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How Australians can travel in style this Euro summer

From updated visa requirements to Euro pricing consideration — and even the best Premium Economy seating, courtesy of Emirates’ new luxury offering.
By Hayley Peppin


EACH YEAR, thousands of sun-chasing Aussies abandon our brutal winter for a European summer. Or, as I like to call it Aperol season. But walks along the Seine, island-hopping in Croatia and those rite of passage visits to Harrods might look a little differently this time compared with pre-pandemic travels. The classic international holiday has not only drastically increased in price — our hunger for travel has never been greater since deprivation— but sees a few new visitor rules, such as the ETI’s visa, come into effect.

On the plus side, long haul flights have become that much more comfortable with the world’s most luxurious premium cabins being launched in Australia, courtesy of Emirates. The swish new offering is even touted as on par with business class in “some other airlines,” so you can travel in style without compromising on that clifftop stay at Caruso, A Belmond Hotel on the Amalfi Coast. BAZAAR breaks down all the Euro travel advice to ensure you live out your Euro fantasies with zero disruption.

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How expensive is a European summer holiday in 2023?

The travel advice is simple: don’t procrastinate, book now. European summer holidays have never been more expensive for Australians than in 2023, with fares almost 50 per cent higher than the same period last year — and increasing. The average price for a return economy flight from Australia to top Euro destinations like London or Paris has skyrocketed to $2,571, according to flight comparison website For perspective, air fares are now 63 per cent above pre-pandemic flights.

The Guardian reports that the hefty 2023 increase shouldn’t come as a surprise — with most carriers hoping to financially recover from COVID-19 related losses while mitigating high fuel costs. And with our lust for travel at an all-time high, they’re able to confidently set such air fares.


“Sadly what has happened since Covid is that travel has gone from being something very democratic that just about anyone earning even a modest salary could afford to being a plaything of the elite or for people paying huge amounts of money just to see loved ones,” David Beirman, an adjunct fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, told The Guardian.

He continued: “Maybe by 2024 or 2025 people will be a bit more choosy, less eager to travel, and prices will come down but at the moment it’s very much a sellers market and airlines are, rightfully or wrongfully, taking advantage of that.”

As for accomodation, hotels in Europe have become that much more expensive this year as well due to soaring energy prices. Between May 2019 and May 2022, the average hotel room rate rose 23 per cent in Italy, 21 per cent in Ireland, 17 per cent in Spain and 12 per cent in the UK, reports Traveller. And it’s expected to increase even more this summer. Australian travel industry experts anticipate a 25 per cent increase in hotel prices in the top summer destinations of Greece and Croatia in 2023 with tour operators planning trips around Turkey facing between 20 percent to nearly 50 per cent increase in room rates, in euros.

Related: Five communication tips for your next excursion to Paris

How to have an affordable European holiday in 2023

If you’ve got the Euro travel bug but are on a budget, don’t worry you can still have your “revenge holiday” but with a few considerations. Firstly, be mindful of your arrival destination as while Lisbon may average a costly return ticket of $2,963 during peak summer — Frankfurt is a more affordable. According to the Kayak booking data, the German city is the cheapest European city to fly into from Australia with an average return fare of $2,371 during the June to September period.


More generally, travellers on a budget should consider visiting lesser-known cities and countries than some of the notoriously expensive tourist hotspots. It’s advised they also book a solid itinerary prior to departure, rather than the classic Aussie mentality of ‘winging it’ upon arrival. Time Out recommends holidaymakers check out Kraków, Poland; Riga, Latvia; Český Krumlov, Czech Republic; Bucharest, Romania; Belgrade, Serbia; Kaunas, Lithuania; Zagreb, Croatia; Argos, Greece; Marsalforn, Malta; and Sofia, Bulgaria as some of the most interesting, delicious and affordable locations on the Continent this year.

But if your heart (and tummy) desire Eiffel Tower views or pasta alla carbonara, perhaps consider forfeiting a Euro summer altogether for the off-peak ’shoulder season.’ The more affordable period sits on the cusp of peak season, either before summer during April or May — or after it in September or early October. Prices tend to rise during school breaks and summer holidays. As travel blogger Jen of The Soloist wrote to an Instagram post: “One of the absolute BEST times to travel is during shoulder season anyways!!”

