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What is the best time to buy tickets for Europe? This is one question that plagues many visitors irrespective of whether they are going on a honeymoon trip or a family trip or for backpacking experience. So we did some deep study to analyze flight booking pattern to find what could be the best time to book flight to Europe from America. Many travelers live in the notion that buying tickets several months in advance will help them buy tickets at bargain price. Recent industry analysis shows that this conventional wisdom may not hold true anymore, not at least to Europe, since travelers who booked their tickets either too early or too late ended up paying more than they should have. There are many more interesting things that came out from the study, so fasten your seatbelts to take off into the wealth of information that we bring to you in this article. It is a common sense that when you fly offseason you save couple hundred dollars on fair. But when your travel time is fixed, any savings on fare will depend on when you buy your ticket.
Book your tickets six months in advance
The dynamic for summer flight to Europe is very different from domestic routes. We went through huge pile of data to find the best price to travel to Europe based on historical data. We were surprised to see that the best time to buy the ticket was 319 days before departure. This is roughly about ten months in advance. The fares remained pretty flat until about 7 months and then it started picking up and then it only went higher and higher and never really looked back.
Generally no one wants to catch a flight very early in the morning like around 5 or 6 A.M. and so the prices drop sharply for these schedules. The flights that leave late and arrive very early in the morning are also very undesirable, but they can be very comfortable compared to prime time like afternoon.
Ditch the summer
Fare prices depend on which part of the summer you plan to travel. Usually best fair prices are available at later part of August. But somehow if late summer doesn’t work out for you, you can consider even early. When we say this we mean early part of June.
Just like there are major discount at many supermarkets after a festive season, even airlines follow suit. The cheapest time to fly to Europe is just after New Year’s Day and it goes all the way till end of March. Summer is the most expensive time to travel to Europe, yet many airlines offer sale on June travel if you buy tickets in April.
Keep yourself flexible in terms of travel dates
Be little flexible in terms if travel date and try various combination to see what date works out best since prices for all days are not same. The fare cost to Europe is so high that even 5 to 10% drop can result in saving you hundreds of dollars. Generally Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the most expensive days to travel. But even then there are anomalies, so you need to check. Some days fare can be unexpectedly high due to a big group on board.
Change your airport
Some time the city that you fly from also makes a big difference on your fare. Try flying from major city, if you can. In case you don’t know, you pay premium on European flight flying out of small airport. So if there is a small airport in your city and there is another larger airport away from your city but within driving distance, you should consider doing some cost benefit analysis on fare differences.