Summer Travel to Europe Report (Update: May 21, 2021)

With the EU expected to allow vaccinated Americans to travel this summer, the team at Hopper breaks down the latest airfare forecast and demand trends.

Adit Damodaran - May. 21, 2021

Summary:

  • Searches had spiked 47% to EU member countries specifically, and 47% to Europe as a whole on the day following the EU announcement on April 25th. The weekly average of searches is up 32% from the date of the announcement. 

  • Search demand is currently clustering most significantly for July 4th weekend departures, with Friday, July 2nd receiving particularly strong demand. 

  • The top three destinations where we think you’ll find a great deal are Porto, Portugal (#1), Lisbon, Portugal (#2), and Krakow, Poland (#3). 

Demand:

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told the NYTimes in an interview on Sunday, April 25th, that the bloc would potentially allow fully vaccinated American tourists to visit over the summer. This prompted the research team at travel app, Hopper to examine search demand to the 27 countries. Hopper receives 25 to 30 billion airfare price quotes every day from flight searches happening all across the web (not just in the app itself). 

On the day following the announcement on April 25th, searches were up 47% to EU member countries specifically, and 47% to Europe as a whole. As of May 18th, the weekly average of searches is up 32% from the weekly average at the time of the announcement. 

Flight Searches to Europe
Data showing the spike in searches following news that the EU may reopen to vaccinated U.S. travelers this summer. The spike in the prior week was upon news of Greece reopening. Search interest has remained at high levels, and is climbing.

When is demand clustering? 

Search demand is currently clustering most significantly for July 4th weekend departures, with July 2nd receiving particularly strong demand. 

International Demand
International Demand

Higher search volumes were also seen for the first full week of June, and mid-July (the week of July 11th - July 17th). 

Great Deals:

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 Porto, Portugal (#1), Lisbon, Portugal (#2), and Krakow, Poland (#3). 

Great Deals to Europe from the US for Summer 2021
Great Deals to Europe from the US for Summer 2021

Airfare Forecast

With the EU reopening, we think a good deal on round-trip airfare this summer to Europe from the U.S will average $940. Currently, a good deal on a round-trip sits at $880, which we estimate will rise 12% into June with renewed travel demand from the reopening, peaking at $995 for a round-trip flight. 

Good Deal Round-Trip Airfare Prices to Europe
Good Deal Round-Trip Airfare Prices to Europe

Our forecast average airfare for Summer 2021 (June-August) at $940 would be about on par with Summer 2020 airfare, and up 6% from Summer 2019. It’s worth noting that 2020 average round-trip airfare from the U.S. to Europe was high because of a much lower volume of trans-Atlantic flights. While we expect total seat capacity to increase this summer as airlines add trans-Atlantic routes, we expect the higher pent-up travel demand for European destinations to lead to a net increase in prices.

Six Month Europe Forecast
Six Month Europe Airfare Forecast

When to book summer travel to Europe?

If you’re still planning to travel to Europe this summer, booking as soon as possible will ensure you get the best price. If things are looking a bit expensive, we recommend considering flights a bit past the peak travel season departing in the late-Summer to early-Fall. We estimate this could save you about 12% (around $100) on average, and nearly 20% (around $150-200) compared to the Fourth of July weekend.

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