Q. I'm finding that flights from Washington to almost anywhere in Europe are quite expensive for travel this summer. Washington to Paris is $1100 or more including taxes. Should we wait to buy? Will fares come down?
A. Two summers ago, $1100 summer fares to Europe would have seemed like a bargain, but last summer fares from the East Coast from Europe came way down, often to the $700 range. However, we noticed that average fares from Washington Dulles to Europe were higher than from other airports. It's impossible to predict if airfares will come down, especially to Paris, which has typically been more expensive to fly into than other European cities such as Dublin, Frankfurt, Zurich and Madrid. United recently offered summer fares from Washington to Madrid for summer 2010 travel for just $600 including taxes on nonstop flights, which is a good deal. Airfarewatchdog suggests that you be somewhat flexible in your destination and land where it's cheapest and then perhaps take a train or low cost European carrier onward. And check fares on your desired routes every day starting next spring, because airlines often have "flash sales" that are unadvertised. Be sure, also, to sign up for our free fare alerts on Washington to Europe routes.