I know that we are in the middle of the holiday season and that might mean that you are not really in the trip-planning frame of mind. But, you should be! Also, why not do it while you are in family settings as you may be able to plan a family trip next year – to Europe! Here are 3 reasons to plan a trip to Europe now.
3 Reasons To Plan A Trip To Europe Now
1 – The Falling Euro
What is bad news for those who depend on the Euro as their currency is great news for those of us who receive our regular income in the form of dollars. After a couple of brief, small spikes over the last couple of months, the Euro is as low now as it has ever been – currently €1 = $1.057. That is an incredible conversion (for the dollar) and it means that your dollar will go much further in European nations that use the Euro than it used to.
This time last year, it was €1 = $1.25 so this is a significant change from then! Not only that, but the Euro just kept dropping after that. While there is no guarantee that it will not bounce back up before your trip commences, I think you should be pretty safe for the next couple/few months.
Tip: In case the prices do go up or you plan travel for the summer season, consider using prepay rates for accommodations now. While you may lose a bit if the prices drop even lower, you would be protected against any currency hike that may occur.
2 – Airline Off Peak Award Sales
Winter is the slow travel season for many European nations so that normally translates to lower airline prices already. But, when you also consider some airline off peak sales, you could do it with the miles you have and save on those as well.
American Airlines – 40,000 Miles Roundtrip
American Airlines is about to see the last year of their long-time, incredibly generous off peak award calendar. What used to stretch from October 15 – May 15 for off peak travel to Europe from the US (for only 40,000 miles roundtrip) will soon see just a few weeks from that period. So, this is a great time to plan to use this calendar for your travel timetable.
United Airlines – 45,000 Miles Roundtrip
United does not have an off peak chart but they do run sales from time to time that resemble off peak award charts. They have one going on now that is good to be booked through December 8. The lowest price – 45,000 miles roundtrip – is available for travel from Monday – Thursday and the other level – 51,000 miles roundtrip – is for travel between Fridays and Sundays. For more information about this sale, check this previous post.
Alaska Airlines – 40,000 Miles Roundtrip
While Alaska Airlines does not fly to Europe, they do let you use award miles to book travel on a host of partners. One of those partners is American Airlines. And they pass the off peak pricing down to you when booking awards. That means if you have Alaska miles, you could also book travel on American to Europe at the same 40,000 mile pricing.
3 – Slow Season
The final reason is that winter is the slower season for travel to many European countries. While that may sound bad at first, it can actually be really good! It means that you will have fewer crowds to fight through when trying to check out the local highlights and it also means that prices across the board will be lower (for things like hotels, rental vehicles, some restaurants, even guides). Also, some places can be even nicer and more bearable in the winter time!
If you want to book a hotel with cash instead of points, this is the time to do it. A lot of hotels run some really great price offers just to get some occupancy during these slower months. The cost of eating out can be substantially cheaper as well.
Check out this Hyatt sale for 30% off the daily rate at hotels around France on the weekends.
Connect With People & Culture
Another great part about the slow season is that it gives you more time to connect with the people and the culture. Since there are not droves of tourists, you can stop to talk with locals and get a better sense of their city and country. I have even been invited to people’s houses for meals before during this time of year! It is a nice way to get a connection with a place and learn about it without the pressure and hustle that tourist throngs can bring.
Travel is great and being able to do it in a way to save both money and miles/points can make it even better! Europe is a fascinating place to visit and the combo of the 3 things can help you out.
Make sure you plan a trip to Europe soon! The American Airlines award chart for off peak travel will be different next year and we don’t know what the Euro will look like next year. But, now we have these savings so start planning!