European journey is — by some metrics — greater this yr than it was pre-pandemic. Within the first six months of 2023, 43% extra People flew to Europe in comparison with the identical interval in 2022 and 4% greater than the identical interval in 2019. These figures come from the U.S. Division of Commerce’s Worldwide Commerce Administration, or ITA, information.

Whereas greater crowds typically imply increased costs, there’s one more reason why vacationers ought to brace for European journey to be costly this yr: inflation. Hovering inflation has, by some metrics, hit tougher in Europe than within the U.S.

The yearly price of inflation within the U.S. rose 3% in June 2023, in keeping with Might client value index information. However within the European Union, the annual inflation price rose 6.4% in June 2023, in keeping with Eurostat, the statistical workplace of the European Union.

So when you ought to count on European journey to be costly and crowded this yr, a number of methods could make a European trip extra reasonably priced.


Second cities are the lesser-known, less-populated areas round main cities. They will typically supply lighter crowds and decrease costs than the massive vacationer locations.

So far as European second cities (or third or fourth cities) go, you would possibly get pleasure from Austria’s second-largest metropolis by inhabitants, Graz, which is a couple of 2½-hour prepare experience from Vienna. Between the Graz Truffle Competition and the abundance of locations to get pleasure from Backhendl (Austrian fried rooster), it’s a foodie paradise. And with websites just like the Eggenberg Palace and the world’s largest historic armory, it’s a must-visit for historical past buffs.

In France, you would possibly skip Paris for the nation’s third-largest metropolis by inhabitants, Lyon, which has a beautiful historic district known as Vieux Lyon, in addition to spectacular Roman ruins which can be free to go to.


Shoulder season is the interval between the height season and the offseason. It typically has lighter crowds (and sometimes decrease costs) than peak season. Plus, there’s typically cooler climate and extra native issues to do.

The precise dates of off-peak versus peak seasons can differ by area, primarily based on elements like climate and vacationer points of interest. However in keeping with 2019 ITA information, throughout Europe, the 4 least busy months to fly have been November via February. The 4 busiest months in the identical yr have been Might, June, July and September. That leaves March, April and October as these shoulder season months — and probably one of the best months to journey to Europe.

However even in the event you can’t be versatile with which month you journey, typically adjusting your journey by a day or two may save lots of of {dollars} in airfare. Journey reserving instruments like Google Flights and Hopper supply date grids that present you the most cost effective airfare within the interval surrounding your meant journey date.


Even with the right flight itinerary, anticipate delays. 2023 has been brutal for European air journey, which has been met with the whole lot from laptop issues to ongoing airport employees strikes.

In case your European flight is delayed, you could be entitled to compensation. An EU regulation known as EU261 forces airways to compensate vacationers for many cancellations, denied boarding, or delays of two or extra hours on flights into, out of or throughout the EU.

So long as the flight wasn’t disrupted on account of circumstances which can be past human management — corresponding to climate — passengers are entitled to compensation between 250 euros (about $275) and 600 euros (about $660), relying on the size of the flight and delay.

The regulation is controversial, and a few specialists say the regulation hasn’t carried out something to really mitigate flight disruptions.

“Penalizing airways raises airline prices however doesn’t tackle delays brought on by elements over which airways don’t have any management, corresponding to inefficient air site visitors administration or staffing shortages at air navigation service suppliers,” learn a June 2023 assertion from airline lobbying group the Worldwide Air Transport Affiliation.

However no less than for passengers ready out a delayed flight, the compensation serves as a small comfort prize within the occasion of a disrupted European trip.


This text was offered to The Related Press by the non-public finance web site NerdWallet. Sally French is a author at NerdWallet. Electronic mail:


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