How To Find Cheap Flights to Germany

As an expat living in Germany myself, I find myself wanting to fly back home often to see family but when I start looking at the prices of flights, it almost always stops me in my travel planning tracks! Same goes for when I am trying to convince a friend or family member to come explore Germany with us here. I get them all excited about seeing castles, wandering on cobblestones, and devouring Schnitzles but as soon as they realize the cost of international flights, most start to fear that an international trip really may be more of a fantasy than a reality right now. After all, flights are typically the biggest chunk of an international travel budget, so it’s understandable to want to get that price as low as possible.

Now, I’m not saying I’m some magical cheap flight finding genie, but after almost 15 years of extensive international travels, it’s safe to say I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve when trying to find the best flight prices possible! Add to that the fact that Andy are known for being extreme budget travelers and you’ve got yourself a cheap flight finding expert!

That isn’t to say that I always find magical unicorn prices hiding in the deep dark corners of Skyscanner. And to be completely honest, sometimes, no matter how many hours I spend tediously price-checking every trick in my playbook, there just isn’t a stellar deal to be found. But in those cases, I feel good about at least giving it the old college try!

According to sources like Money and Hopper (a popular travel booking platform), US to Europe flights have gone up 36% since 2019 with an average flight to Europe now costing about $1,167! Those prices used to be high season costs but now that is the norm! (Wah Wah!!!)

So, from flash deals to price mistake fares (those are some of my favorites!) to new route promotions and more, here is exactly how I find the best affordable flights to Germany (well, or anywhere!) to help keep travel costs down. Afterall, the more money saved from a flight is more Beer and Pretzels I can have at a local Biergarten!!!

2 planes flying in a sunset sky

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Step 0: Consider Travel Hacking

I’m not including this as an official step because it is its own beast when it comes to budget travel in and of itself. (So much so, that I’ve written an entire article on How to Use Points and Miles To Get to Europe because it’s too much for this article today). It is also not for everyone.

However, if you are truly wanting to practically eliminate the entire “Cost of Flights” section from your trip planning spreadsheet and budget, Travel Hacking is absolutely the (yes, legal!) way to go! In fact, we’ve been traveling hacking since 2009 and have had more “free” flights from points and miles than we can even count by this point. It’s made travel an actual possibility even when finances are tight! And while it does have a small learning curve, it’s totally do-able for most people.

Step 1: Start the Research

In this particular scenario, I’m going to assume since you are on the WanderInGermany site that you are planning a trip that includes Germany. So, at least we’ve got the destination already figured out….well,, sort it. You probably are wondering WHICH airport to fly into based on itinerary and of course, for the sake of argument for this article, price concerns. But let’s circle back to that in a few steps because that can actually be part of our research.

Googe Flights: In recent years, I almost 100% always start with to start getting a general idea of which airlines are flying where as well as approximate flight prices for the general dates that I want. However, not all airlines are listed here. For example, RyanAir isn’t even on Google Flights. However, for the main airlines that you’ll need for an international flight, it’s got most of the players that you’ll want to compare. Again, this is just a starting point.

Step 2: Get Flexible

lady writing on a calendar

If you truly need to find the cheapest flights to Germany, you are going to need to be flexible. I know that’s not always ideal based on your personal schedule, itinerary or circumstances, but I’m just telling you what you need to do to attempt a lower price fare.

Be Flexible With Dates

This is a pretty standard piece of advice for finding better flight deals, but it’s because it really is tried and true. When I say be flexible, this can be anything from “Can I leave on a Monday instead of a Wednesday?” to “What if I try going in February instead of June?”

Sometimes flexibility with dates isn’t possible and I know that you may have already narrowed down the Best Time to Visit Germany, but if you REALLY need to save money, this is the first step to play around with.

Important Note: Prices absolutely SKY rocket anytime there is a school holiday in Germany. Unfortunately, each state in Germany has a different holiday/ break schedule so I can’t just list them out here easily. However, know that anytime around school breaks, it can be an absolutely shocking high price for flights.

Examples of Extremely High Tourist Season/ High Flight Costs:

  • Summer Holidays (Typically Beginning of August- September)
  • Christmas Time
  • Oktoberfest

Try Different Airports in Germany

munich airport flight times on a departure board

It’s not always the most convenient option to fly into a different airport than you originally intended/ wanted but it can sometimes be the cheapest option! For example, I only live an hour away from Munich, so of course flying in/out of MUC would be the most logical option! However, flights in and out of Frankfurt can sometimes be a fraction of the price! In that case, an affordable train ticket plus an extra 1.5 of travel time on the train is worth the cost savings for me personally.

I also find that there are often really good deals to Berlin. Maybe you were originally planning on just exploring Southern Germany, but when you see prices for Berlin, it’s worth asking yourself if you want to add 2 Days in Berlin, take the 4 hour high speed train to Munich a few days later, and save money on your flight!

Step 3: Sign Up For Alerts/ Deals

Google Flights Track Pricing button and email alert notification

I am a huge proponent and user of the “Going” platform. I’ve been using it for ages now and we’ve scored so many flash sales or mistake fares that we easily have saved in the 10s of thousands of dollars range just from using Going. (No, this is not sponsored!) There are other similar websites like Holiday Pirates or The Flight Deal, but I’ve never used either so I can’t personally vouch for them.

Flash Sales: Occasionally airlines will put out flash sales, I see this a lot if there is a seasonal deal or if they are opening up a new route.

Mistake Fares: This is when an airline accidentally puts out the wrong price for a flight. They usually catch the mistake within about 24 hours so you have to act FAST before they change it! Occasionally, they find a way to weasel out of the price (and you get a refund), but typically if you can get it booked before it’s corrected, then it is a legit and legal ticket that you just scored!

