If I was going to travel in June or July (but not of this year), when would be the best time to get reasonable tickets?
I always have bought my tickets by February for summer travel to Europe when possible.
Airline, Rail Pass or point-to-point rail tickets?
I would begin checking for airline tickets (and watch if they are going up or down) in January.
I would start checking Rick Steves's Rail Passes in December, January and February. We bought (within the 1st three months of year) the 10-day pass and got 1 extra day free.
Point-to-point rail tickets buy at the station when you get there.
There are airline tickets specials but I am not familiar with them.
Oops, sorry, I forgot to say airline tickets. Thanks for the replies
Billie, on my off years or on (European Travel) I watch ticket prices. I have seen 20 years of special deals that come up when I can't go (Jan-May & Oct-Nov) and I've seen prices go up as it gets closer to summer and go down. Too early and you pay quite a bit more; too late and the same is true. I've bought my tickets shortly after the spring break travel season and usually (not so much this year) there is a lull in purchasing and they run some little specials. Today my ticket for PDX-LGW is $200 more and in that week as much as $500 more. I wouldn't wait past early April unless you want to take a gamble and try Priceline. I heard just today that the travel is so packed that those who have taken the "bump" bonus (free travel) are taking 2-5 days to get to their destination. I won't be doing that this year!
For June travel, I have always wound up buying in the February/March time frame, prices seem to dip a bit, but availability is still good that I get the seats and flights I want. A good tip mentioned already is to start checking now and check on several sites, including the airlines, big travel sites (Expedia, Travelocity) and consolidators (Airgorilla.com, Airlineconsolidator.com) That way you can pick up the cost difference between them (watch out whether all fees are included) and you know a good "trigger price", meaning if you see a deal, you'll know it and can grab it. Once you get your tickets, forget about price. You will go crazy if you try to get the very best deal, make your decision and go with it.