How to Score Cheap Airfare to Europe | My Five Secrets

In March, Hasani and I took a romantic trip to London and Paris. Even though we just celebrated our nine year wedding anniversary in September we considered our vacation a long delayed honeymoon. It was our first time away from the kids together for nine blissful days, it was amazing! We missed the kids, and Oliver but it was so good to connect one on one and experiences so many firsts together. It also marked our first trip abroad together and Hasani’s first time using his passport. Our first time riding the Tube together and visiting the Eiffel tower at midnight, it was a short walk from our hotel so we figured why not!

When we started planning our trip at the end of last year, I was determined to find affordable flights to Europe. I cringe when I think back on how much my tickets to London the first time around a few years ago cost me. I spent about $1200.00 on my RT flight from Sacramento to London.

When Hasani and I flew to London in March our tickets were under $800.00 for TWO Round Trip tickets NON-STOP. YES you read that right!! I could have had so much extra spending money when I visited went. Think about how much dollar bills shrink when converted into Pounds and Euros!! It feels brutal! Plus, I had several layovers on my first time to UK, I was exhausted when I arrived!

Hasani and I are planning our next getaway for early next Spring, we’re thinking about Europe again and I’m applying the tricks I’ve learned over the past few years to find amazing deals on flights. I often talk with my friends about how they can find good deals on airfare and I want to pass those tips along to you so you make the all the places you want to visit a reality!


Airfare katrina

How to Score Cheap Tickets to Europe

ONE // Go in the Low Season

When selecting the destination for your vacation go in the off-season! Yes it's tempting to travel when the weather is perfect, but you’re going to pay a premium. Both in your airline tickets and hotel expense or AirBNB. When thinking of a destination, I usually google when is the low season for [insert name of destination] and then I read up on the weather in Tripadvisor. When we planned our trip to London and Paris, we knew there was a huge chance of rain and colder temps at the beginning of March. BUT we also knew we could afford to stay longer due to lower airline prices and lower hotels costs. We were able to upgrade the location of our hotel because we saved so much money on our airline tickets. Yes it rained during our trip, London was more drizzly so we packed the right clothes for the weather and still walked all day, it was lovely and uncrowned! While in Paris it also rained, on the first day I was bummed but then I realized, I’m walking on the rain, in Paris and the Eiffel Tower is right in front of my, I’m living my best life!

TWO // Search More than One Website for Deals

Using the right airfare website can be your ticket to finding an amazing deal on airplane tickets. For US flights I love I always search ‘deal of the day’ of find super discounted plane tickets. They also have deals on flights to Europe. I also like you can search globally for airline tickets, looking for the best deal along with seeing what’s on sale. A few hacks I learned when suing Skyscanner, make sure you include nearby airports (I live in Sacramento, Ca which can sometimes be expense to fly out of, so I make sure I’m open to flying out of San Francisco, Oakland to save a lot of coins) select your departure airport and leave the destination blank and search the whole month you want to travel it will list all the countries and from there you can narrow down your vacation and dates! I also visit the airline website and look for deals, airlines like Norwegian, Delta and American Airlines often run sale

THREE // Fly a Budget Airline with Good Reviews

For our vacation with flew Norwegian Airlines, considered a budget airlines and loved it! I still can’t get over how affordable our tickets where! With that said, we enjoyed both our flights there and back! We flew out of Oakland, California and the flight left on time and it was a smooth ride. When dealing with a budget airline, they charge you for everything! Which can easily take your budget ticket for inexpensive to pricey! We opted to not to buy an airline meal, I don’t like airplane food and I refuse to pay a premium! Lol Instead we brought plenty of snacks packed in our carry-on and even sandwiches from Subway!

Norwegian Airlines sells small meals and snacks during the flight at decent rates so it wasn’t a big deal. Norwegian allows one free carry-on and one free bag providing it fits within their size and weight requirements, so just read the fine print and you’ll be fine! For my personal item, I used this small rolling luggage bag which held all my purse, camera, makeup and more inside. Hasani used a side bag his is carry on. We paid for one bag to be checked, just in case we didn’t pack light enough.


Before booking our ticket, I read all the reviews I could find online about Norwegian Airlines, the majority were positive, I weeded out the reviews were you can tell the person is cranky regardless if they were flying first class!! I quickly discerned for my research that we’d skip WOW Airlines for our flight to London, the reviews weren’t good! Another way we saved some coins, is not choosing our seats, from all my research, if your tickets are purchased together than your seating assignment will also be together!

