Have you wondered when the cheapest month to travel is?
Traveling is one of the most amazing things you can embark on. Seeing new places, immersing in a new culture, learning a foreign language, and meeting new friends make lifelong memories. But such a lasting experience shouldn’t be expensive.
There are smart ways to save money, and one of them is knowing the cheapest time of the year to go. What is the cheapest month to travel? Let us guide you to traveling on a budget to Europe and to the Netherlands.
What are the cheapest months to fly to Europe?
Plan your holiday and book your flights in the late fall and winter months, from mid to late October through mid to late March. These are the cheapest times to book a flight to Europe, although fares can spike in December.
To be specific, it’s usually cheaper midweek, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, than weekends when a significant number of people are traveling.
About European tourism
In case you didn’t know, Europe is the most frequently visited region globally when it comes to leisure travel. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), more than half of the 1.5 billion international tourists made their way to Europe in 2019.
There is a caveat, though. Traveling to Europe is not cheap, this is why it is good to learn the times of the year—and even days of the week—when flying costs less.
Traveling can be fun and economical at the same time. Here are simple ideas to learn how to get the cheapest flights:
Travel during the off-peak season
The Law of Supply and Demand dictates that flights, transportation, accommodation, dining, and other expenses related to travel are more expensive when more people are traveling. This is quite easy to remember – avoid the peak season as much as possible.
In Europe and most leisure-travel destinations, airfares are at their highest during peak travel. During off-peak, travelers can find sweet deals on airfare and other vacation expenses.
Families are available to travel during the summer season when school is over. As a result, summer, which runs from late May or early June, is always the most expensive time to visit Europe. Plus, summer is also when the weather is perfect, flowers are blooming, and the sights are amazing.
In contrast, not many people find it appealing traveling in the late fall and winter months. Cold weather, of course, is partly to blame. This is the off-peak season, except December and Christmas week.
Families reunite for the Yuletide and travel together for the holidays. If you can, avoid these months so you won’t have to pay a premium for flights.
Mid to late October through March are often the cheapest times to travel anywhere in Europe. Seasoned travelers know that visiting Europe in winter has its perks.
In addition to the cheaper airfare, the best ski and snowboard resorts in the world appear in winter. There are winter activities that aren’t available any other time of the year.
In the Netherlands, for instance, a tiny Dutch village called Giethoorn turns into a magical winter wonderland this time of year. This car-less town in the province of Overijssel attracts so many people in winter.
- Autumn – Wait a bit longer to book. The average best time to buy is 69 days in advance, except for Thanksgiving week, for which you should book much earlier.
- Winter – Flights for the Christmas and New Year holidays usually cost more. It is good to book plane tickets more than three months in advance.
- Spring – Booking 84 days in advance is good, but be mindful that many people travel during a wide range of days for spring break.
- Summer – This is the most popular season for travelling to Europe, the US, and major tourist destinations. Definitely book your tickets more than three months in
Pick Your Days
When planning a trip, be proactive in checking flights and prices. The rates can change drastically depending on the day of the week. If you are neither in a rush nor on a business trip, you can adjust your departure and return dates to save money.
As already mentioned, it’s often cheaper to fly mid-week, particularly Tuesday and Wednesday, to Europe and practically anywhere in the world.
The length of your stay can make a big price difference too. Monitor the price changes online before you book a flight. Make the most of the internet to save money when traveling. The best flight search engines are Kayak, Agoda, TripAdvisor, Skyscanner, Momondo, and Skiplagged.
Don’t Fly Direct
The heaviest air traffic between the United States and Europe is New York to London. Several airlines offer several flights on this route, which means airfare is cheaper when taking this flight, and then book discount connecting flights to specific cities.
Then again, choosing the perfect months is essential. In mid-May, round-trip tickets for a seven-day trip from New York to London’s Heathrow Airport can be as low as $711. In July, it could jump to $1,123, only to drop down to around $705 by early August.
Keep in mind that airfare prices fluctuate constantly, but the months mentioned above are your best bets.
Know how far ahead to book
Plane tickets don’t usually go down just because the departure date is approaching. It doesn’t always work that way. Market trends reveal that airfare tends to be at its lowest when you book between four months and three weeks before your departure date.
In other words, don’t book far ahead or too close to your planned day of departure.
Below is an interesting study conducted by discount airfare company CheapAir.com. The best way to book flights is to understand travel trends.
After analysing millions of flights and ticket prices, this is what they found out:
- Booking a flight 203-315 days in advance gives you a good chance of paying about $50 more than if you waited to get the lowest airfare. This means you’re too early to get a good discount, but the good thing is that you will probably have more choices in itinerary and seating.
- When you book a flight 116-202 days in advance, there is a good chance you will pay $20 more than if you waited for the lowest airfare. But there will still be plenty of good options in itinerary and seating.
- The best time to book a flight is 21-115 days in advance. This is the ideal time to hunt for bargains and book your flights because airfares during this time are within 5% of their lowest prices.
- Book a flight 14-20 days in advance because there is a good chance fares have begun to rise and the most convenient flight options have been sold out.
- When you book a flight just 7-13 days in advance, there is a good chance you will pay $135 lower, but there is a risk of not being able to book a seat at all.
- When you book a flight 0-6 days in advance, there is a good chance you will $220 more than the best price. This is a Hail Mary, so avoid trying to book this late.
Cheapest months to travel to the Netherlands
The Netherlands, particularly the capital city of Amsterdam, is one of the biggest draws in Europe. Amsterdam has a bustling tourism industry, primarily for its rich history, gorgeous tulips, striking windmills, and picturesque landmarks.
As in most major European cities, the best months to visit the Netherlands are October through March. Below is a closer look at the seasons to help you decide when to come:
Spring is tulip season in this beautiful country. This runs from about mid-March to early May, signaling the start of the peak season. April is an ideal time to visit to see the flowers and with not many tourists to contend with. However, hotel prices could spike during the Queen’s Day weekend.
Summer is the most popular season, which also means it is not inexpensive here during this period. The parks, beaches, canals, and cafes are brimming with people, both locals and foreigners. Expect to see so many people lining up to see the leading Dutch attractions by the end of May. Simply put, spring and summer are perfect but not easy on the wallet.
Autumn is from October to December. The canals calm down, and the colors slowly wither. Tourism has dropped, and so are the prices. These are the most inexpensive months to visit the Netherlands.
Airfares are at their absolute lowest in November and February, basically because these are the coldest months here. These are the cheapest times to come to Amsterdam. The canals freeze over, and ice skating parks appear.
In September 2021, Europe and the Netherlands are opening up to visitors. Foreign travelers from countries whose Covid-19 situation is equal to the country of destination or better are now welcome.
As more people are getting vaccinated around the world and with the dropping number of Covid-19 cases, international tourism is beginning to breathe back to life. It’s time to learn how to get discounts on flights and know the best months to travel.
If you’re looking for additional travel hacks and tips, go check more of our contents here at Ask the Dutch Guy!