Budget Travel Travel

The Cheapest Way for a Family to Fly to Europe

Is a family trip to Europe on your bucket list?? I am going to break down for you one of the cheapest ways for a family to fly to Europe.

This is our FAVORITE area of the world and has so many amazing international destinations to visit with kids in tow.

Cash rates for a summer ticket to Europe average anywhere from $1000-$1,500 EACH. And that’s just to GET THERE. International flights are insanely expensive. And then you multiply that by 4, 5, or 6 family members???

You’re going to have to sell your left kidney just to fly your family across the oceans. That’s not even including your hotel or food!

SO how about I show you how to take a bucket list trip to Europe for more like $150-200 per person?! Sign me UP.

Ways to Fly your Family to Europe for Cheaper

You can definitely use some hacks to score some cheap flights. It’s actually not TOO hard to find flights to Europe under $500…IF you can be flexible.

Don’t miss this post about how to score dirt cheap flights for anywhere on your bucket list!

Getting flight deal alerts in your inbox (our favorite is Going for the best deals!), is how we snagged about $400 tickets to Italy for our family of 4 during shoulder season.

Some of our top ways to save on International Flights are:

  • Going’s Flight Deal Alerts (notifies you of a significant price drop or mistake fares)
  • Using the Google Explore feature to nail down cheapest cities and dates to fly into Europe
  • Using Skyscanner “Everywhere” feature to find the lowest cost airport to fly into in Europe for your dates
  • Using “backwards positioning flights” – fly into ANY city in Europe (whichever has the lowest price tag) and then take a very low cost “positioning flight” inter-country to the city you actually want to be in

These hacks will save you a LOT of money on tickets to Europe. BUT if you want to take your family of 4,5,6 plus to Europe during peak summer travel dates?! Your options are much more limited…and that savings becomes less and less.

But here is where the absolutely CHEAPEST (and most reliable) way to fly your family to Europe comes in!

The Cheapest Way for Families to Fly to Europe

Credit card points to save the day! Now I know some of your read that and have already written me off. BUT let me show you just how powerful they can be!

By acccumulating credit card points and learning how to optimize them (the KEY), you can very easily fly your family to Europe even on the tightest travel budget.

The crucial piece of getting the very most out of your credit card points is transferring your points to travel partners. NOT just using your points to give yourself a cash back statement on say a flight purchase.

By transferring your points to a travel partner of your credit card, you can literally explode your travel potential.

An Example of Saving on Flights to Europe for your Family

So let’s take a look at an example of trying to buy tickets to Europe for your large family, hang with me while we do a little math here…

Let’s say we want tp fly from Dallas to Rome. Tickets for peak summer travel will cost us probably on average $1,000-$1,500 per ticket as I mentioned before. So if we have a family of 5 that is at a minimum $5,000 for our flights.

Now, let’s say we found a killer flight deal and snagged $600 tickets to Rome (a DEAL). That is $3,000 total for our families flights to Italy (better!)

Sitting on my credit card I have 100,000 points. I am thinking I will either book in the travel portal to use those points or use them for a chase back statement credit. This would take $1,000 off my total flight price. Leaving me to pay $2,000 for my family of 5 to get to Europe.

Most likely, this would not be a direct flight. AND you’d have to compromise on your ideal dates.

Honestly, not horrible given the cost of tickets in summer…but we can do EVEN BETTER.

By simply taking those credit card points and TRANSFERRING them to a travel partner of our credit card, we will save hundreds more.

By transferring those same 100,000 points to an airline partner, we could book our tickets fully with points and ONLY pay the taxes on those flights.

This would take our cost down to around $1,000 for the whole family. AND it could be a direct flight AND we could get pretty close to the exact dates we are hoping for.

THIS is the power of points and knowing how to use them!

If you are are looking for the best travel rewards credit card, this is HANDS DOWN the most widely recommended travel credit card if you are just getting started with trying to leverage points for more travel.

The Best Way for Families to get to Europe on Points

My favorite program for families trying to get to Europe on a budget is hands down Flying Blue. Flying Blue is the rewards program for Air France and KLM (just like Rapid Rewards is the rewards program for Southwest).

Air France/KLM is an airline transfer partner of almost all major banks/cards (Chase, Capital One, Citi, and AMEX). It’s very beginner friendly, so even if you are just starting out in the points world, you can fairly easily navigate securing dirt cheap flights for your family to Europe.

There is also usually a lot of award availability (a large amount of flights available to book with points). This can be a huge barrier to other programs, just finding enough flights bookable on points for a large family.

The last reason why I think the Flying Blue program is the cheapest way for families to fly to Europe is because they offer 25% off children’s award tickets (age 2-11)! 25% off the points needed to purchase a kid’s flight AND 25% off the taxes/fees you pay on that flight!

