your advantage. There are some airports that are cheaper to fly into than others. Munich, Germany is known for having great rates. Zurich, Switzerland sometimes has good rates too. Even if you aren't visiting those destinations, you can sometimes fly into them and then use one of Europe's great low-cost airlines to get you to your final destination.
Some of Europe's smaller airlines like Ryanair, Easy Jet, and BMI Baby have airfares that are less than $20 each way, believe it in or not. They even run specials that will allow you to fly for free-you just have to pay the taxes.
- Fly in the off season. Flying before June 1st in the summertime, just about any time in January, February, and early March, and a few weeks before Christmas will show you lower airfares then if you wait and try to fly when everyone else does.
- Play around with multiple destinations. Most of the major travel booking websites have functions that will allow you to search multiple destinations at the same time. Try flying into London and out of Paris. You might be surprised at how much cheaper the airline tickets are. It can also save you transportation costs to get back to London, especially if you are visiting more than one country.
- Use discounts. If you are a student or a senior citizen then airfares are usually cheaper. There are some great websites, such as Council Travel and STA Travel that offer student airfares. These can be significantly cheaper and don't have the restrictions that other airfares might have.
- Check multiple dates. Some airlines will allow you to search within 1-3 days or your departure dates. You might be surprised at how much money changing your departure from a Sunday to a Monday can save you.
- Search multiple websites at once. Websites like Kayak and Sidestep will actually search Expedia, Travelocity, and other websites all at the same time. Although you might not find a huge discrepancy in price, it might be enough to warrant taking a look.
- Look at the airline's website. Once you find a flight that you like on one of the search engines' sites, then try looking up at that same flight on the airline's own webpage. Sometimes, the airline will offer discounts that can only be found on their site.
- Use an auction site. When all else fails, then you can always try an auction site like Priceline. It can be tricky to get an airline to accept your bid, but it could save you $100 or more in the long run.
Finding discount airfare to Europe is possible. It just takes a little work and effort.