For first-time travelers to Europe, often the first question asked is how much it costs to travel to Europe. The answer varies depending on your travel style and how long you plan to be there. But we can offer a few ideas on what to expect.
Though flights are more expensive now than ever, you can lessen the impact by flying at certain times. The off-season, winter, as long as it's not a holiday, has the best fares. For example, expect fares starting at $900 for flights from Dallas to London in December.
Late fall and early spring (before Easter) will also offer some favorable prices. While the popular summer season, especially August, will have the highest fares.
When cost is a concern, be flexible with your travel dates and airports. For example, flying to Pisa may be more economical than flying to Florence.
For accommodations, if you prefer hotels, comparable in size and standards to US hotels, plan on rates from $140 per night. For luxury hotels, rates start around $300.
In Europe, you have many options for getting between cities from low-cost European airlines and rail to driving. Prices will depend on the distance between cities. For instance, a flight on a European airline from London to Florence can be below 50 euros and is usually more economical than the train for the distance.
Also, within European cities, public transportation, particularly the extensive and convenient systems in London, Paris, and Vienna, means you never have to rent a car or even rely on taxis.
It's possible to plan activities around those that are free - from free museums in London to outdoor concerts in Paris. Alternatively, guided group tours and private excursions abound and can be focused on whatever interests you.
With the exception of the more expensive London, food costs are generally the same as you would find in the US. Cafes, pubs, pizzerias and fast food places will be cheaper than fine dining establishments.
One major difference is beverage prices. Soft drinks will often be much higher in Europe than in the US, while house wines that you would find at a restaurant tend to be cheaper.
Finally, when looking at trip costs, it's a good idea to consider your total cost rather than costs for individual items.