How I flew to Europe 3 times in 1 year (and never paid more than $200)
In 2017 I was lucky to be able to fly to Europe on 3 separate occasions, using a number of different strategies I kept every single one of those trips under $200 round trip which is a number I am insanely proud of given that I have to deal with flying from Salt Lake City which isn't exactly a hub for international flights.
Trip #1 Amsterdam
I took this trip to go visit a friend who was studying in the Netherlands. By using deal websites I was able to grab an amazing $380 flight to Amsterdam out of Salt Lake City several months in advance. On my way home from the Netherlands, my flight was delayed by 3 hours which allowed me to claim EU compensation. Because the details of my flight were a bit complicated and I didn't want to have to worry about corresponding with the airline, I opted to use refund me which makes your claim on your behalf and then takes a portion of what you are awarded. They handled everything for me and I ended up receiving $245 back making the total for my flights to the Netherlands $135.
Trip #2 Dublin
Crazy enough, this opportunity came up just days after coming home from Amsterdam. We saw a crazy deal come up for one-way flights to Dublin for $59 on a budget airline so we decided to just jump on it even if it meant leaving in just 2 days. We employed 3 strategies here to make our total round trip cost under $200 per person. 1. This deal was only out of San Francisco, so we used points to get to SFO and flew from there. 2. We booked our return flight on the Irish version of the website instead of the US version. Turns out they were running a similar sale on the Irish website so our return flight was only $80 instead of $200 on the US website. 3. We only took a personal item and we didn't select seats to avoid extra fees. We had a pretty empty flight so we could put our luggage overhead anyways and we brought our own snacks so we were covered there. We did splurge on the long haul flight home and paid $50 each for extra legroom.
Trip #3 Venice
In October my mom and I went on an incredible Mediterranean cruise. Our cruise started and ended in Venice so to get there I used 90,000 United Miles per person which we got from credit card sign-on bonuses for the United Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve. This was enough for both of us to fly round trip (one way in business class)! In the end, I only needed to pay taxes which was about $80 per person.
While flights to Europe (especially from small cities) can be expensive, cheap flights aren't out of reach if you think creatively, keep yourself flexible, and know your rights when it comes to compensation. Airline miles can be an awesome tool for getting yourself there even if you don't have enough to get all the way to Europe, you can use them to get to a bigger hub.
Tell me about your killer flight deals in the comments below! How do you keep your flights cheap?