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We all want to travel Europe on a cheap budget these days.
Budget and discount price airlines have sprung up in almost every European
country in the last few years all of them fighting furiously with
each other to offer the best value cheap airfare deals. But do we really
benefit from these discount European travel prices or do the drawbacks of
trying to travel Europe cheaply outweigh the advantages? Do the budget low
price airfares blind us to the extra hassle that the cheap price might be
hiding? Lets look at some current cheap European travel deals and see what
Almost every European country now has at least one no frills budget airline.
Easy Jet and Ryan Air are becoming well known and popular in Great Britain
and in Ireland. Germany has four or five low cost airlines and cheap airfare
specialists. Meanwhile, in Sweden, SAS have just launched their own budget
offshoot called Snowflake.
At first glance the fares that these airlines charge can seem ridiculously
low; Ryan Air have given their flights away almost for free in the past
although you still have to pay the airport tax of around twenty UK pounds.
But wheres the catch? Is there a catch? Can you really travel Europe
by air without spending a fortune?
Heres the deal if you want to travel Europe on a cheap budget:
Firstly, the low fares airlines in Europe nearly always use out of town
provincial airports often about forty or fifty miles from the respective
city centres. This can add up to two hours of travel time to your journey
at each end. You also have to pay for the bus or train connection to get
from your airport to the city centre. Make sure you add this price in to
the cost of your ticket when comparing prices between cheap airfare deals
and the prices charged by the mainstream airlines. In most cases the main
airlines fly you into the city centre airport and thus cut your travel time
and the cost of any extra transport.
If youre unlucky enough to miss a flight then you could literally be
stuck in a very rural airport overnight with all the food outlets closed
down and no way to get back to the town or the city.
Secondly, you only get what you pay for. The European budget airlines may
offer no in-flight service for food and drinks. Or, if they do, they will
charge you for it at a premium rate. Coffee, sandwiches and beer may be very
pricey indeed. To be fair, many of the flights are only of an hour or twos
duration so snacks and drinks may not be such a big deal.
Thirdly figure out the total travel time and compare that to the costs.
For example: it takes five hours to go from the very centre of Glasgow in
Scotland to the very centre of London by train and it costs around twenty
five UK pounds each way.
Now you might pick up a cheap flight from Glasgow to London, only
to find that both of your airports are forty miles from the city centre.
That immediately adds three hours to your travel time, not counting the waiting
around at the airports, baggage handling and all the extra hassle that goes
with it. You will also have to pay separately for the bus or train journey
from airport to city centre and vice versa. Unless your airfare is extremely
cheap you might well spend more money in the long run for a less comfortable
journey. Check it all out carefully in advance if you can.
Fourthly, the quoted cheap airfare ticket prices are only for APEX travellers.
You might have to pay a lot extra if you need to change your flight time.
Cheap airfare prices are also usually only available if you buy well in advance
buying the day before or on the day will add a big premium to the
price. The baggage allowance is also on the mean side often no more
than 15kg or 20kg per person. Any more than that and you will face a very
hefty premium on your cheap price ticket.
In summary you can travel Europe cheaply by choosing your discount
airline package carefully. But do try to weigh up all the extra hidden costs
as you compare flight ticket prices. You should also factor in the extra
travel time that arriving at a provincial airport may bring.
Please remember: Dont get too hung up on it all!
Travel in Europe is fun however you do it.
Gary Hill is a travel writer based near Edinburgh and Scotland. He travels
widely in Europe and can give great advice and tips on European travel. You
can read much more about how to
cheaply on Garys website. Youll find more detail about the discount
airfare packages available and about the routes that the various budget airlines
fly. Travel in Europe can be great fun but it helps to get good quality advice
before you go.
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