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When to buy airline tickets

Hello, I am backpacking Europe this summer and planning to fly in and out of London. A few weeks ago, round trip airline tickets were right around $1,000 USD. Now the cheapest I can find ar closer to $1,300 USD. Will they go back down or should I buy now before the get any more expensive? Thanks!
Laura

Posted by
13442 posts

Prices go up and down and are hard to predict. Also they change based on the dates you travel, often within the same week. Use Kayak.com and look at flights on the dates you need to go. Kayak also has a feature called "price trend" on the left panel. They give you advice on whether to buy or wait.

Posted by
7199 posts

Generally speaking, May tickets have been running about $1,100, and the Summer tickets have been in the $1,500 range. The airlines are getting better at controlling prices, as demand goes up and down. You may find a flight that is discounted, but it's probably just available for a day or two. You're looking at full airplanes this Summer. Tuesday and Wednesday flights have a chance of being slightly cheaper. And flying into Amsterdam or one of the large German airports have a chance of being cheaper than London Heathrow. If you can get the flight for $1,300, go for it.
Many on this forum would suggest you fly open jaw, into one city and out of another at the far end of your odyssey.

Posted by
2081 posts

hi, My trip early last year i was monitoring monthly the prices for a whole year before i purchased them. i didnt see much difference. When i took another trip later in oct, i did the same but 7 months out and noticed that for my trip over there, the prices went up about 300 USD 3 months before i wanted to leave. I ended up paying the 300 USD more. This year, its about 300 USD more to get over there and prics havent changed since the start of 2013 so in a month im going to start buying my tickets. hey, sometimes you get the the bear and sometimes the bear gets you... happy trails.

Posted by
4835 posts

Do you have any flexibility on your dates?
I've found prices usually jump a couple hundred dollars sometime in mid-May (e.g. price departing on May 15th is several hundred dollars less than price departing on May 22nd).

Posted by
13513 posts

You may find it cheaper to fly into someplace other than London. Heathrow, where most flights from the US end up, is an expensive airport. I just tried a search on Kayak, using Denver as your airport. Flights into Frankfurt came in less than flights to London. So get creative, try oprn jaw, vary your dates a bit. But don't expect the fares to go down much if at all. I have been tracking fares on one airline ( British) for particular dates in July (2 to 17) for 3 months now, looking at RT London and Zurich. The fare is the highest I have ever seen and has not varied since early January,,apart from minor variations due to currency fluctuations. SEA to LHR has stayed above $1800 (!), with SEA to Zurich ( with a stop at LHR) about $200 LESS. Both fares are about $400 more than what I have seen (and paid) for summer travel in the past.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for your help everyone! I found multi city tickets from Denver to Paris and then Amsterdam to Denver for $1200. I was thinking of flying into Paris and them traveling through France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Czech rep, Germany, and back to Amsterdam. I am going for two months. Does it make sense to fly into Paris and out of Amsterdam? Or should I go for multi city with cities a little farther apart?

Posted by
9110 posts

Put the dots on a map. Connect them with the shortest lines possible. Shoot for arriving at one end an departing from the other. If you have to back up a notch to find a cheaper flight, compare the offset of land transportation cost to getting to the new departure point. Also look at a straight round trip with land or cheap air to get back to the one-point international spot. What's going to give you fits is that you've got a tight nucleus except for the two long Spain and Italy sticks.

Posted by
2081 posts

hi again, if youre travel is flexible, then try to make your flights the same. as someone mentioned about connecting the dots, you can do that, i do and try to take the shortest route. sometimes you have to go off the path to get where you want to go too. i found out that i can get direct flights from PDX to AMS so i try to use that as much as possilbe even it it cost me a few hundred USD more. why? because i went to the same place before with 2 layovers and it cost me 6 hours more time in airports and security. I didnt save that much $$. The cost/savings benefit is up to you. also as others have mentioned, look at flying out of different citys and days of the week can make a world of dif. To make a point. that AMS trip, i was going to fly home from Paris on a Sunday. 1 way tickets were 1200 USD on a Sunday. So i looked at flying out on a Monday/Tuesday and it dropped to 600 USD. So, i looked at flying out of AMS on a weekday and it was the same....no brainer here...travel to AMS for 3 days and add one more city to my trip...yes i probably spent more or as much for the sunday flight, but i had way more fun. looking for flights and such can be time consuming, but can learn alot for the next time. happy trails.