Google Alerts: If you just want to keep an eye on prices for specific flights, you can also turn on Google Flight Alerts to see if there are any changes in prices.

  1. To track prices for any route, first put in your desired origin and destination (you can do this for as many route options as you like)
  2. Choose specific dates or even choose “Any Dates”
  3. Toggle the “Track prices” option.
  4. Get emails regarding significant price changes!

Step 4: Consider Budget Airlines (Optional)

ryan air plane flying in the air with a blue sky behind

You may be saying, “Optional!? Why should this step be optional….shouldn’t BUDGET Airlines be one of the first places I look!?”

Patience my budget travel Grasshopper. Patience. Let me explain. There are a few examples where using a budget airline MAY be a good option. However, I have found for the vast majority of travelers, it actually isn’t really worth it.

Depending on your origin, there may be some shockingly good prices for budget airlines that fly direct from places like NYC to Berlin, for example. I’ve seen deals like this with airlines like Play Airline (An Iceland Airline) or Aer Lingus. These are often bare bones flights (no free luggage and sometimes not even a meal on the plane!) but if the route works out for you, then these can often be amazing deals. However, I often find that unless your starting origin is from one of these main hubs, it’s simply not worth it to have to book separate flights to get to NYC, Boston, etc and by that point, it’s better and easier to just book all on one ticket elsewhere.

Get to Europe THEN Use a Budget Airline to Get to Germany

Sometimes there are really good flights to somewhere else in Europe, like to London or Rome. This is kind of like the reverse of the above option and again, isn’t always worth the actual hassle. For example, let’s say you find a deal that can’t be beat into London from your desired origin. You then see that it’s only $49 to fly from London to Munich! Now we’re talking, right!?

Wrong. Be sure you fully understand ALL these details. In this particular scenario (but it’s often the case regardless of your destination), budget airlines don’t always fly to the same airports as the major airlines. So, you might fly into London Heathrow with United but then you have to change complete airports to London Stansted just to get the Ryan Air Flight. Then, you fly to Memminghem (Munich) which isn’t even Munich itself!

I mean, I have literally done the exact above example just to save some cash, so I’m not saying that it’s not worth it. However, it IS a pretty big hassle and a lot of variables that can go wrong (different tickets, switching airports, redoing security, flight delays, etc) that it is a pretty big risk. (And we haven’t even touched on watching out for those pesky budget airline fees that get you around every corner!)

Step 5: Go Straight to the Source(s)

Recently, with airlines really struggling economically, I’ve seen the reoccurring trend that when you go straight to the airline’s website itself there will be a better price than anywhere else currently. This is in an effort to intice you to book directly and it can be well worth it! Sometimes, it’s the same prices I’ve seen on the other sources, but again, at this point, I just want to make sure I have left no stone unturned for money saving options.

Step 5: Start Comparing

Once I have a general idea for approximate flight prices for the dates that I want and destination, I start seeing if any sites can show me anything lower. The reality is that most sites like Kayak, Skyscanner, etc all have extremely similar databases and I honestly don’t see a huge difference in one over the other. But, since it only takes a few minutes to just glance at each, I do that for due diligence’s sake! The benefit in using something like Skyscanner is that it also pulls in a few extra budget airlines that aren’t always covered in Google Flights.

Usually, I don’t see anything that catches my breath and makes me book a flight ASAP at this point, but at least I’m getting a feel for things like, “Ok, Lufthansa looks like it has decent routes and prices to Frankfurt instead of Munich” or “Really United!? You want to charge HOW MUCH!? NO THANK YOU!”

Step 6: When Is the Best Time To Book a Flight to Europe?

Check out this amazing CHOCOLATE model airplane at the Rausch Schokoladenhaus in Berlin!

There are about as many rumors to the right timing of booking flights as there are flights themselves! You’ve probably already heard most of them and the reality is that there isn’t a TON of validity to most of them. However, if you want to try them out, it really won’t hurt or even take much added effort. So, you can see if the following variables give you better results:

  • Cheaper to Buy On a Tuesday? Meh. Most people in the travel industry don’t really believe this. But, put on a flight alert and see if you find a pattern yourself.
  • Search Incognito: This is hit or miss which is why I actually do tend to stick to incognito windows when looking for prices of flights. It has definitely happened though because of the tracking cookies, a flight I was searching for went up (we knew this because I’ve seen it where my price went up but a friend/my husband/ etc looks and they saw the original price)

Nobody can actually predict pricing for flights. That being said, I typically find that flights are the best prices around the 5 month mark. It is still far enough out that you will have had time to keep an eye on the prices for a few weeks (or even months if you are really diligent) but not close enough that prices have spiked. Waiting until 1-3 months out is risky and more often than not, they are actually at the highest then.

Step 7: Make a Decision and Book

flying to germany with kids
Flying to Munich with the family

Unless I came across a too good to be true deal the very first time I looked or I got a mistake price/ flash fare alert that needs to be acted on RIGHT NOW, rarely do I quickly pull out my wallet and book a flight within the first few days of looking.

I usually give it about a week or 2 to see if I notice any changes, any trends, and to keep my options open. Of course, if it looks like prices are going up, I will often pull the trigger, but generally, I want to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

As you can see, this method isn’t going to win any “Secret Methods To Getting Insanely Cheap Flights to Germany” awards (sorry, they just don’t exist as much as us budget travelers want them to, aside from Travel Hacking) but it is going to ensure that if you’ve decided to book a flight to Germany that you’ve at least gotten the best price possible!

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