This equates to come huge savings for families trying to fly to Europe on a budget!

To recap why Flying Blue is the best transfer partner for families to fly to Europe:

  • Very Beginner friendly and easy to set up an account and navigate
  • Lots of award availability from major United States hubs
  • 25% off kids tickets (Which no other program offers!)
  • Additional easy ways to save on your bookings – keep reading below!

Using Points to Fly your Family to Europe

Thankfully you can accumulate essentially any points (Chase, Capital One, Citi, AMEX) to transfer to Flying Blue. If you are confused on how we actually accumulate enough points to get a family to Europe, this post is a MUST READ.

So once you have a big stash of points with your bank you can start looking at flight options.

First, you’ll start by making a Flying Blue account here. It’s free and will allow you to search award flights (flights bookable on points!)

Secondly, you will put in your departure city and the city in Europe you would like to visit. Want to see the Eiffel tower in Paris? Eat pizza in a piazza in Rome? Play on the beaches of Greece? Truly, once you learn the ins and outs of reward travel, the sky is the limit.

Pro Tip: I find searching for one way tickets is easiest and provides the most flexibility.

Leave the date blank and it will allow you to search the calendar feature. This is KEY to getting the cheapest flights possible.

The calendar feature lets you view the lowest flight prices for each day in the month. As you can see the points vary wildly from day to day. But with a little bit of flexibility, you can find flights to Europe from major US hubs for as low as 15,000 points each way!

Using Points to Fly your Family to Europe Cont.

Also NOTE, the importance of booking in advance.

To snag flights for as low as 15,000 points or less each way, for peak summer travel, I like to book our flights 9-11 months in advance. Airlines only release a certain amount of award space when it comes to flights. Once those spots are taken, the price to purchase in points just goes up and up.

Once you confirm the dates and exact flights you want- it’s time to transfer your points! Navigate to your credit card account and go to the rewards section.

Find the “Transfer to Travel Partners” feature. Here, you will put in your Flying Blue account number and transfer the EXACT points you need to book your family’s flights to Europe.

NOTE // *Once you transfer those points from you bank, they can NEVER go back! So always, always check for availability first*

By booking directly with Air France/KLM with points, you can easily snag $1000-1500 tickets to Europe during peak summer travel for *just* the cost of the taxes on that flights. (usually this averages about $100-200 per ticket with Flying Blue)

So instead of paying $5,000 out of pocket, or even $2-3,000 out of pocket for a good deal and a cash back statement from your points…you can now fly your ENTIRE family to Europe for $1000 or less!

Now THAT just took an out of reach bucket list Europe trip and made no longer just a lofty dream and 100% possible!

Side Note, if all this talk of traveling more for less as peaked your interest, make sure to download our free Points 101 Guide. 30+ pages outlining the basics of reward travel and taking out the overwhelm out of points to get your family traveling more!

Ways to Save EVEN MORE on your Family’s Flights to Europe

Two ways you can get the cost of your Europe flights even LOWER – watching for transfer bonuses and Flying Blue monthly promos. Let me explain!

Typically every month, banks will run transfer bonuses. For example, let’s say Chase runs a 25% transfer bonus to Air France/KLM (my favorite combo!). This means when you move your points from Chase to Air France, you would get 25% more points in your Air France/KLM account for FREE after that transfer!

This is how we snagged our dirt cheap flights to Norway! A 25% transfer bonus to Air France that allowed us to book tickets into Oslo and out of Bergen for about 35,000 points and $200 in taxes each.

Sign up for our points newsletter HERE and we will make sure to always alert you to these money saving opportunities…as well as a WEALTH of other tips and tricks.

Staying in the know about transfer bonuses can put more FREE points in your pocket, which just stretched your savings even farther!

Further Savings when Flying your Family to Europe

Lastly, you can watch out for Flying Blue monthly promos. These are specific routes Air France/KLM run discounted monthly sales on for flights booked on points.

For example, currently there is a handle of major US cities you can get an award ticket to Europe for 25% off! Flying from Atlanta to Europe during this Flying Blue promo is even up to 50% off!

Even BETTER??? All of these savings are *stackable*….my favorite kind of discounts.

So if the stars aligned, you could combine a transfer bonus WITH a Flying Blue monthly promo WITH the 25% kids discount and get some *very* serious savings on flights to Europe for your family.

I just make sure to subscribe to the Flying Blue newsletter to be notified of these sales!

There *is* a cheapest way to get to Europe for families, and this is surely one of the very best. Flight deals will definitely save you a fair amount on international flights. But NOTHING will slash your costs more than learning how to use points.

Comment below if you use this hack to get your family to Europe! Nothing makes us happier than hearing we’ve helped even one family take a bucket list trip for less!

And if you haven’t already make sure to download our FREE (30 page!) Points 101 Guide to take dream vacations like this for WAY less.

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