My family and I are tentatively planning a trip to Europe (Munich & Budapest) in June 2008 and I am wondering when I should buy tickets (2 adults + 2 kids). I realize that buying them in advance probably won't be much of a savings, but I don't want to wait too long and be out of luck, either.
Most airlines won't ticket more than 12 months in advance. Even 6 to 9 months runs the risk of your flights being cancelled / rescheduled as airlines adjust their timetables each season. What I would do is take a look at what June 2007 prices are. (Frankfurt and London are often the cheapest places to fly into and out of from the US, and you can catch high speed rail from Frankfurt and low-cost airline flights to and from London as well as Frankfurt-Hahn.) Then in the fall I would start searching airfare for June 2008 and use the price you found now has a rough baseline. Try to beat it by as much as possible if you can.
I agree with the last poster.Realize the fares are just getting higher and higher every yr, and w/ fuel surcharges going up etc. As I go ea yr I have seen large increases from west coast out. the good thing is you are on east coast where fares are quite good and usually have good sales,ie sales posted in spring for summmer etc. However you need 4 seats another challenge. I would reserve no later than Feb 2008 for summer 08. And sign up for all major airlines(that go to Germany from Boston) email specials.Watch them carefully and keep checking. It can be time consumming only you can determine how much effort you want to make. If you do not want to be so involved, ck with a travel agent that can get consolidator tickets.
If you can - start buying this Nov or Dec... while some of the big arilines have specials for summer posting as soon as Feb/Mar - I noticed my tickets for AUGUST LAX-to-Zurich tickets went up from 990$ to 1200$ to 1500$ in 2-3months. The under 1000-directs go fast - but fuel charges keep increasing. So work with a good agent (or the airline-web direct) and start getting estimates. Its tought paying so much in advance - but unless you get some super-mutli-hop special - direct flights usually just get more expensive as the dates near!