7 Affordable Places in Europe to Visit Right Now
Savvy travelers can enjoy wallet-friendly rates across the pond.
In light of Brexit, "you'll find the best value in cities that use the pound as their currency," one expert says.(Getty Images)
Following Britain's historic ruling to leave the European Union, Americans can now take advantage of the pound's plummeting value in the U.K. Though it's uncertain how long favorable exchange rates will last, right now, the dollar is going to go further in Britain and beyond, says George Hobica, president of booking site Airfarewatchdog.com. With the U.S. dollar equaling roughly 0.77 British pounds, Americans will find affordable hotels across the U.K., with pricing roughly "20 percent less than prior to the 'leave' vote," says Louise Hodges, Travelzoo's head of communications in Europe and global campaign coordinator. For this reason, U.S. News pinpointed places in the U.K. where you're likely to land a bargain in the wake of Brexit, along with other budget-friendly European locales.
There are excellent deals across the U.K., Hobica says, pointing to Edinburgh and Bristol, England as bargain destinations in the aftermath of Brexit. For the best rates, keep an eye out for flash sales, which come and go, but can yield rock-bottom flight pricing, he explains. Currently, Google Flights shows trips from District of Columbia airports to Edinburgh starting at $550 in September and round-trip flights from Boston's Logan International Airport starting at $480 in September.
In light of Brexit, "you'll find the best value in cities that use the pound as their currency," says Zach Honig, editor-in-chief of the points- and miles-advising site The Points Guy. With the pound falling to a 31-year low against the U.S. dollar, you can seize enticing travel deals. British Airways, for example, offered a flash sale following Brexit aimed at American visitors with round-trip flights from New York airports for $639. And currently, Google Flights shows round-trip tickets from New York City airports to London hubs starting at $726 in August; from Boston, round-trip flights to London start at $670 in August. What's more, Travelzoo lists a four-night London package valid from November to March of next year for $699 that includes lodging and airfare.
Flights to Europe this summer are exceedingly low, says Gary Leff, author of frequent flier site View From the Wing. Thanks to decreased fuel prices, low-fare competition among budget carriers and lowering of fares in order to fill planes, finding a deeply discounted flight ticket to Europe is a cinch, he explains. And with Google Flights showing routes from Boston's Logan International Airport to Reykjavik for as low as $320 in September and flights from New York City starting at $514 for the same period, it's easy to pull off an affordable trip. Plus, the advantageous rate of the U.S. dollar against the Icelandic krona makes it easy to trim costs once you arrive.
For rock-bottom rates, consider planning a trip to Croatia, where the U.S. dollar is strong against the Croatian kuna. According to Dr. Patrick Andrä, co-founder and CEO of vacation rental site HomeToGo, travelers itching to visit Europe should head to Eastern Europe for the best deals, thanks to current currency fluctuations. "A one-week vacation rental during the summer months for two to six people in Croatia will cost you on average $655 per week," he says, noting that on average, a vacation rental in the U.K. would cost $1,050 per week. What's more, Google Flights currently shows round-trip routes from Los Angeles International Airport to Dubrovnik starting at $1,066 in September and round-trip routes from Chicago airports for $955 during the same period.
In the City of Light, you can find some enticing deals thanks to growing competition from budget carriers, such as Wow Air and Norwegian Air Shuttle, as well as the strength of the U.S. dollar against the euro. In France, average vacation rentals during the summer months go for around $715 per week, Andrä says. Plus, the favorable exchange rate "will make cost conversions less impactful," Andrä says. In September, Google Flights shows round-trip jaunts from New York City airports starting at $419 and round-trip routes from Washington, D.C. starting at $480. What's more, booking site goSeek shows four-star hotels in Paris for less than $60 a night in September, making securing budget-friendly accommodations a breeze.
"Dublin has been cheap," Hobica says, noting it's easy to cross the Atlantic and then take a train to visit a variety of destinations on a tight budget. Currently, Google Flights shows round-trip flights from Boston's Logan Airport with budget carrier Wow Air starting at $430 in September and round-trip flights from San Francisco International Airport starting at $500 in October. And with a variety of free attractions, including St. Stephen's Green, a 27-acre park, and Grafton Street, a vibrant pedestrian thoroughfare filled with pubs and eateries, as well as four-star hotel rates for less than $100 a night in September, it's easy to snag enticing travel deals. Plus, it's an inexpensive time to plan a trip to Dublin thanks to the currency exchange rates. Currently, the U.S. dollar equals roughly 0.9 euros.
While flying across Europe may become increasingly expensive if low-cost carriers modify their schedules and routes to account for demand, "right now is a great time to get a deal on airfare," Leff says. And this held true in the U.K. as well as popular destinations across Europe before the Brexit vote, he adds. For example, right now, you can land steeply reduced rates in places like Zurich, Paris, Madrid and Copenhagen, Hobica says. Google Flights currently shows round-trip flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Copenhagen starting at $692 in August and round-trip flights from Washington, D.C. airports starting at $550 for the same period.
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