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Airfares to Europe hit record highs this summer. But those put off by the price shock can still travel abroad in the coming months and potentially save hundreds of dollars per ticket.

Flying from the U.S. to Europe during the fall “peak season” (September and October) rather than summer can save an average of $500 on a round-trip ticket, according to the travel app Hopper.

Europe is the most popular overseas destination for U.S. tourists this summer. But Hopper found that travelers to top European cities can save an average of 34% if they go in the fall rather than in June, July or August.

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Consider these examples: The average airfare to Rome this summer is $1,284. Tickets for this fall are $736, a 43% discount, or $548 per ticket.

Likewise, those venturing to London in the fall will pay $693, which is 32% cheaper than the $1,025 in summer. In Barcelona, ​​tourists can fly for $757 in the fall and $1,193 in the summer, a savings of 37%.

“Some good news is on the horizon,” Hopper’s chief economist Hayley Berger said of prices.

Off-season travel is usually cheaper

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The low season is usually a time when travel costs are lower. But experts say the savings may be especially noteworthy for potential buyers because of recent high costs.

Price dynamics are determined by supply and demand: For example, fewer people travel in the fall as children go back to school.

It also means that not everyone — such as families with children, or workers like teachers who take their summer break — will be able to take advantage of the bargains.

But Sally French, a travel expert at NerdWallet, said those who can travel in the off-season may have a better overall experience due to warmer weather and fewer crowds.

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Tourists and locals on the crowded El Postigue beach in Alicante, Spain on July 09, 2023.

Marcos Del Mazo | Light Rocket | Getty Images

Colosseum at sunrise in Rome, Italy.

Alexander Spatari | The Moment | Getty Images

As a result, summer 2023 is the most expensive time on record to travel to Europe, Hopper said. The average ticket price is about $1,200, $50 more than the 2018 high.

Asia is the second most popular destination for Americans, with average prices 64% higher than pre-pandemic levels, Berger said.

And it’s not just airfare: Hotel accommodations in Europe cost $205 a night this summer, up 37 percent from last year. House prices in cities like Rome and Madrid are up 63% and 41%, respectively, from last year, Hopper said.

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Overall, however, prices don’t appear to be deterring travelers from traveling abroad.

From a money standpoint, this makes sense: the typical US tourist traveling abroad tends to be wealthier (average household income is $110,000 compared to $83,000 for all tourists) and more optimistic about their personal finances – This also leads to them being more willing to spend on leisure travel, according to a recent report polling Provided by Destination Analysts, a travel market research firm.

Other travel tips for finding deals

Dusk Island, Norway.

Roberto Moiola/Sysaworld | The Moment | Getty Images

In addition to off-season travel, here are some general recommendations from travel experts: Find a good deal.

  • Don’t book flights at the last minute. If possible, book international flights months in advance.
  • Use rewards. Now is a great time to use (rather than hoard) any frequent flyer miles or other perks.
  • Take advantage of credit card offers. Your credit card may have an offer (or other benefit) on travel or rental car insurance. Use the card to purchase some or all of your vacation and you may not need to purchase separate insurance.
  • Keep other costs in mind. If you find a good deal on airfare, don’t overlook other costs like accommodation before booking. Depending on length of stay and destination, they can cost more than airfare.

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