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Planning a Trip from DC to Anywhere in Europe (Budget Friendly)

Planning a Trip from DC to Anywhere in Europe (Budget Friendly)

Old Dec 14th, 2017, 12:58 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
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I haven't read through this thread so sorry if I repeat something already given. Skyscanner https://www.skyscanner.com/flights-t...ed-states.html
is good for searching for low priced flights. Momondo
https://www.momondo.com/trip-finder/
also show fares and refers you to OTAs who have the cheaper fares. Friends just booked $350 round trip on UA IAD to Paris. She used Skyscanner and than an OTA.
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Old Dec 14th, 2017, 01:34 PM
  #22  
 
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<FWIW, be careful when booking with any airline. United is now offering fares that are stripped as well.>

Very true! We booked one and were annoyed to discover no assigned seats. NBD on that trip, but lesson learned.
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Old Dec 15th, 2017, 09:29 AM
  #23  
 
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SW does not matter to the OP, but it might to others and to suggest SW runs a scam is not true. No matter where you look, even if they were on the same site, you cannot compare SW with WOW and Norwegian. It is apples to oranges.

WOW flies from the US to Europe. SW is a domestic airline. It does not fly to Europe.
Norwegian flies to a few Islands, Europe and other places from the US. SW does not fly to those same places.

SW flies all over the US and some places in the Caribbean.
WOW and Norwegian do not fly within the US or to any of the places SW flies.

SW rates are clearly posted, as are any restrictions. Their web site is straightforward and easy to use, day by day or month by month. It is also easy to see which days of the entire month are cheaper if you have a choice. All flights are priced individually by category, so easy to figure out total. Luggage included.

Some domestic airlines, you have to look carefully at add on for luggage. You have to search for the RT that meets your needs coming and going and it takes awhile. The low fare quotes on some of the web sites is for multi-stops and layovers, plus add on the luggage, etc. it is no longer cheap. Of course, the good thing is, if you don't check luggage, you are not paying for it.

I have traveled a good bit domestically the last two years and IME, SW from my city has been the lowest cost every single time, since it includes luggage. They also give you full credit for any flights you cancel, good for a year. I still check other airlines going the route I want, but usually find I might just as well have looked only at SW.
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Old Dec 15th, 2017, 10:09 AM
  #24  
 
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I like SW, too. I think Gardyloo's viewpoint is an outlier.
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Old Dec 15th, 2017, 10:56 AM
  #25  
 
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Not trying to pick a fight, and I probably shouldn't have used the word "scam," because obviously it's not. My view is that Southwest's marketing is masterful and has managed to convince many people that they're cheaper than other US airlines, and that things like free bags enhance the bargain. In reality, Southwest's prices are often NOT the cheapest on given routes and on given days, but because they only sell through their own site, customers are discouraged from doing the sort of price comparisons they can do on the likes of Expedia or Kayak.

Anyway, just my view. Of course Southwest (their symbol is WN, by the way, not SW) doesn't fly on intercontinental routes - yet, although they're expanding their network in North and Central America slowly.
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Old Dec 15th, 2017, 11:25 AM
  #26  
 
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< In reality, Southwest's prices are often NOT the cheapest on given routes and on given days,>
I agree 100%.

<customers are discouraged from doing the sort of price comparisons they can do on the likes of Expedia or Kayak. >
That may well be Southwest's goal, but I don't obey Comparison shopping airfares is essential!

We fly domestically 3-4 times a year. I always check SW. It's the cheapest about 30% of the time, in our experience.
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Old Dec 15th, 2017, 11:31 AM
  #27  
 
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Should have added, it obviously depends on where you're flying from and to.
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Old Dec 15th, 2017, 11:38 AM
  #28  
 
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limited on hours of daylight in March>

not that limited as there should be 12 hours of daylight in mid-March everywhere.
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Old Dec 15th, 2017, 11:39 AM
  #29  
 
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I think it might depend on where your local airport is. Can’t remember if gardyloo is pdx or sea like me- but I’m inclined to agree that southwest is never the cheapest. When you add in luggage, you might be talking about a savings of $10 which isn’t much, and doesn’t apply to me most of the time. Their sales are always deceptive too (again, out of sea). So scam isn’t the right word, but I agree about the marketing and comparison bits.
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Old Dec 15th, 2017, 11:55 AM
  #30  
 
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Air fare of course affects expenses but so do other factors - like where you go - northern Europe significantly more expensive that say Portugal or Greece or eastern Europe/Balkans. And accommodations - airbnbs can save tons over hotels. Food- self-catering places like airbnb and flats can save tons or having to eat at restaurants which in Europe are IME more expensive than here.

Cheap flight ain't everything, but a combination of several factors makes a trip more affordable or less.
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Old Dec 15th, 2017, 02:11 PM
  #31  
 
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Yes, and SW has been great when things happened. Their attitude and customer service has been outstanding. When I had to change flights for five people last year at the last minute. They worked it out, no change fees, no problem. When DH got sick and I cancelled the day before the flights, they gave me full credit towards future flights. They automatically gave me several hundred dollars when I volunteered to give my seat to a family who needed an extra one.
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Old Dec 16th, 2017, 03:12 PM
  #32  
 
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PalenQ's suggestion of using Airbnb is a good one, and let me take it one step further. Do research online and find small places that are both high on charm and that have inexpensive Airbnbs. As I recall, Reims, Modena and Padua might be examples. Padua is 30 minutes to Venice by train. Oh, and Haarlem is 15 minutes to Amsterdam. Etc.
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Old Dec 16th, 2017, 05:48 PM
  #33  
 
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PalenQ gets it right on many counts. We live in Europe and travel around a lot to many different destinations. I suppose peope would call us cheap travelers, but we manage to go all over and have a marvelous time and eat and drink and sleep well without busting a budget. We have senior discount cards on SNCF, frequent-user cards with the Accor hotels, and other perks. It's not hard to get low-cost accommodations in Europe.
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Old Dec 17th, 2017, 08:30 AM
  #34  
 
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Amsterdam is very festive from Dec 26 thru New Year's - one of busiest times of year there as folks come from all over Europe for some reason.
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Old Dec 17th, 2017, 08:31 AM
  #35  
 
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Before booking airbnbs in cities like Paris, Amsterdam, etc check on the legality of such places with local tourist offices - these places are cracking down on some that are illegal.
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Old Dec 19th, 2017, 06:50 AM
  #36  
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@PalenQ,

Regarding daylight that was regarding Scandinavia in particular Stockholm. I could be wrong by 12 hours of daylight in mid-March doesn't seem to align with my memory of trip to Stockholm in April of 2012.

I could be wrong.

This thread has been super helpful.

Thanks friends!
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Old Dec 19th, 2017, 07:15 AM
  #37  
 
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Stockholm in mid-April would have more hours of daylight than places farther south.
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 09:40 AM
  #38  
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Right, but what about March?
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 10:31 AM
  #39  
 
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http://jan.moesen.nu/daylight-calculator/

will help you compare daylengths for different cities for the same day. On March 15, day length in Nice is slightly longer than in Stockholm.
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 12:28 PM
  #40  
 
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slightly with a big S - March 21 or a day earlier or later sees everyplace on Earth have the exact same amount of daylight - that's why they call it the equinox. From then until June 21 or so days get longer the more north you go.
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