Which means me wonder, if we pay for one seating assignment will they still be grouped together!!


FOUR // Be flexible & Always be on the Hunt!

When it comes to planning your dream on-a-budget vacation to Europe be flexible with your dates, location and even the airport you fly out of! Being flexible circles back to tip one, visit in the low season! It’s amazing how much money you can save on your flight being open. When we first were planning our vacation, we were thinking of going to Spain or Portugal, but the airfare wasn’t aligning with our budget and we decided to shift gears. I’m all about making our money go farther and by looking into other options. I love visiting sites like TripAdvisor to look for airfare deals, I also check out their vacation specials and price out what makes more sense for our budget.

FIVE // Travel light and Avoid the Carry-on fees

It’s tempting when packing for your dream vacation to pack your entire wardrobe and bring every single pair of shoes you own. Super tempting. Since budget airlines charge you to baggage fees, read all the fine print and see what you can carry-on for free and what’s going to cost you. Also be realistic when packing and think along the lines of capsule wardrobe and mix and match jeans, with tops and layer. And try every single item and know when you’ll actually wear it! For our trip brought three pairs of shoes, one I wore on the plane (flats) a pair of riding boots for the rain. They where perfect for the weather and a fun dressy pair of Micheal Kors leopard sneakers, I love these MK sneakers too. these To save space in my carry-on I used travel storage bags to pack all my clothes inside. We also wore or heavy coat on the plane vs. trying to fit it inside our luggage. For our next trip across the pond, we’re upgrading our luggage, I was being cheap and the luggage we had sucked!


What are some of your tips for finding cheap airline tickets? And where is your dream trip?

The Girlfriends Guide to Sacramento

When Lauren was in town in June, we decided to play tourists in the city I call home, Sacramento. For those of you unfamiliar with Sacramento, it's the State Capitol of California about 1.5 hr drive from San Francisco. The City of Trees for its impressive urban forests, and we’re also America’s Farm to Fork Capital, local restaurants and grocery stores in Sacramento are all about sourcing local farm fresh ingredients.

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My city is also home of the NBA team the Sacramento Kings, although I’m a Lakers fan, Ssh don’t tell the locals. I love that Midtown Sacramento is very walkable and super bike friendly, seriously there are bike lanes everywhere around here along with super wide sidewalks. Even though its get crazy hot here, like in the 100's all the trees give off a great canopy of shade and make it feel much cooler on those triple digit days.

Lauren and I had such a fun weekend, exploring Sacramento together, it was fun to try out some new restaurants and sites together! It was so much fun sharing with her why I love Sacramento so much! We’re mixing up our Girlfriends Guides Guide and sharing our weekend itinerary with you, Lauren is going first sharing our Friday, and I’m sharing what we did on Saturday! 

Friday in Sacramento

When I was presented with the opportunity to visit Sacramento for the second time in two months, I jumped at the opportunity immediately.  Sacramento holds a special place in my heart because it is the first city that I ever visited in California and of course because it’s where Katrina lives!  Though I was only in town for a long weekend, we packed in a ton of activities and I got to see even more of this beautiful, vibrant city.

We started the day getting breakfast from the new cafe called Toasted.  It’s a restaurant that sells various types of fancy toast, both sweet and savory.  They have a pre-set menu or you can build your own toast creation.  We chose to build our own, but their in-house selections sounded delicious as well.


We then ventured to the coffee shop, Pachamama, and got lattes to go with our toast.  The decor was beautiful inside with pops of Tiffany blue paired with natural wood elements and exposed brick.  It was a great place to do some brainstorming because the vibe was great.


After breakfast we hit the pavement and strolled down Oak Park to visit their many unique shops. This is an up and coming area in Sacramento and has various restaurants and shops to appeal to everyone.  I loved the unique items in each shop.


The next stop was to the famous ice cream shop, Gunther’s, that has been around since 1941.  Walking inside was like a time warp with what I could imagine to be exactly how it looked in the 40’s.  Outside of their house made ice cream, they also sell shaved ice, freezes, and sandwiches.  Being my first trip here, I was so impressed with the quality of the ice cream.  They had so many different flavors, some that are hard to find in commercial ice cream shops (hello Butter Brickle!), so this was a real treat!  It was a hot day, so the ice cream was the perfect way to cool off.  We sat outside under an umbrella and enjoyed people-watching and chatting.


