Here’s the cheapest way to get to Europe from the USA. We’ve used this hack since we started traveling and it will save you thousands on your flights from the USA to Europe, which is a huge deal for us since we live in Europe now.
Where is Cheapest to Fly to Europe from the US?
Usually, the cheapest airport to fly to Europe from the US is Paris or London (which nobody is complaining about, especially since we found the cheapest and best crepes ever!).
But the cheapest airport to fly into isn’t always Paris which is why the process below is so important.
The cheapest airports in the US to fly out of are Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. If you’re close to one of those airports, you might want to fly out of there instead.
It’s much more expensive to fly around the US than it is in Europe, so waiting for a flight deal that leaves from the nearest international airport is probably better than trying to fly to one of the airports listed above.
Find the Cheapest Airport to Fly into Using Skyscanner
Use Skyscanner, type in your home airport (make sure to mark that you’d like to compare with nearby airports as well, Check the box that says “Add nearby departure airports.”)
Obviously, it’s going to be much cheaper to fly from a big city in the United States, since they tend to have cheap flights and more direct flights.
However, that’s why you need to compare the fares between leaving from different airports near you as well as at your destination.
The reason I choose to use Skyscanner instead of Google Flights is that sometimes Google Flights doesn’t include budget airlines and low-cost carriers. So although there are some flight deals, they might miss some of the best ones.
Get out a pen and paper (or use google docs) to keep track of the different prices so you don’t have to repeat the same searches again. Then, start researching by typing in “Everywhere”
The most important thing after the cheapest location is to find the cheapest dates. Instead of typing in specific dates, click on the tab that says “Whole Month.”
If you have a specific month you have to travel, click on that month. However, if you’re open to being more flexible, then click on Cheapest Month. Repeat this step for the Return Dates.
Once you search, a list of destinations should pop up with the price of the flight. Keep scrolling until you see the first European destination.
In this case, the cheapest flight is to Vienna, Austria for $273 in November.
Now, what if you don’t want to go to Vienna? Or maybe your dream trip to Europe is actually Paris or Barcelona. That’s perfectly fine!
That’s where this hack helps the most. My main point is that Europe is nothing like the USA. Travel within Europe is extremely cheap, it’s only the trip there that is going to cost an arm and a leg.
So my tip is this: buy the ticket to Vienna. Or wherever the very cheapest place is. Get to Europe first, and then you can get anywhere once you’re there for just a fraction of the price.
But right before you do that, let’s make sure that the second half of this hack will work for you.
So your first check and find out that Vienna is the cheapest as we saw above. Next, how can you get from Vienna to your dream location in Europe?
For this example, we’ll use Rome. So you need to get from Vienna to Rome as cheaply as possible. 9/10 the cheapest way to do this will be by bus. And the cheapest buses are almost ALWAYS Flixbus.
That’s right, it’s not the Eurail, in fact, I usually call the Eurail pass our $1000 Europe Mistake.
The cheapest date to Vienna was November 6th. Assuming that you’d want to leave immediately instead of staying to see Vienna, the night bus from Vienna to Rome takes 18 hours and costs only $45 per person.
Before you think that spending time on the bus would be a waste of a day in Europe, think about the extra money that you are saving by traveling this way! You can afford an extra day or two now to make up for the travel days.
Or by traveling during the night, you can save yourself a night in a hotel! Plus, some of the best European views I’ve ever seen have been from the window of a Flixbus!
Compare Flixbus with Omio
If you’d like to compare trains, flights, and buses to see the difference in price and how long the trip will take, you can compare using Omio.
This is why it’s so important to check Flixbus AND Omio! As I’m writing this after years of traveling in Europe and now living here, I’m still shocked that there are flights AND trains even cheaper than taking a bus.
That’s not always the case and it depends on your destination, time of year, and how close to the dates you are planning your trip.
But following these three steps will ensure that you can travel to Europe for hundreds of dollars less per person than if you just booked directly.
This also comes with the bonus of possibly falling in love with a destination that you never planned on going to! Maybe the cheapest flight to Europe on Skyscanner is to Germany or the UK.
Now each trip can really be an adventure because you are more open to new places!
The Foolproof Process to Saving on Flights to Europe
So just to summarize:
- Find Cheapest Destination & Dates on Skyscanner
- Get from that Destination to your Dream Destination: Compare Bus Prices on Flixbus
- Buy Cheapest Flight from the USA to Europe
- Buy Cheapest Route from that Destination to Your Destination
Roundtrip or one-way?
The last thing you need to decide before buying your tickets is whether you want to fly out of the same airport that you flew into.
You can either start your trip in Vienna, head to your planned destinations, and then head back or you can repeat this process in reverse to find the cheapest destination to fly back to the US from in Europe.
You could use these steps to compare the price of flying back to the USA from Rome or if the transportation costs and the flight from Vienna would cost less.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could do the process backward and find the cheapest destination and then make your way from Vienna to whatever the cheapest destination is!
So don’t believe the lie that a trip to Europe is a once-in-a-lifetime thing since it’s so expensive. Get a little creative and follow these steps and you’ll save thousands on your flights to Europe!
And if you want to know how we managed to travel Europe for under $35 a day per person, check out my ebook!
Don’t forget to pin this to help you book the cheapest flights to Europe!
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Dayna Brockbank is a travel and language-learning blogger who has lived around the world but has now settled in Nice, France. She speaks 3 languages at varying levels of fluency: Spanish, Italian, and French, and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Spanish Education. She and her husband focus on making travel part of life by living cheaply and traveling on a budget.