How long would you wait to book???

Reply

Jan 20th, 2012, 10:37 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
How long would you wait to book???

I'm planning a trip to Tanzania and Rwanda early October 2012.

Got some great advice here recently on what day/time was best for booking (from a cost perspective). Also was advised late January was optimal booking time. But I've been checking the KLM and kayak.com website almost daily and not much change in flight pricing from US mainland west coast to JRO.

When I booked a trip to Kenya August 2010 it cost ~$2,000, which is similar to what I am seeing now (San Francisco or LA to JRO). However, I recall looking at flights in Sept 2010 and the price was about $600. less. I figured this was relative to Aug being high season, and low season starting in Sept. So how come Oct is so expensive? I checked flight costs for Feb and March 2012 which are running <$1500!

So now I wonder if it's best to book a few months (vs 9 months) before I want to leave? If that's true, then the concern is there might be no seats available? Does anyone know if these flights typically get fully booked throughout the year?

Can some of you seasoned travelers comment on this from your personal experience? How many months in advance is the latest you would wait to book (without inducing too much stress about not getting a seat)?

Appreciate your feedback!
live_aloha is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2012, 03:52 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Travelzoo highlights the best deals. The Deal Experts. $23 & up -- Flights to LA & San Francisco on Sale Travel through April www.travelzoo.com/airfareHotels in Tanzania
www.travelzoo.com/hotel-deals/Tanzania.html

Good personal experience here also vacationstogo.com
Allen Fox our of Houston very knowledgeable on deals discounts.

Happy Planning!
qwovadis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2012, 08:59 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
Thanks, qwovadis---I'll take a look!
live_aloha is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 22nd, 2012, 08:14 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
You ask about flights, but I'll turn the subject to gorilla permits. Those are the pieces of this trip that are in shortest supply. I'd nail down those first.

Without inside info on the airlines or flights, I think everybody has your questions. There are so many factors to consider in pricing and availability and some of those factors are volatile markets, wars, etc. Who can predict?

Sometimes, especially at the airline site itself, you can proceed through the booking process and halt short of paying to see seat availability. I'll also call the airline and ask about seats still available.

Personally, when I see a price I am willing to pay, I book it and don't worry about what I paid vs. price changes. Which site has an ad with the guy in the hovercraft who refunds the difference if the flight goes down in price? Is that Oribitz?

"How many months is the latest you would wait?" Two is the most I've waited and there was some stress.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 22nd, 2012, 08:42 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
I'm with atravelynn - when I see the fare I'm willing to pay, I purchase the tickets and put that to rest. Don't worry about whether the fare might go down.

And, do check the gorilla permits to be sure of the availability and then work the balance of safari around those. There are usually less than 40/per day.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 22nd, 2012, 09:43 AM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
great advise (as always) atravellyn and sandi---thanks!

I was just getting frustrated with checking everyday and not seeing any real difference in the cost. I expected the price to be lower than what I paid in 2010 since that time I was traveling in high season (August), and this time in a lower season (October).

You are absolutely right, I've gotta just sit tight and wait for confirmation on the gorilla permits---first things first.

Ahhhh,,,,the fun of planning!
live_aloha is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 22nd, 2012, 02:02 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Because KLM is the main airline in to JRO for the northern Tanzania safari circuit, they can pretty much charge what they want. And it will only get more expensive as time goes along. Whenever you get your gorilla permits in place, it would probably be a good idea to book. As for October being so much higher, is it just the specific date you want, or is it less for days on either side of that date? Sometimes, just a day or two can make a big difference because of flight loads.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 22nd, 2012, 10:40 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
ShayTay, Thanks for your input/advice.

Good point about lack of competition with regards to pricing.

I wonder if it would make sense, then, to book to Nairobi and then take a connection to JRO?

If the savings are minimal then it's not worth it. But if substantial, then something to consider.

Appreciate any comments on this option...
live_aloha is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 23rd, 2012, 07:04 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Check both flights into NBO and then the segment from here to JRO; compare with fare non-stop to JRO.

