Do I have to make up my mind about travelling around Europe now?
March 30, 2011 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I will be working Ireland for a few months, from June to August. I plan on spending my weekends and other free periods visiting the rest of Europe. Because I'll be working, my availability isn't set in stone. So now, this penny-pincher wants to know if it is possible to get cheap round-trip airfares (below 100 euros) after I arrive and decide on places as my time frees up ... or if I have to buy the tickets and have a set itinerary NOW.
posted by Xere to Travel & Transportation around Ireland (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes: see Ryanair, whose base is Ireland. But note, they are the crappiest airline imaginable for customer service and hidden charges.

One good impact of Ryanair is that it also forces competing airlines to keep flights from Ireland low.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:21 PM on March 30, 2011

Admittedly this was this past January and not June, but I took a last-minute trip from Amsterdam to Cork for the weekend on Aer Lingus and only had to pay the taxes (the fare was zero). However, said taxes were 111 Euro. I think Ryanair does the zero fares too.

I think it depends on where you want to go. I imagine the flights to southern Europe are likely to be pretty booked up by June. I think if you are willing to "decide on places" in terms of "where are the zero fares this weekend?" then you could definitely get a flight somewhere. But if you think you would want to go to popular tourist places, then you might want to plan that in advance.

Another option is to get a flight somewhere, then take a train. Be creative!
posted by cabingirl at 12:25 PM on March 30, 2011

Ryanair (who I hate, and am really not shilling for) have periodic sales (tax-free, or specific routes, etc, for specified dates), so their mailing list might serve you well. Aer Lingus is a much less painful experience and they have sales and low fares too - sometimes it actually works out lower than Ryanair, particularly as they tend to fly into the cities rather than 'nearby'. It becomes a little bit of a spreadsheet project when you want to book a flight, helped by their annoying websites.

The closer your booking is to the date of travel, the (exponentially) more expensive the travel will be in my experience, so you might want to book June trips beforehand. But luck and flight sales make it hard to predict.

(Protip: both will charge you for checked luggage, and beware of accidentally booking travel insurance with Ryanair's stupid website.)
posted by carbide at 12:52 PM on March 30, 2011

Some budget airline fares are so low that you might as well book intending to not show if it turns out not to be possible to travel that weekend.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:18 PM on March 30, 2011

You totally do not need to plan now unless you have a specific destination you really want to get to. For example, you may find that while you've always been desperate to get to Paris, flights from Dublin are €139 return for July weekends but you can grab a flight to Rome for €40. If you're flexible in terms of destination, you'll end up going a lot more places*.

If there's any chance your work can be flexible, it will be even cheaper as a late Thursday or early Friday flight is often less than a Saturday flight.

*Note: None of these places will be in Spain. Spain is where everyone in Ireland holidays for two weeks every summer, so summer flights specifically to there book early and at a premium.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:17 AM on March 31, 2011

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