Photo Credit: Jørgen Syversen

My secret for how I get to 15 festivals in 15 consecutive weekends in 15 countries? I take advantage of Europe’s low cost airfare carriers, which offer shockingly discounted deals on flights around the continent and to North America. These no-frill flights transform a twelve-hour train ride into a painless international adventure.

Below are my picks for Europe’s best budget airlines. I’ve flown with all of these companies, and those sample prices listed are the actual prices I have paid for flights during the past two years.

Travel Note #1: I am a budget backpacker. Except in certain circumstances, I don’t pay for upgrades like seat selection or priority boarding. I also closely follow the rules for the free baggage so the prices you see below are what I have actually paid for full flights.

Travel Note #2: Most of my cheap flights are discovered by using Skyscanner, which is simply the best way to find an airfare deal in Europe.

1. Ryanair

Featured Regional Deals: All of Europe
Sample Flights: Berlin, Germany to Timasoria, Romania $12 USD

Ryanair has stood at the forefront of the budget flight trend since the beginning. For the festpacker, Ryanair goes to the most places, offers some of the best deals around, and will certainly be a part of your European trip.

2. Norweigian Air

Featured Regional Deals: Scandanavia, United States
Sample Flight: Oslo, Norway to New York City, United States $122 USD

Norwegian has been offering outstanding fare deals over the last two years to North America, but what makes this airline stand out is the absolute comfort of these international flights. Comfortable seats with private television screens stocked full of movies and an included dinner is the ideal way to win this budget backpacker’s heart.

3. Wizz Air

Featured Regional Deals: Eastern Europe
Sample Flight: Skopje, Macedonia to Oslo, Norway $11 USD

This Hungarian airline is responsible for nearly two thirds of my flights over the last two summers. Wizz Air always seems to have the best deals traveling to Eastern Europe and their flight map is a valuable source of travel inspiration.

Photo Credit: Wizz Air

4. WOW air

Featured Regional Deals: Iceland, United States
Sample Flight: Boston, United States to Copenhagen, Denmark $125 USD

WOW has been offering some stellar travel deals to the United States. The big perk with this carrier is that you can work in a stopover in Iceland and take a fun break swimming in geothermal pools, horseback riding, or just hanging out in the capital city of Reykjavik.

5. Veuling

Featured Regional Deals: Spain
Sample Flight: Porto, Portugal to Barcelona, Spain $12 USD

The Iberian peninsula doesn’t seem that large on a map, but once you’ve tried to comically hitchhike across it in the crippling heat, you’ll realize that it’s much easier to snag a comfortable and air-conditioned plane to your Spanish destination.

6. Transavia

Featured Regional Deals: Netherlands, France, Greece, Spain
Sample Flight: Barcelona, Spain to Eindhoven, Netherlands $32 USD

If you need to reach the beach on a budget, check out Transavia, which boasts dozens of cheap flights from Paris and Netherlands to Greece, Spain, Turkey, and Italy.

Photo Credit: Transavia

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