She continued: “‘Shoulder season’ is an off-peak period when a destination has less crowds, lower prices, and milder weather,” she continued. “It’s a great way to get a more authentic experience, while spending less for the same fabulous hotel rooms!”

You can also expect airfare prices to lower during shoulder season, with the biggest drops at some of the most popular destinations. This could mean a potential upgrade from your usual flight cabin, such as Emirates’ new Premium Economy.

Related: The only way to see the Amalfi Coast next summer


Best premium economy seats

If you’re dreaming of business class but still need to save on spending money, Emirates may be your happy travel medium. Long known as one of the world’s best carriers, Emirates has recently launched its luxurious Premium Economy seating following an eight-year multi-million-dollar refurbishment. On April 19, the airline introduced its daily Airbus A380 Premium Economy services from Melbourne to Dubai, making it the the fifth city on the Emirates’ network to offer the upgraded economy seating options. This follows successful Sydney’s debut last December.

Now, if you’re wondering whether there’s much of a difference between Economy and Premium Economy, there is. Emirates is comparing the new offering to business class cabins of the late ’80s and early ’90s, with its 56 Premium Economy plush leather seats unusually sitting at the front of the plane. It’s laid out in an ergonomic and spacious 2-4-2 configuration, meaning couples won’t have that awkward third wheel (it happens) — and families can comfortably stretch out in the aisle row. There’s almost a metre of legroom, in-seat charging points, a generous 43-centimetre entertainment screen, and a walnut wood-finished side cocktail table; much like the sophisticated business class aesthetic.


As for on-flight dining, let’s just say you won’t want to pre-purchase anything to take on board. Passengers are treated to champagne on arrival (only the best way to start a trip, right?), and nthoughtfully-curated meals using seasonal ingredients served on Royal Doulton china tableware with stainless-steel cutlery. There’s also a dedicated Premium Economy crew with three bathrooms for the 56-seat cabin, so you won’t have to line up during the evening.

Premium economy passengers will also get priority boarding, plus a generous 35 kilograms of checked luggage. Since tickets went on sale on June 1, 2022, Emirates says there’s been “significant demand” for the new cabin, exceeding expectations and forecast. In terms of Premium Economy pricing, you’re looking at around $2,700 each way from London via Dubai, with “shoulder-season” tickets around $2000 each way. It’s definitely a taste of flying luxury at a fraction of the business cost.

“This is an exciting period for Emirates in Australia, with Melbourne and Sydney sitting at the forefront of Emirates biggest investment in cabin redesign to date,” Barry Brown, Divisional Vice President Australasia at Emirates, said.

“We have a strong commitment to Australia, as one of our most important markets on our global network. Alongside continued increase of operations as we make a strong rebound, we are committed to offering Australians more choice in how they travel, and look forward to offering travellers between Melbourne an exceptional new experience.”

Bookings can be made on, the Emirates App, or via both online and offline travel agents.

Related: Here’s how you can fight jet lag naturally


What is the ETIAS visa?

Australians travelling to France, Denmark or even Croatia (one of the latest countries to join the Schengen Area) will soon need to apply for a visa waiver program. Coming into effect next year, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System or ETIAS will require Australia and more than 63 other non-European Union countries to apply online for pre-screening. For clarity, the ETIAs is not a visa — but intended to waive the requirement for it. The new mandatory pre-travel authorisation is a largely automated IT system created to identify any security risks, much like the eligibility of travellers heading into the US. 

Travellers can access the ETIAS application online, which is said to take around 10 minutes to fill out. It’ll ask applicants to fill out standard contact details, including full name, address, passport information, as well as the first EU country they intend to visit. There will also be questions about criminal history, drug use, human trafficking and previous European travels. The link will be made available next year, with the application to cost $11 for each Australian applicant aged between 18 and 70. The ETIAs is permissible up to 90 days, with longer travel in the Schengen Area requiring Schengen Visa.

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