Flying Cheap from NYC to Europe

Consider layovers, free trips from the airport and booking long in advance, forget 6 weeks.

My most recent trip, the last of 2018 and the first of 2019, was an 18 day adventure to four amazing countries. It was a little hectic and we were exhausted afterwards, but it was surprisingly affordable!

Did you know that everyone sitting on the same plane with you paid a different price for their ticket? The world of traveling is full of injustice, I know. One of my skills that I am most proud of is finding great flight deals, and I love to share my tips!

The flights we took on this trip included: NYC to Reykjavik, Reykjavik to London, London to Kyiv, Kyiv to Prague and finally Prague to NYC via Frankfurt. The total cost for these 6 flights was just over $1,700 for two people! If you google flights from America to mainland Europe right now, the average cost will be around $1,000, so how did I manage to get such a great price for so many flights?


Before I book any flight, I always check where the layovers are. If many different airlines have layovers in the same city, I will create a new search and check for independent flight going though that city. When I did this for New York to London, I discovered that Iceland is a popular layover spot. When I searched for independent flights through Iceland, the price dropped by $100 per ticket.

When booking flights independently, please keep in mind that if there is a delay that makes you miss your flight, you will not be reimbursed. That’s what makes booking flights independently risky. But there are plenty of websites that will give you information on the statistics on how often similar flights are delayed and by how long. Of course it’s not 100% reliable, but it’s still a good indicator. I try to allow for at least 10+ hours between flights just in case!

Some countries also offer special layover trips/layover extensions for free. Seoul and Reykjavik for example offer free tours of the city during your layover. You can find out more online or by calling the airport.

Book well in advance:

There are plenty of great last minute deals out there, or so I have heard. Personally, I have never found one so I like to book up to a year in advance. There is supposedly a formula for the cheapest ticket and that’s too book 6 weeks in advance, but when it comes to trips during busy flight seasons and holidays, the sooner you book, the better!

Don’t overdo it:

I’m the queen of fitting lots of travel into a short period of time. However, I don’t remember the last time I returned from a trip relaxed. Before you book layover upon layover for your two week trip, consider the time you have and whether the quality will be compromised by the quantity of places you stop over in.

My trip was amazing and I wouldn’t have done things differently. But next time, I will definitely try to spend more time in one place even if it costs me a little more. I’m getting too old to sleep on airport floors while lugging heavy suitcases around the world!


The Skyscanner Guide for Travel Addicts

Skyscanner has become one of the most popular websites for booking flights around the world. For the past five years, it has been my go-to whenever I’m planning (or just dreaming) of a new travel adventure. During this time I have learned a lot of great tricks and tips that I would love to share with you!

Skyscanner has become one of the most popular websites for booking flights around the world. For the past five years, it has been my go-to whenever I’m planning (or just dreaming) of a new travel adventure. During this time I have learned a lot of great tricks and tips that I would love to share with you!

I’m sure you’re sick of hearing how it’s cheaper to book flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can also get a VPN and pretend you’re in the location you are trying to get to (don’t forget to search prices in that currency). Then there’s that formula for getting the cheapest price by buying the ticket exactly six weeks before the trip. But that’s not always possible, so here are some useful tips.

If you’re looking to book on the spot, make sure you don’t start your search at 19:55. Every hour, airlines refresh their offers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the price will change, but it’s a pain to F5 your entire search. Despite knowing this, I always end up swearing and refreshing anyway… so try to be smarter than me.

Sometimes you have zero flexibility with when and where you need to go. If this happens far in advance, you should take advantage of Skyscanner’s notifications. All you need to do is search the day and place you want to go, and set an email alert for any price changes. This can easily be canceled at any point in time and it doesn’t let Skyscanner spam your email.


Flexibility makes things a lot more interesting. If your dates are set but your destination is up in the air, you can just search “everywhere”. This will show you a list of countries/cities starting with the cheapest price. If your destination is set but you are looking for the cheapest time to go, you just need to select “cheapest month”. Best of all, you can select both “everywhere” AND “cheapest month”!


There are easy and cheap ways to squeeze more out of your trip. For example, we knew we wanted to go to the Philippines for Chinese New Year 2018. Just to see what would happen, I searched a one-way flight from Manila to “everywhere” and found that it costs less than $100 to fly between Manila and Bali.

Most people would just search multi-city flights from Shanghai – Manila, Manila – Bali and then Bali – Manila. But that would be skipping a step! When you search multi-city, you can’t select “whole month” which lets you see the cheapest days to fly on. So open up Skyscanner in three tabs in your browser and search for each flight separately. Record the cheapest days to fly and input those into one multi-city search.*

*Disclaimer: this might still cost more than booking a three-in-one flighta. However, while you’re booking one flight, one of the other might sell out or change. There are just so many variables to consider based on what’s best for you.

Finally, there’s a magical inspiration map that Skyscanner keeps hidden away. I didn’t notice it until a few months ago. In the top right of the flight search is the word “map”. Click on it for your world to change. You can see for yourself below, but the map allows you to chose a departure city and departure month and it shows you the prices to fly to major destinations as well as lots of green and red dots.

Green shows direct flights while the red dots have layovers from your chosen departure city. Hover/click on any dot and you’ll get more information about the price and cheapest times to fly there. I don’t know about you, but I could spend an hour pretend trip planning on that inspiration map.

Why do you love Skyscanner? Share in the comments below!