Q: Is there such a thing as an affordable European flight this summer? If so, how can I find one? —Catherine Mills, Westport, Conn.
A: Remember when flying to Europe was, at most, a $600 commitment? These days, that’s often just the baseline cost of a transatlantic ticket. According to Rick Seaney, cofounder and CEO of Farecompare, the average airfare to Europe includes about $450 in surcharges (including fuel) and $160 in taxes and fees. Tack on what the carrier itself charges, and it’s no wonder you can find yourself paying more than $1,000 for an economy-class ticket. But you can still fly for less. You just need to know the tricks.
Pay attention to shoulder seasons. Summer flights, hands down, are the most expensive. But if you look around the edges of summer—early June; the last week of August—you’ll find better fares. They’re even more affordable in early May and mid-October. Of course, winter fares are still lowest, and they stay that way from mid-November until mid-March (excluding the winter holidays).
Book now on Vacationist, and you can stay in some of your favorite hotels and resorts for up to 50% off.
Sale ends in 3 days!
Hotel Breakwater South Beach - up to 29% Miami Beach, Florida A Miami Beach icon since 1936, the Hotel Breakwater South Beach, on Ocean Drive, mixes Art Deco pedigree with newly revitalized interiors.
La Valencia - up to 41% off La Jolla, California With its blend of Hollywood history and jaw-dropping views, La Valencia embodies the old-school elegance of La Jolla, San Diego's tony enclave tucked against a cove.
St. James's Club Resort & Villas - up to 41% off St John's, Antigua and Barbuda Its endless activities menu, all-day kid's club, and close proximity to Antigua's airport make St. James's Club an ideal family-friendly Caribbean resort.
There’s no shame in admitting this: I’m a compulsive bargain hunter—never satisfied with paying full price without doing some browsing for a good deal. But I suspect many of us fall under the same umbrella, especially when it comes to airfare. Enter Pintrips, a new tool that helps you look at flight options side-by-side, monitoring them in real time for fluctuations in price. Unlike online booking sites, which let you sort by cost, Pintrips aggregates data to show you when your favorite itineraries—those “pinned” to your dashboard—drop or increase in price, and by how much, offering insight on the right moment to book. Plus, the tool lets you share itineraries with anyone you’d like (my husband and I are simultaneously keeping an eye on flights to Cape Town), and you can manage multiple trips at once, each neatly packaged in its own folder and with its own sharing preferences. The best part: It's free to use. (Though you wouldn't expect otherwise from a site that's all about saving, would you?)
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Is there anything better than spending $500 dollars a day to be clocked in the face by a miniature ski boot? Ah, yes, I'm talking about the joys of a family ski trip. (My back is still killing me from last month's adventure with my sons.) But truth be told, the physical suffering is well worth the ear-to-ear grins. What really gets me is how much I have to shell out for the pleasure. So last weekend, I decided to do some digging for deals. I'm not talking about the "Ski 7 days and get a free hot chocolate" variety. I was in search of some real money savers—and I found them. My three favorites, below:
• It turns out that if you stay at one of Keystone Colorado's mountain resorts, your kid can ski/board for free for the entire season, with no blackout dates. There's no fine print here. Trust me. I triple checked. Even better, you don't have to stay in some hole-in-the-wall condo 20 miles from the slopes. The accommodations are pretty luxe.
In honor of Valentine's Day, Vacationist, T+L's flash-sale site, is offering an extra 10% off all travel deals, starting at 6 a.m. PST to 12 midnight PST. Where to whisk away your plus one? Choose from the following hotels, or go to Vacationist for more:
Book now on Vacationist, and you can stay in some of your favorite hotels and resorts for up to 40% off.
SALE ENDS IN 2 DAYS!
St. Giles Hotel - The Court - up to 31% off - New York, New York This Manhattan hotel has a prime location: it's close to Grand Central Terminal, the Theater District, and Fifth Avenue shopping.
Meadowood Napa Valley - up to 29% off - Napa Valley, California A foodie-focused Napa Valley resort that's set among 250 lushly wooded acres in a small, private valley.
Rendezvous - up to 53% off - Castries, Saint Lucia This boutique all-inclusive on Saint Lucia's Malabar Beach delivers honeymoon-worthy vacations or just a quiet escape.
SALE ENDS IN 3 DAYS!
Zannos Melathron - up to 63% off - Santorini, Greece It's an unbeatable combination: Relais & Châteaux's ace service, a medieval castle-like construction, and stunning views of Santorini's legendary sunsets.
Whether you want to ski or swim, we have some fun and affordable ideas for your getaway this season.
Caribbean Beach: Martinique Stay:Plein Soleil Located 25 minutes from the airport, this chic collection of airy villas faces Thalemont Bay; the pool overlooks the inlet, too. The pretty, soft-white bedrooms here have linen-draped chaise lounges and Koi fish live in the ponds on the terrace. Dine at the open-air restaurant for spicy crab farci and local fruits marinated in mint. American Airlines offers connecting service through San Juan, Puerto Rico from many U.S. gateways. Doubles from $219/night.
Am I the only one who hears Donovan and remembers that scene in Goodfellas everytime I see Atlantis mentioned?
Okay, ridiculous confession aside, there’s good news for families looking for getaway ideas. (And really good news: this one doesn't involve Joe Pesci.) JetBlue is briefly offering a big deal: book at minimum 3-night vacation to Atlantis in the Bahamas, and your kids fly free, stay free, and eat free. Book before midnight Sunday (January 20) for travel before March 7.
There are some restrictions, natch: one kid per paying adult; blackout dates from February 13-26; maximum 2 adults and 2 kids per room; etc. But you KNOW how much it costs to fly the whole family anywhere—the airfare alone represents a big savings.
Stylish? Yes. Expensive? No. These four island finds have charm to spare.
Harbour Island, Bahamas Ocean View Club: The eclectic nine-room inn faces a beautiful pink-sand beach. Inside, there are colorful paintings by Bahamian folk artist Amos Ferguson and breezy rooms with whimsical touches (trumpet lamps; polka-dot couches). $$
Martinique Plein Soleil(pictured): The accent is on Creole French in this tasteful collection of villas facing Thalemont Bay. An open-air restaurant serves spicy crab farci and local fruits marinated in mint; the 16 soft-white bedrooms have linen-draped chaise longues worthy of Empress Josephine, Napoleon’s wife—and a Martinique native. $$