Europe is a bucket-list chart topper, to say the least. The romance, the food, the adventure, the culture - it's all simply intoxicating. Unfortunately for those of us ballin’ on a budget, visiting may seem like little more than a dream. What’s unfortunate that you’re missing out on a trip that may be way more accessible than you could have imagined.
Check out our breakdown of the cheapest airports to fly in/out of, and the most affordable places to crash - then put some of that paid time off to good use.
Describing Berlin as a hipster paradise is the understatement of the century. Old school European charm and trendy dining/nightlife options make this a high-energy, culturally stimulating destination that won’t come with overdraft fees. Centrally located Airbnbs check in at about $30 a night and hostels are even cheaper. Museums galore cater to any artistic and historical preference, while your student ID can get you in for a great discount, leaving some wiggle room for drinks and late night eats.
Prague, Czech Republic
Ornate architecture and cobblestone alleys mean this compact city requires comfortable shoes in place of UBER. Thankfully Kanye “dad shoes” are on trend, because photo ops are around every winding turn. Airbnb’s are a little pricier than in Berlin, but not having to pay for taxis makes this a nonissue. Definitely plan for a midday power nap because Prague is home to some of the coolest and oldest bars in Europe, not to mention they have the cheapest draught beer prices you’ll find.
How to Get There: Flights to Prague are a little more expensive, tending towards the $700-$800 range from most major airports. But you can opt to fly into Berlin and take the Eurorail into the city.
We’re all suckers for a city by the sea, and Dubrovnik’s weather-worn walls seem as if they’ve spent their whole lives patiently waiting to give you the experience of your dreams. Share in the stories of hundreds of years of lovers and adventurers that have walked the bright white limestone streets before you. This hotspot tourist destination goes wild in the summer, especially for the cruise crowd. Tourist prices can get a little high, but if you search for lodging outside the Old City, prices drop drastically.
*For more tips, check out our Dubrovnik Edition!
How to Get There: Another destination with flights trending upwards, Croatia is best approached by train. Fly into Zagreb from JFK or Chicago's O'Hare and catch two incredible Croatian cities in one fabulous trip.
Although it may not have made as many basic bucket lists as Paris or London, Brussels will make sure you return home with many definitely not pretentious stories about the local flavor that changed your life. Leonidas will become your new standard for chocolate and when you’re back home gazing at your neighborhood beer selection, you’ll feel pangs of nostalgia for local brew that changed your life. Don’t forget to post that arty photo taken in the iconic town square before your flight takes off.
Keep in Mind
Remember that depending on your location and the time of year you want to travel, you'll find better deals flying out of different airports. June and July are hot travel times, so expect flights and hotels to be a little pricier during those months. But tail-end travel in May and Austust/September could give you the trip of your dreams. If you have a flexible schedule and can score the right travel deal, you'll be ready to jet.
Another tip - a little road trip could cut your costs tremendously. And don't rule out a good old fashioned train ride to get you where you need to be.
Additional Cheap Flights to Check Out:
→ Stockholm: Flights into Sweden from sunny LA are a steal, dropping as low as $400 on some days.
→ London: Check out all three of London's airports (Gatwick, Luton and Stansted) for the best rate, then catch a budget connection or take the 3ish hour train ride to Paris to get your European highlights trip going.
→ Copenhagen: Pay attention to this one. Copenhagen is usually not considered budget-friendly from other airports. But if you can leave out of Chicago this is your chance to experience this unique city at a low cost.
→ Oslo: While Norway isn’t the most centrally located European destination, tickets are cheap for those travelers itching to dive deep into this beautiful country.
→ Paris: Is the city itself a tad more expensive? Yes but come on, it's Paris. You’ll be dropped in the heart of Europe and able to start backpacking or driving without any extra hassle. Flights out of JFK are incredibly well-priced, so you'll be walking along the Seine in no time.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Atlanta simply doesn’t have as many low-budget flights to Europe as other big cities. But if you’re located in the southeast check out...
→ Milan: Explore northern Italy with flights trending downwards, especially in August.