If you want to travel around Europe on a (tiny) budget, I’ve got a game-changing travel-hack that you’ll love!
I’ve been spending a bit of time playing around with multi-city flights lately and have found a way to find and book ridiculously cheap flights around Europe, without having to spend an eternity doing research.
If, like me, you’ve often dreamed of turning up at an airport with your passport and just saying: ‘Where’s the cheapest place I can fly to today?’, this is for you!
Let me explain…
As long as you’re adventurous and not too picky about the exact cities you want to visit, you can stop off in up to five European cities for an unbelievably small amount of cash. I recently found a five-flight European itinerary for €42! It almost costs that much to ride a taxi in most European cities!
Why You Should Book Multi-City Flights
I’ll set the scene…
Imagine you live or are travelling in Europe and you decide that you want to see more of the neighbouring countries/cities. Most of us would go straight to a budget airline website, type in the cities we’d like to see and then pick the cheapest flights available.
But, and it’s a big BUT, you can save a fortune if you are willing to be flexible about which cities you fly into.
For example, and this is completely true, I live in Barcelona and would like to see a little bit more of Germany and Italy. If I am flexible and open-minded about which cities I want to fly into, I can fly to the countries I am interested in for much less money.
Instead of thinking: “I’d like to fly from Barcelona to Rome and Berlin.”
I think: “I’d like flights to and from the cheapest combination of airports from Barcelona to Italy and Germany.”
Or for even cheaper flight (the cheapest possible, actually), I think: “I want to fly on this date and I don’t care where!”
Trust me, thinking like this will save you an obscene amount of money. And more importantly, it’s more fun! Travel is supposed to be an adventure, after all!
Where and How to Get Cheap Multi-City Flights in Europe
Most of the big flight booking engines will have an option to book multi-city flights, but because it’s not necessarily in their interest to show you the very cheapest routes (remember that they make a lot of money because they know most people aren’t that adventurous and will pay more to fly from a specific airport to another specific airport), they don’t typically have a specific function to allow you to search the cheapest “country-specific flights” (as opposed to city-specific flights).
In a nutshell: most flight booking search engines only show you the cheapest flights from your city of choice to another city of your choice, but not necessarily from your starting destination to ‘anywhere’. Traditional flight search engines also don’t show you the cheapest flights to multiple countries or the cheapest multi-destination combinations.
The tech start-up world and level playing field that is the Internet has seen a new breed of flight booking platforms. One great little example — which I like because it’s so incredibly simple to use to find bargain multi-city flights — is jetLookup.com.
It’s a small company based in London that specialises in suggesting cities that you can fly super-duper cheaply to based on your budget and the date you can fly, as opposed to you putting in a specific city.
The way it works in two simple steps
Step 1. The Basic, Ultra-Adventurous Way
You put in your starting point, the date that you’d like to begin your trip and the number of destinations you’d like to visit — the minimum is one destination and the maximum is five destinations.
This is where you needing to be flexible comes in, as the results will give you a couple of hundred suggestions — it will basically show you the cheapest destinations you could fly to the date you want to fly. It could be in France, Italy, Romania — anywhere at all in Europe. How exciting!
As you can see below, my basic search has suggested 362 possible flights that I could take on the 9th of February (my birthday), the cheapest being a 10-day trip that would take me to Beauvais (France), Bergamo (Italy) and Cologne (Germany), which is pretty much my ideal itinerary all for a total of €38!
Step 2. The More Refined Option
If you’re not happy with the destinations it suggests or the trip length, you can start to refine your search by editing the “Days at Destination” section and selecting countries that you’d like to see.
If you have tiny travel budget but a HUGE appetite for travel and are not too fussy about which cities you fly into, you’d be crazy not to take a look at one of these multi-city flight search engines. Hopefully there will be many more cool little companies like jetLookup.com popping up in the future.
Have a play around and please leave a comment below to tell me about your cheapest flights. Happy travels!