[Travel Hacking] Booking Cheap One-Way Fares from Europe

Recently we featured an incredible $98 nonstop one-way fare from Los Angeles to Stockholm, Sweden. Now $98 for a 10 hour direct flight is a hell of a deal, but how do you get home on a one-way? It’s actually easier than you think, if you book cheap one-way fares from Europe.

 

Embrace budget airlines

Budget airlines such as Norwegian and Wow Air offer incredible value if you understand the rules. You’re likely going to have to pay to check or carry-on your bag. Your seat assignment and food will also be extra. Budget airlines will nickel and dime you but if know the rules, you can save a significant amount of money. They also offer cheap one-way fares! Make sure to check airports around your location as well. I did a quick search and Norwegian has $150 one-way flights from Stockholm to Las Vegas in April, which would make for an easy way to take advantage of the $98 Los Angeles to Stockholm deal!

Thrifty Tip: Find flights home from Europe on Norwegian’s english language site. Then visit the Norwegian language site (Google Chrome will translate). By using this method you can pay in Norwegian Krone (NOK) and save $25-50! Just make sure your credit card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.

 

Book round-trip tickets from Europe

Many European countries continue to struggle economically. To compensate airlines are offering dirt cheap fares from Europe to almost anywhere in the world. If you’re in the US a flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul costs around $800 but if you’re going round-trip from Istanbul to Los Angeles you can find fares for as low as $380. The key is to book a round-trip ticket but only use the ticket to get you home! Alternatively, you can book a flight home (Istanbul to LAX) now in April and book the return back to Istanbul later in the year for another trip!

If you were to book the $98 flight from LAX to Stockholm and then took an $85 flight from Stockholm to Istanbul, and then flown from Istanbul to LAX for $380, your whole trip to visit two great European cities would have only cost $563! AND you have the option of flying back to Istanbul later on for FREE! Make sure to read our article on how to book the cheapest flight possible!

 

cheap one-way fares from europe

Sample Flights round-trip from Istanbul to Los Angeles (Daily availability for $380!)

 

 

Positioning Flights 

As soon as I saw the $98 fare to Europe I wished I lived closer to Los Angeles! An easy way to take advantage of a flight deal is to use what is called a positioning flight, which is a flight to get you to where the flight deal is. I’m based out of Minneapolis so I could find a cheap one-way Sun Country flight to Los Angeles for around $100 or used points/miles to fly for free. This would have got me from Minneapolis to Stockholm for around $200, which is still a great deal! I then could have easily flown home on points & miles for free.

Another example is for our trip to Istanbul in May. We found a Delta flight deal round-trip from Dallas to Istanbul for $620. We paid for a $75 positioning flight to get us from MSP – DFW. The best part about this specific Delta flight deal was the routing went DFW – JFK – IST outbound but on the return, it went IST – CDG – MSP – DFW. This way we could dump the last leg of the flight between MSP – DFW, and we were home! We also saved a lot of cash by paying for the $620 flight deal with Delta Skymiles so we still earn MQMs towards Delta Medallion status! The flight only cost 60k SkyMiles + $20! If you find a cheap Delta flight deal and are an American Express Delta cardholder, the pay with miles option is a great way to be a Thrifty Traveler.

 

Points and Miles  

Although we primarily feature flight deals here at Thrifty Traveler, the secret to our method of flying is a combination of both flight deals and points & miles. Some of our trips we will pay for if we find a cheap mistake fare, but we generally use points and miles to fly around the world. It’s cheap and easy if you’re good at managing credit cards. For example, we signed up for two American Airlines credit cards (50k AAdvantage miles each) last year and flew round-trip to Germany in Business Class on American’s 767-300 and Business Class on Air Berlin! We’re headed on a couple trips this year in First/Business class again to Europe. Points and Miles are a great way to book premium airfare one-way or round-trip for next to nothing. Check out our Beginner’s guide to credit cards to get started.

Delta is also running a great SkyMiles sale which can get you from most US cities to Europe for only 42k SkyMiles round-trip! This is a hell of a deal as well. Just be careful of award trips booked one-way from Europe! They can have hefty fees from certain airports!

cheap one-way fares from europe

Round-trip Delta award ticket from Minneapolis to Paris for only 42k SkyMiles!

 

Bottom Line 

Booking cheap one-way fares from Europe is a great way to save cash. Find a great one-way flight deal to get to Europe or use points and miles! There have been several incredibly cheap fares from Europe to Hong Kong over the last month, so it would be pretty easy to build an around the world trip on cheap flights from Europe! If I wasn’t already booked up in the next couple months I’d be taking advantage of that incredibly thrifty $98 fare!

 

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19 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    When you skip the last leg on a flight like that what happens to checked luggage? Is there a way to check a bag and get the bag in MSP (in this case) or would it have to go the full route?

    • Good question Andy. I would recommend doing carry on if you are planning on dumping a leg of an international trip. For the example I gave we are entering the US in Minneapolis so we would get our bags at customs.

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