Traveling overseas can seem out of reach, especially the deeper you get into the American heartland. All those flight transfers can add up on your itinerary — and your budget. But if you live in or near these four cities in the Midwest, Europe may have just come a lot closer to you: WOW Air is bringing $99 one-way fares to Iceland to Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Detroit.
Like a lot of budget airlines, WOW Air is super no-frills. You may have to pay extra for baggage or carry-ons, and seating is definitely maximized for efficiency rather than luxury. But Reykjavik has become a major hub city, with other budget airlines letting you hop over to Europe for a song. The largest budget airline serving the continent, the British Isles, and Ireland is Ryanair, which can bring you to locations like Dublin, Stockholm, Madrid, and Frankfurt, as well as Israel and Morocco.
One way to save on flights is traveling in and out of secondary airports — say, Paris Beauvais rather than Charles de Gaulle or Orly. While Paris Beauvais is farther from the city, a 75-minute shuttle operates out of the airport and brings you right to the city center. Do some research on what budget airlines are like before you book. Some of the rules and expectations may be different from what you're used to, such as late schedule changes and no wiggle room for being late to a departure gate.
Airfare aggregators like Kayak can help you find other discount airlines both to and within Europe. Look through FlyLC and CheapFlightsSearch for other options. Don't forget Europe's excellent rail systems — if you've never tried railroad travel, you may find you love it. The time-honored Eurail pass is your best friend in that case.
WOW Air already operates in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. The new Midwestern flights won't start until next spring (April for Detroit, May for Cleveland, Cincinnati, and St. Louis), but tickets for those locations are already on sale. And even if you're not planning on branching out after landing in Reykjavik, you could do a lot worse than vacationing in Iceland.