Summer Travel to Europe (July 1 Update)

With travel reopening to Europe for American tourists, the expert team at Hopper breaks down what to expect for airfare prices and where to go this summer

Adit Damodaran - Jul. 1, 2021

Airfare

A good deal for a round-trip ticket to Europe as of July 1st, 2021 is currently $888. This represents an 8% drop from July 2020 ($970/rt), and a 6% drop from July 2019 ($940/rt). 

Good Deal Round-Trip Airfare from U.S to Europe
Good Deal Round-Trip Airfare from U.S to Europe

Overall this summer, a good deal on round-trip airfare will average $883. This represents a 7% drop from Summer 2020, and is about equivalent to Summer 2019 ($889). This is driven primarily by the fact that we’re expecting prices to drop less going into the fall (declining 7% from July to September compared to 10% in a normal year like 2019) as the EU Reopening spurs pent-up demand for trans-Atlantic travel. 

What’s Trending | Top 10 Destinations Trending Up the Most in Searches Across the Web

Hopper collects, from several Global Distribution System partners, 25 to 30 billion airfare price quotes every day from searches happening all across the web. To figure out what’s trending up the most for Europe travel, we compared the most searched destinations in 2019 to the most searched destinations in 2021, and then sorted the list by which destinations moved up the most in searches (Change in Rank) compared to a normal year. Lisbon, Portugal (#1) with flights over half off (52% off) 2019 airfare, topped our trending list, followed by two countries that reopened relatively earlier in the year: Athens, Greece (#2) and Reykjavik, Iceland (#3)

Top 10 Destinations Trending Up the Most in Searches Across the Web
Top 10 Destinations Trending Up the Most in Searches Across the Web

Top 5 Booked Destinations & Airfares

Athens (#1), Paris (#2), and London (#3) were the most booked destinations on Hopper as of July 1st, 2021 for summer travel to Europe. The U.S. is still an “Amber” country for the UK, and hence London requires U.S. travelers to show negative PCR tests prior to and after their arrival, but is otherwise open to non-essential travel since May 17th. Athens is up significantly in booking volumes compared to this time in 2019, with Greece being one of the first countries in the EU to individually reopen. France’s reopening on June 9th has seen Paris climb in bookings more rapidly, outpacing Lisbon, Portugal which was #3 in May.

Top 5 Booked Destinations & Airfares
Top 5 Booked Destinations & Airfares

Top 5 Most Booked Destinations from NYC

In 2019, the most booked destinations from NYC were London (#1), Madrid (#2), and Paris (#3). This year, it’s Athens (#1), Paris (#2), and Lisbon (#3) that topped the charts, with both Athens and Lisbon up 5 spots from 2019.

Top 5 Most Booked Destinations from NYC
Top 5 Most Booked Destinations from NYC

Why We’ve Seen High Demand + Search Demand from U.S. to Europe

In an interview with the NYTimes on Sunday, April 25th, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, suggested the bloc would potentially allow fully vaccinated American tourists to visit over the summer. Searches spiked 47% to EU member countries specifically, and 47% to Europe as a whole on the day following the EU announcement on April 25th. 

Since then, several countries in Europe have fully reopened to vaccinated U.S. tourists, lifting quarantine and negative testing requirements. The weekly average of searches is up 68% since the announcement. 

Flight Searches to Europe
U.S Flight Searches to Europe

Some reasons we’ve seen high demand include:

  1. Travelers have been to Mexico and the Caribbean plenty

In 2019 Europe accounted for 40% (and Asia for 7%) of Hopper bookings. Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean accounted for 32% of bookings. In May 2021, Europe and Asia respectively only accounted for 11% and 2% of bookings on Hopper, while Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America combined accounted for 76% of bookings. Travelers have been to the beach plenty thus far during the pandemic, so there’s pent up demand for a change of scenery. 

  1. Countries that had early re-openings capitalized the most on pent up demand

Iceland saw a 93% spike in round-trip searches from the U.S. after announcing it would fully reopen to all vaccinated travelers (including U.S. travelers) on March 17th – the biggest surge in search traffic we’ve seen to-date in 2021 for international reopenings. Greece similarly saw a 42% increase in round-trip searches from the U.S. on April 20th, following announcing its reopening plans to U.S travelers on April 19th. If you look at what’s trending the highest in our rankings above, it’s no surprise that Greece and Iceland are doing so well. 

  1. Historically low Airfare, buoyed by Increased Carrier Service

Airfare to Europe is still near historic lows, at just $888/round-trip on average. This is even below 2020 airfares, buoyed by airlines increasing capacity on trans-Atlantic routes while the trans-Pacific market remains less traveled. The increased capacity includes first-time non-stop carrier service to some European destinations such as Croatia. Some destinations such as Iceland and Portugal are over 50% off their 2019 prices, going for under $600/round-trip on average.

Best Deals for Summer in Europe

The following destinations have great deals on airfare, with some destinations like Portugal as much as 50% off their 2019 prices around this time. We ranked destinations by how much lower we estimate a good deal round-trip to cost now compared to the same time in 2019. The top three destinations where we think you’ll find a great deal are Lisbon, Portugal (#1), Porto, Portugal (#2), and Krakow, Poland (#3).

Best Deals for Summer in Europe
Best Deals for Summer in Europe

If you’re looking for the Top 5 cheapest destinations instead of the ones that are discounted the most relative to a normal year, those would be 

  1. Lisbon, Portugal (#1 at $546/round-trip)

  2. Reykjavik, Iceland (#2 at $547/round-trip)

  3. Porto, Portugal (#3 at $558/round-trip) 

  4. Madrid, Spain (#4 at $677/round-trip)

  5. Dublin Ireland (#5 at $712/round-trip)

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