After ice cream, we headed to the WAL Public Market to check out their shops.  This is an indoor shopping center with unique shops, coffee shops and restaurants.  The shops here vary from vintage clothing to a record shop to a rug shop.

At this point in the day, it was time to check into the hotel that we were staying at that night, the Hyatt Regency Sacramento.  This hotel was in a perfect location with close proximity to all the great spots that Sacramento has to offer.  The hotel is located directly across from the state capital and we even had a perfect view of it from our room!  The hotel has so many awesome amenities such as a heated outdoor pool with cabanas, a cocktail bar, restaurant and a wellness spa.


After relaxing for a bit, we switched gears and headed out for the evening.  Our first stop was happy hour at Revival at The Sawyer, the rooftop bar located at the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel.  We are all about rooftop bars and try to fit them into all of our trips!  The inside of Revival was incredible and so beautiful.  It was very sleek and modern with touches of glamour.  Our drinks were delicious and the views from the rooftop were awesome!  The vibe was perfect and the music playing there set the scene just right.


Once happy hour was over, we headed to dinner at OBO Italian Table & Bar. Their focus is on simple, nourishing flavors of rustic Italy.  Once again, I was not disappointed with the decor or their artisan comfort food.  We ordered the “Dinner for Two” which includes a bottle of wine!


Afterward, we headed back to the hotel to have a poolside blog planning session where we exchanged ideas for our blogs and began planning out our next projects.  Our girl's trips are always fun and adventurous, but we also sneak in a little work here and there.

When we were done with our blog chat, we were in the mood for a late night sweet bite, so we headed to Rick’s Desserts which is an old-school diner serving a vast variety of desserts.  They are open late at night, and when we got there at 11:30 pm the line was nearly out the door (always a good sign!).  Let me tell you, their dessert was delicious!  We had the strawberry cream cake and peanut butter cookie.  It was the perfect ending to a fun-filled day!

Saturday in Sacramento

One of the things I was really excited about doing with Lauren was using JUMP Bike to get around Sacramento! As I mentioned earlier Sacramento is super bike friendly. JUMP Bike recently launched in Sacramento and they are so much fun! They are semi - motorized bikes allowing you to get around faster in an eco-friendly way.  Basically the faster you pedal, the faster you’ll go!! You reserve your bike through the JUMP Bike app and pick your bike up and then you're off to explore! 

It was such a fun ride; we laughed pretty much the entire time on the bikes. We rode our JUMP Bikes almost the entire day around Sacramento. We loved JUMP Bike so much we want to pass along the fun! We partnered with JUMP Bike to give you a Free 30 Minute Ride! Download the App and register to locate the nearest JUMP Bike and use code SACGUIDE30 for 30 minutes FREE! 


We had a blast on these bikes.  We rode our bikes from The Hyatt to Temple Coffee on S Street and placed our bikes on hold while hanging out and enjoyed our lattes. Temple is one of my favorite coffee spots in Sacramento and I love thier S Street location. 


One of my favorite new to me places for brunch in Sacramento is Paragary's.  The food and ambiance are both incredible! We couldn't resist a photo-op with our bikes parked outside of Paragary's.


After brunch we headed to the Midtown Farmers Market, it's one of my favorite Farmers Markets in Sacramento.  There’s a great mix of fruit and produce, flowers and craft items all together. It’s a great spot to people watch.


After the Farmers Market, we rode the JUMP Bikes around the State Capitol. It was so much fun! If you're a California native and never visited the State Capitol, it's a must! Capitol Park is so lovely and serene, its filled lush trees from all over the country and monuments including the International Peace Rose Garden. 


Me and my girl! We have so much fun together!! 


After our time spent in Sacramento, Lauren and I finished our weekend with a shopping day at the Palladio in Folsom! Read more about the fun we had there! 

We're so excited about our next girls trip!  This time I'm flying to the East Coast.  Crossing our fingers we'll be hanging out again soon, drinking lattes, soaking up all the sights and exploring a new to us city together! Check out our recent Girlfriends Guides here: San Francisco, Sonoma, and Chicago