These days we all want to travel Europe on a cheap budget.
Budget and discount airlines have popped up in almost every European country over the past few years – all fighting furiously with each other to offer the best value cheap airfare deals. But are we really taking advantage of these discounted European travel prices, or do the disadvantages of trying to travel Europe cheaply outweigh the advantages? Are the budget low price expenses blinding us to the extra hassle the cheap price hides? Let’s take a look at some current cheap European travel deals and see what we can find.
Almost every European country now has at least one simple budget airline. Easy Jet and Ryan Air are well known and becoming popular in Great Britain and Ireland. There are four or five low-cost airlines and cheap airfare specialists in Germany. Meanwhile, in Sweden, SAS launched its own budget plan called Snowflake.
At first glance, the fees charged by these airlines may seem ridiculously low; Ryan Air has given its flights almost free in the past – you still have to pay the airport tax, which is around 20 GBP. But where is the catch? Is there a catch? Can you really travel Europe by air without spending a fortune?
If you want to travel Europe on a cheap budget, here is the opportunity:
First, low fare airlines in Europe almost always use extra-urban airports – usually about forty or fifty miles from their respective city centres. This can add up to two hours of travel time at either end to your journey. In addition, you have to pay for the bus or train connection to go from the airport to the city center. When comparing the prices between cheap airfares and the prices applied by the main airlines, make sure to add this price to the cost of your ticket. In most cases, major airlines fly you to the airport in the city centre, thus reducing your travel time and any extra transportation costs.
If you’re unlucky enough to miss a flight, you could literally be stranded overnight in a rural airport with all food outlets closed and no way to get back to or from the city.
Second, you only get what you pay for. European budget airlines cannot offer in-flight services for food and beverages. Or if they do, they charge you a high fee for it. Coffee, sandwiches and beer can be really expensive. To be fair, most flights only take an hour or two, so snacks and drinks may not be a big deal.
Third – calculate the total travel time and compare it with the costs. For example: It takes five hours to travel from the very center of Glasgow in Scotland to the very center of London by train and costs about twenty-five British pounds each way.
Now – you can get a cheap flight from Glasgow to London, but find that both of your airports are forty miles from the city centre. This immediately adds three hours to your travel time, not counting airport waiting, baggage handling and all the extra hassle that comes with it. You will also have to pay separately for the bus or train journey from the airport to the city center or city center. Unless your price is extremely cheap, you can spend more money in the long run for a less comfortable trip. If possible, check them all carefully beforehand.
Fourth, the discounted airfares are for APEX passengers only. If you need to change your flight time, you may have to pay a lot. Cheap fare deals are also usually only available if you buy in advance – buying the day before or the day before will add a huge premium to the price. Baggage allowance is also average – usually no more than 15kg or 20kg per person. Any more than that and you will face a very high premium on your cheap ticket.
In a nutshell – you can travel Europe cheaply by choosing your discount airline package carefully. But try to weigh all the extra hidden costs when comparing airfare prices. You should also factor in the extra travel time that arriving at a state airport can entail.