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Booking my own connections to Eastern Europe... doable?
byrdonebrere
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I am planning to go to Budapest and Croatia this summer, and I see that it’s a lot cheaper to get a flight to London and then take a cheap European airline like Whizz Air to get to Budapest and then back to London from Croatia (i.e. $600 to get to London and then $70 to Budapest and back from Croatia, as opposed to $1000 or above if I book it all together, even using those discount flight consolidator sites). I’ve spent loads of time looking this up and it really seems like the best way to go.

Is there something obvious I’m missing about doing this (like it’s not legal somehow or there are hundreds of dollars of taxes for non-EU travellers or something)??

I feel like this should be really obvious but I didn’t see it suggested in the FAQ section or anywhere else!

Thanks very much for any assistance.

nivid
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Don’t worry, there’s no catch.  Europe has some great budget lines, and they are really that cheap!!!  There are taxes, like any airline, so it’s not as cheap as it may appear (For example, you won’t be going anywhere for 1 Euro).  But even after taxes, it can still be hundreds cheaper than direct flights on major airlines.

Use www.whichbudget.com to look up what cheap airlines fly where.

On my last trip to Europe, I got a RT ticket to the UK, and then bought 3 one way flights around the continent (on the lags that were way to long to want to take the train).  I think I paid about $250 CAD after all taxes for the 3 flights, so it was much cheaper. 

I used Easyjet to go from Edinburgh – Amsterdam & Prague – London, and I used Virgin Express to go from Amsterdam – Rome.

I’m acutally doing it again this summer.  I got my RT ticket to Frankfurt, and then i’m going RT to Budapest.  When are you planning on being in Budapest??

byrdonebrere
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Sweet, thanks for all the info. I’ll probably be there in late July/early August, not sure yet!

oldlady
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No problem.  Just watch out for these potential snags:

Be sure you allow plenty of time between flights.  If a flight is late or cancelled and you miss a connection that wasn’t booked on a single ticket, the airline probably won’t honor your ticket.  You’re stuck with a worthless ticket and you’ll need to buy an expensive last minute ticket to get to your destination.

Be sure you know which airports you’re flying in and out of.  Many of the budget airlines use smaller, more out of the way airports.  Be sure you understand how to get to the appropriate airport and allow an absolute minimum of 5 hours between flights (8 is better, a day is best) if you have to get from one airport to another in a city. 

Understand the total price… The advertised price usually doesn’t include taxes, usually in the $20 range.  You’ll know (and be charged) the total price when you actually buy the ticket.  Ryan Air and many of the other low fare carriers have high fees for baggage over their 15 kilo limit.  If your bag is too heavy, the overweight fee may be more than your ticket.  You may have 15 to 20 euros each way involved in getting between a remote airport and city center.  You can normally get to city center from the “regular” airport for 7 to 10 euros.