Exploring Europe, One Cheap Weekend at a Time

There are roughly fifty countries in Europe to explore and experience. However, we all have limited holidays while working full-time. So how do we find extra opportunities to explore Europe? My preferred strategy is: use the weekends!Immediately after arriving in Ireland and settling into work last November, I wanted to travel as much as possible. To taste delicious dishes, wander through ancient castles, see breathtaking countryside. Of course, much of this is present in Ireland itself, but this particular Irish winter was harsh with its unforgiving wind and rain. At least, it was for an Australian.

I set out looking for affordable travel and adventure opportunities in central Europe. I soon realized we needed a financial strategy – one that ensured we could see as many destinations as possible. Spending 500 a weekend wouldn’t be sustainable for very long. With that in mind, I listed all the expenses for a weekend trip. What would you guess is the least flexible expense? That’s right, it’s the flights.

After picking a destination, I was always stuck with the cost of the flights. They gave no room to negotiate, and rarely had direct competition for that exact flight. Modern flight searchers like SkyScanner allow you to set a budget, a date range and a few other criteria. What I wanted was something different. I was only interested in weekend flights that left late Friday, and returned late on Sunday – the ideal weekend escape, fitting around my work schedule. Any upcoming weekend flights were great, as long as they were cheap and didn’t require extra time off.

I couldn’t find an easy way to do that without a lot of manual searching. As a result, I created europeweekendflights.com – an automatic list of upcoming return weekend flights matching that criteria. When you need something and it doesn’t exist, why not create it yourself?

With this list, in just the last couple of months I’ve explored southern Belgium, the castled city of Carcassonne, Bavaria of Germany, and Warsaw. In the next few months, I have half a dozen more weekend trips booked – and I’ll be glad to share those stories with you.

You should travel more often too. For your next Europe trip, check out my new service Europe Weekend Flights. Find some cheap flights for the perfect weekend getaway, and don’t forget to tell me what you think!