A European vacation can still be cheaper, if visited during off-season, according to travel service provider Gate 1 Travel. Experts suggest that traveling between November and March can save on a good sum of pennies. Here are some reasons why a winter trip to Europe provides a budget-friendly vacation option:

Fewer Crowds: Crowds are significantly decreased in the fall and winter, as compared to summer. Fewer crowds equal more time to enjoy sites at a leisurely pace.

Lower fuel costs: Summer is traditionally the time when fuel prices begin to spike, which means more fuel surcharges and increased airfare costs. By booking a trip in the off-season, vacationers can save hundreds on the cost of plane tickets, advises Gate 1 Travel.

Five star hotels at three star prices: “Off-season vacationing in Europe means there are plenty of options for hotel rooms,” according to Marty Seslow, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Gate 1 Travel. “Hotels are willing to offer steep discounts to fill rooms, allowing consumers to stay in hotels that originally might have been out of their price range.”

A low-cost Thanksgiving Day alternative: Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, which means prices for transportation and accommodations go up. Since Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Europe, prices stay at their low, off-season price, making it a great alternative to vacationing in America.

European Christmas Markets: Christmas markets are a tradition in more than a dozen cities throughout Europe. With smaller crowds, travelers can explore handmade crafts, unique food, live nativity scenes and special celebrations in a peaceful holiday atmosphere.


A woman takes a walk through the snow covered landscape at lake Spitzingsee, southern Germany November 25, 2010. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle