Europe Travel: Best Money-Saving Tips
When to Visit Europe
Timing is everything. Conventional wisdom has it that summer is the time to visit Europe; according to the Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, June and July are the peak months for U.S. travel there. Though those few extra rays are nice, the best values fall outside these heavily trafficked months. Airfares to Europe start to fall for departures in mid- to late August, just before the school year, and stay low through the end of March (except during the winter holidays and around spring-break time in the U.S.). Though room prices at big-city hotels tend to remain steady year-round, European resorts also have dramatic seasonal rate shifts. For example, at Adronis Luxury Suites, in Santorini, Greece, there’s a 7 percent difference between high- and shoulder-season rates. Shoulder-season travel also means fewer crowds and, more often than not, suitable weather. Spring means more frequent showers, but the flowers are in bloom in the English countryside. In August, temperatures in Paris soar to uncomfortable highs as residents exit en masse. But arrive in mild and sunny May, and you’ll have a greater chance of encountering locals, thanks to an outdoor-café scene in full swing. In some cases, even the off-season may be prime for visits: in Russia, cultural life is at its height in the winter.