Getting to Europe on a Budget

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Just like for many of you out there, money can be an issue when planning your trip. We were fresh off first trip together in Utah when we started planning this trip in the wee hours of the morning in the Dallas airport. Europe for under $500/person round trip? This was possible! And possible in the very near future. But with a catch. As mentioned in the previous blog we were stuck on Iceland for several weeks. But, after deciding we wanted a more all encompassing experience we decided to put our dreams of Iceland on hold for now.

So what was the catch? Well, the trip was going to take place in the winter. Austria in February? No problem. That wasn’t the catch at all. See, we live in a town with a small airport that only flies to the regional hubs. The next closest airport is just a little bigger. And both of these airports are not cheap! There was no way we would get to Europe for under $500 from our neighborhood airports. So we broadened the search to include places like Washington, DC, Orlando, and Atlanta. These large east coast international airports would be the ticket to savings. We had narrowed are destinations to Central Europe. Places like Zurich, Munich, Prague, Vienna would lead us where our interests lied. If we wanted to save money-and lots of money-we couldn’t be picky and we would need to drive. We also knew this trip had to happen in the off-peak seasons. Summer airfare and hotel rates would be budget busters. Plus we wanted to avoid the crowds.

We found our savings flying from Orlando (we also wanted to avoid any northeast winter weather), nearly 8 hours from home, with a great fare to Zurich. I know this sounds like a pain. After calculating the fuel, parking and additional nights lodging in Orlando the saving were astronomical compared to flying from our home airport which is about 3 miles away. We saved about $600 per person using this method. Thru our research, places like Munich are Zurich were the least expensive European destinations at the time. A flexible schedule is a must to do it that way. It involved two extra days of travel. Two days that weren’t in Europe and 16 hours in a car. But the savings were worth it.

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We got on the plane in Orlando and went straight to Dublin. No layovers in the United States! Straight to Europe. After a stop in London, we were on our way to Zurich and the adventures were about to begin!

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