The Best Tips For Booking Flights To Europe For A Family

Going on a family adventure to Europe is an exciting idea, but the process of booking flights for your family can sometimes seem like an intimidating process. From balancing schedules to considering your budget as well as making sure everyone in the family enjoys the trip, there is so much to think about. In this article, we’ll share valuable tips and information that will make the process of booking flights to Europe for a family a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Whether you’re an experienced traveler or taking your family to Europe for the first time, these tips will help you handle the complexities of flight bookings and make sure that your family arrives ready to create unforgettable memories in Europe.

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BOOK IN ADVANCE

Last-minute flight deals are not what they used to be. Especially when you’re looking to purchase tickets for a whole family. I’ve found that it’s good to start looking for tickets up to 10 months in advance.

Be ready when that deal comes. Start tracking the flight prices so that you have an idea of what they look like and when you see a significant price drop, jump on it! Don’t worry about missing out on a lower price later.

Booking.com Search FlightsImage

The earlier you start, the more destinations you can track if you don’t have a particular destination in mind.

USE FARE COMPARISON SITES

Find out the prices of several airlines for your destination all in one location. Booking.com is a perfect way to compare flights and keep an eye out for deals to various locations.

Booking.com Search FlightsImage

This saves time and you can often find a great deal. Use the filters if you prefer a specific airline or want to fly at a certain time. I also like to start my search by sorting from the lowest prices to the highest prices.

FLEXIBLE DAYS AND DATES

Families have a smaller window to work with when it comes to traveling. But even then, you can be flexible with the dates you choose and the days that you choose to travel on.

Summer is the perfect time for a family vacation because the kids are out of school. Unfortunately, that’s the case for every family. One way to avoid the crowds is to travel to Europe in June. You get the great weather and avoid the worst of the crowds.

Have an idea of when you want to travel, but look for a few days before or after your target date. The price difference may be significant enough that if you multiply it by several people you’ll have good savings. Our family has saved hundreds of dollars this way.

SET PRICE ALERTS

If you want to make sure that you don’t miss out on a deal, you can set price alerts on Google Flights. It’s a great way to keep track of flight prices. If you have in mind when you want to travel and where you can look up that flight and choose the option to have email alerts sent to you when the price changes.

You can track one location with different dates or different locations for comparison. This is great for when you’re flexible on where you go, but are just looking for a great price. 

If you’re looking to score a deal don’t rely solely on the price alerts because sometimes the best deals are gone before you even get the alert. But it’s a nice tool to have.

CONSIDER NEARBY AIRPORTS

Sometimes the best airport to fly out of isn’t the one closest to you. This is particularly true if you don’t live near a major city or flight hub like New York, Boston, DC, Atlanta, etc.

Traveling a couple of hours to an airport may seem like a bit much until you consider how much you can save when traveling with your family. A small difference in price multiplies quickly when you spread it across an entire family.

We are fortunate that even though we live in Cleveland, we have family in Toronto. This means that for our trips to Europe, we can drive to Toronto, stay with family, and then fly out of Toronto.

On some trips, this has saved us up to $3,200 total for our family! This is a great time to use Booking.com so that you can compare prices if you fly out of different airports. In some cases, you’ll find that even if you have to drive and stay overnight in a different city, you’ll still come out ahead on price. 

CHECK AIRLINE’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Booking.com Google Flights and other sites that are useful for comparing flights are very useful. But sometimes they don’t have the best deals. Take the info that they give you and then go directly to the airline’s official sites to see the prices that they quote. It may be cheaper than what you see on the comparison sites.

CONSIDER BUDGET AIRLINES

More and more budget airlines are dipping their toe in the international flight game. Airlines such as WestJet and JetBlue offer flights to Europe at affordable prices.

If those options aren’t available, you can use a traditional carrier to get you to Europe, then a budget option like EasyJet or Ryanair to get you to your final destination.

Cities like London and Lisbon typically have good options since London is a prominent flight hub and Lisbon is one of the closest European capitals.

USE MAJOR FLIGHT HUBS

When you’re booking a flight don’t only focus on your final destination. Some major cities like London, Paris or Lisbon can have cheap flight options. Use that as a jumping-off point for your European adventure.

You can then book a cheap budget flight to where you ultimately want to go. I’ve booked very cheap one-way and round-trip flights to reach our ultimate destination in Europe. 

For example, if your destination is Rome, you book a round-trip flight to London through a major airline. Then book another round-trip flight with a budget airline to Rome to leave soon after your first flight arrives.

The second end of that budget flight would need to arrive earlier than your departure from your original flight to make it back home. With a little bit of work and searching around, playing with times and dates, this can work.

This same principle can be used with one-way flights. We used this on our last flight to Portugal and Spain.

We booked a round-trip flight from Toronto to Lisbon. Our first stop was Madrid, so we had a one-way from Lisbon to Madrid. We took another one-way from Madrid to Faro, Portugal. Then we drove from the Algarve to Lisbon where we took the second half of our original flight home.

BOOK OPEN JAW FLIGHTS

Open-jaw flights also known as multi-city flights can be very useful as well when you have multiple destinations in mind for your trip. An open-jaw flight is when you depart to go home from a different location that you originally arrived in.

For example, on our two-week trip to Europe, we booked our flight to arrive in London and depart from Rome. We then booked a cheap one-way flight with EasyJet to get from London to Rome.

Booking.com has that as one of the options when searching for your flight. The options are round trip, one-way, or multi-city. 

This is a great option when you want to use the train to get around in Europe, making that the way to connect from your arrival location to your departure location

LOYALTY PROGRAMS

Shopping around for the best deal can save you a significant amount of cash. But sticking with one service or airline has its benefits as well.

Racking up rewards points and other benefits can help you to finance your travels and since you’re traveling anyway, why not accumulate benefits while you do it? You’ll have to weigh whether you can get more benefits from loyalty programs or spotting an individual deal.

Credit cards also offer ways to accumulate points to apply to your travel purchases and can be a great way to save or even travel for free. Capital One, Chase, and American Express have stellar programs that are geared toward travelers with great benefits to take advantage of.

CHECK PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS

Making sure that you have passport and visa requirements in order will be the first thing that you should check before you travel. Flying from the United States or Canada to Europe is a pretty straightforward process and the requirements aren’t that strict.

But keep in mind that most countries require you to have up to 6 months of eligibility on your passport to visit. Also consider the requirements of countries that you plan to layover in on your way to your destination. Even though many countries are included in the European Union, not all of them are. Also, there are privileges/requirements for traveling to certain sections of Europe like the Schengen Zone.

ENJOY YOUR FLIGHT!

Booking your family’s flight to Europe doesn’t have to be stressful. By following these tips, you can plan your flight like a pro, save money, and make sure that your entire family has a wonderful experience. With careful planning and a little preparation, your family’s adventure to Europe can start with an enjoyable and exciting flight, paving the way for an amazing vacation filled with fun. 

Before you decide on where to go in Europe check out the 2-week itinerary that our family used for one of our trips to Europe as well as this super helpful packing list so that you’ll be sure to bring what you need.

Author

  • Jeremiah Pittmon

    Jeremiah Pittmon is a published travel writer and photographer from Cleveland, Ohio. Passionate about exploring the world with his family, he finds inspiration in all types of travel. Through his blog, smilesonarrival.com, and social media channels, he shares captivating experiences and valuable tips for families who love to travel.

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The Best Tips For Booking Flights To Europe For A Family
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