Planning a month-long European getaway?? Or maybe you just wish to escape to the Mediterranean for the weekend?? Traditional wisdom suggests a backpack and a map of Europe?s rail system are the tools you would need.? However, 21st century European travel is one of open borders and no-frills budget airlines that can often get you point-to-point within Europe quicker and cheaper than railroads.? Modera explores the many airline options available, regional carriers, and some of the pitfalls to be aware of.

Traveling With The ?Big Boys?

Two of the most well-known bargain air carriers are Dublin-based Ryanair and London-based easyJet.? Both Ryanair and easyJet offer low fares to most major destinations in Europe.? Ryanair has superior coverage in Eastern Europe with flights to Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland.? easyJet has superior coverage compared to Ryanair with regards to Turkey, the Holy Land, Mediterranean resort cities, and Egypt.? Both carriers now offer services into the Canary Islands as well as the resort cities in Morocco.? In a quick look at fares, Ryanair offered flights from London-Stansted to many European destinations from as low as ?25 each way.? easyJet?s fares were a bit more but still under ?65 in one direction.

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Regional Options vs. the Train

While Ryanair and easyJet will get you to just about any popular destination within Europe and have several hubs to choose from, trains may be the superior option if your travel is just within a country or region.? One of the main reasons for this is that trains benefit from having stations right in the city centers whereas airports generally exists in further away outlying areas.? Still, smaller carriers that specialize in regional flights may compare to railroad options.

Some Regional Travel Options:

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Travel Pitfalls and Considerations

Flights from ?25 each way! ?While the prices are genuine, avoid common pitfalls such as nonrefundable fares, lack of customer service, or hefty penalties for missing a flight.? Generally, checked bags cost extra and carry-on allowances are smaller than most other airlines.? Beware substantial charges for overweight bags ? as much as ?20 per kilogram!? Lastly, make sure to check exactly where you are flying to and from.? A shopping trip to Milan or a Tuscan wine getaway to Florence may seem a perfect choice for your holiday ? but flying Ryanair to these destinations actually means flying to Bergamo (Milan) and Pisa (Florence) which is fine considering the sufficient train or bus connections.? But a flight on Ryanair to Venice actually brings you to Treviso where connections are much more limited.? So check the fine print and check the map before you book.

Other helpful considerations:?

  • Compare bargain airlines versus major carriers
  • Compare versus the rail options ? a central train station?s convenience may be the best bet.
  • Use online flight search engines like Kayak and Skyscanner
  • Not sure who flies where?? Use Flycheapo to find out your options.

Bottom line ? low cost flight options do exist ? many come with restrictions.? But if you can make these flights work for you, the continent?s many treasures await.? Traveling around Europe?? What options have you found work best?

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