It may seem paradoxical, but a trip to Europe may be a way to save money on travel this year.
Amid a global scramble to find ways to save money while traveling, hotel rates dropped in many European cities. Average airfares originating from the United States are also down, according to travel specialists.
Another boon for Americans? This month, the U.S. dollar hit parity with the euro for the first time in 20 years.
To put that into perspective, a three-night stay in a hotel in Paris that charges 250 euros a night would cost about $767 today, versus $841 in July 2019.
The average lowest airfare to Europe dropped 15.1% from last year, according to a year-over-year study by the online travel booking site CheapAir.com.
Based on a review of more than 24 million airfares this spring, flights to Europe from cities across the United States averaged $908 this year, down from an average of $1,070 in 2021, according to the study.
Travelers looking to find the cheapest flights to Italy can fly into Milan, where airfares dropped by more than 20%, according to the study. Flights to Venice (-17%) and Rome (-14%) also decreased, it said.
Flights to Europe's most visited cities, such as London (-10%) and Paris (-9%), also fell, albeit to a lesser extent, while airfare to Dublin (-0.02%) remained largely unchanged, according to CheapAir.com.
According to the analysis, price drops occurred in flights originating from almost every major American city too. One exception was Boston, where airfare rose by 1.8% to $685 per ticket. Still, that makes Boston the second-cheapest U.S. city from which to fly to Europe. Only New York is less expensive, with average airfares to Europe this year costing $636 per ticket.
The drop in airfares to Europe seemed to catch the people behind the study off guard. They said they were "pleasantly surprised" by the results, which showed more cheap flights to Europe than they expected.
Travelers searching for low airfares to Europe can access CheapAir.com's "2022 Summer Europe Flights Calendar," which estimates deep discounts will restart on Sept. 4.
Many hotels are more expensive now than they were before the pandemic, especially in places such as the Hamptons in New York; Maui, Hawaii; and Telluride, Colorado, according to the booking website Hotels.com.
But that's not the case in parts of Western Europe, the company said.
"Hotels typically increase their rates when demand is high during the busy summer travel season," said Melissa Dohmen, a spokesperson for Hotels.com. "But this year … it's dialing up competition for rooms and rates in top destinations."
In April, the company highlighted Madrid ($135 per night) and Copenhagen ($210 per night) as places with attractive hotel rates for August vacations.
The travel company Expedia said hotel rates in many European cities will be cheaper this August than before the pandemic.
Except for Nice, cities in Italy and France are absent from this list. Rates in both countries were up 25% this summer, according to Hotels.com, which singled out Saint-Tropez along the French Riviera as one of the season's most expensive getaway destinations in Europe.
Conventional wisdom holds that domestic travel is more economical than international travel. But that hasn't been the case for two years in a row, according to the travel insurance comparison engine Squaremouth.
As of mid-July, the average cost of a domestic trip is about $500 more than an international trip, according to the company's data.
But that doesn't hold true for all spots. Of the most popular travel destinations this year, travelers are spending the most to go to Greece, followed by Italy and France, according to the company.
Average nightly holiday rental rates in Greece are $610 in Mykonos and $434 in Santorini, but are as low as $204 in Ionian Islands and $162 in Crete, according to travel booking website Holidu.
Athens is likely even cheaper. In April, Greece's capital city was named one of the world's best-valued city breaks for families by the travel website The Family Vacation Guide, based on hotel fees, food and a visit to the Acropolis.
According to the website's analysis, the average daily cost for a family to visit Amsterdam ($244) is twice that of Istanbul ($122), while Stockholm was found to average less than $150 a day.
Conversely, Las Vegas was ranked the world's most expensive city for family vacations, owing mainly to hotel room rates which averaged $399 per night, according to the website.
Correction: This article has been updated to accurately reflect that Holidu's nightly rate estimates are for holiday rentals, not hotels.