"Guide to Low-Budget Travel"
As little as a few years ago, flying used to be the refuge of the privileged few - those who could afford massive fares in order to get from country to country by airplane. But now, "jetting around Europe" and heading from one country to another on a whim is something accessible to all levels of society, from big shot investment bankers to students working their way through college, as ticket prices drop as low as 22.99 for a one-way fare. It's easier if you're already based in Europe, of course - London, for example, has access to nearly all cheap routes through its status as hub for many of these carriers. But low-cost carriers also can help a European trip to one country turn into several as you hop between Paris, Lisbon, Rome, and back again.
THE BASICS: Low-cost air carriers are safe but simple carriers - the three most famous are Ryanair, Easyjet, and Air Berlin - that make their money by selling extremely cheap tickets - sometimes even giving a limited number of seats for free, but charging for extras and skimping on amenities - don't expect free food, a television, or comfortable seating. Costs can be as low as free (plus tax) and as high as a couple hundred for seriously in-demand flights, but tend to, stay below 50 euro.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR: Airport tax and fees. While easyjet tells you what you owe up-front, Ryanair promises "free" or "1 euro" tickets that cost a great deal more (more than Easyjet, usually), when you add in fees. Also, baggage limits are low, and you have to pay for anything more than hand baggage, and very high rates apply for overweight bags. Ryanair also makes you check in online, and charges you an extortionate amount if you forget and need to do it on-site. So keep watch that you don't break any "rules" - or your low-cost carrier may end up costing you more than a regular one.