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Europe Summer Travel: Follow the Cheap Fares

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As I do every month, I'm tracking several dozen peak-season routes from the U.S. to major European cities, including Paris, London, Madrid, Rome, and Dublin. If you're still shopping around for summer Europe travel, this month's report doesn't bode well. Here are my findings:

Research Results

A whopping 88 percent of the fares I track have risen since last month, in some cases by as much as 42 percent. The only routes remaining relatively affordable (not trending downward, but mostly even with March) are those to Dublin and Madrid. Travel from the western portion of the States is steadily climbing upward.

When comparing current rates to those from this time last year, they, too, have drastically risen. 83 percent of the tracked routes have spiked since last year, by as much as $420, as is the case on the popular JFK/Dublin route.

Reconsider Your Destination

If flexibility is in your favor, you'll find bigger savings by reconsidering your destination. Romanced with the idea of eating croissants in Paris and kissing on the Eiffel Tower? How does the romance of Madrid sound instead? A recent increase in routes to the Spanish capital makes taking in a Flamenco show and finding a newfound appreciation for olives more alluring. Moderately priced flights to Dublin and Rome are often available as well, though I'd suggest hunting for oft-available airfare promotions, in particular to the former. Enroll in SmarterTravel's daily Deal Alert to receive alerts on fare promotions.

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