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Round Trip vs. One way to Europe Now and in a Year

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I'm a rookie at the air travel scene, especially international. I'm going to Europe for a year to study, leaving mid-August 2011, but not coming back until mid-July. Airlines won't let me book that far in advance. One way tickets (say, SFO to London, using, say KLM or British Air for examples) are around $1,400.

Using the same airlines, I've found some round trip fares for around $1,100 to $1,200 TOTAL, if I put in a "dummy" date in May.

Also, searching some of the discount web fares, I can sometimes find a one way for around $800.

What's the best way to go about booking something like this? Go with the Round Trip flight and then pay a change fee later on? Or just buy a one way and until I can buy the other one way when it's available, and just search for the best deal?

Thanks for any help.


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