Bear in mind - often your tour operator can get a better fare on the NBO/JRO segment, than if it's written as part of your international ticket. So check this also.

However, the negative of doing this is that you have two separate tickets and should there be a delay into NBO the airline isn't responsible for getting you onto the ongoing flight.

Does this happen often? Who knows.

As to checking fares daily... not always a good idea. Every time you do this, the 'cookies' created remain in your history and/or the airline site (whether KAYAK/similar or direct with the air carrier), it's not surprising the price doesn't change and/or will go up.

From my understanding, the best time to check flights seems to be on a Tuesday from 3pm onward, or any night from 12M onward when the airlines reset their systems for those reservations they have 'on hold' that are not booked.

So, take a deep breath, verify your Gorilla Permits and then work on the flights. Good luck!
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 23rd, 2012, 08:54 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
I've done some checking on both flying into NBO, then on to JRO and flying direct to JRO for some of my group going in July. At that time, there wasn't enough difference to warrent flying into NBO, then taking another flight to JRO. Internal flights in Africa can be rather spendy. Still, you can check out prices on Kayak, once you've got your gorilla permits in place. Precision Air now has a late evening flight from NBO to JRO, so it's possible to take that flight and not have to spend the night in Nairobi, as you once had to do. That negated all savings on the airfare.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 23rd, 2012, 01:39 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
The Precision (PW) flight departs NBO/JKIA at 10pm, arriving JRO 11pm; then it's a 45/min-1/hr drive into Arusha town. Or select 1st nt hotel at KIA Lodge right outside the airport or others on the road to Arusha where there are many choices.

BA has a legal connection for their arrival NBO @ 8:40pm to make this 10pm and can be booked under 1/ticket, but many feel this is just too tight a connection and choose to o/n in NBO and head out to Tanzania, whether Shuttle Bus ($35/pp one way, 5/hrs. to Arusha) or early 8am PW flight (about $265/pp one way, 50/min to JRO and then 1/hr transfer to Arusha)

Other carriers that can probably tag on this PW flight would be KLM, Brussels, Kenya Air, Swiss or Emirates (and some others).

The Emirates flight gets in at about 3pm and you might be able to get an earlier PW flight, day of week dependent. With the others, as long as they don't arrive NBO later than 8pm, would be good options for the 'last flight out.'

Good luck!
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 23rd, 2012, 10:58 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
Appreciate your advise, sandi and ShayTay.

I think I'll keep it easy and skip the flying into Nairobi option. The hassle is not worth it, unless I wanted to spend a day or two there, which is not in the plans this trip.

Good to know the rationale behind not checking fares on a daily basis,,,,never would've considered the negatives behind this....kinda nice to know, so I can relax a bit. It will all work out, I'm sure.

Thanks again to everyone who responded--much appreciated!
live_aloha is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2012, 04:32 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Back to your original question--last night on the news there was a story about a study on the best time to book and the answer was 6 weeks before departure.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2012, 10:41 PM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
Wow! How timely was that one? Thanks, atravelynn.

6 weeks,,,hmmmm, not so sure I am brave enough to chance it. When I was younger it wouldn't have been an issue, but the older I get the less risky my decisions are. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not, but it is what it is. Wouldn't that be something-to have the entire safari planned and paid for and then not be able to get a flight?

BTW, Sandi (or anyone else who knows about the 'cookies')-I understood what you were saying without really understanding (there I go again exposing my low tech side). Can you explain how that works? Does it just set the same price for the same search? UGH!!!
live_aloha is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 27th, 2012, 01:49 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
I'm just about as low-tech, but as to the 'cookies' it seems each time you pull up the same site, day-in/day-out, or every few hours, the little critters inside cyberworld remember.

Sometimes the price will be the same, but the more you do this, price seems to get higher and higher. Then, if you give it a rest for a few days, the price seems to come down.

Hey, beats me why... just a 'heads-up.'
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 28th, 2012, 06:51 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
You can "toss your cookies" in Explorer by doing this:

Pull Don Tools
Choose Internet Options (probably the last item listed)

A very busy box pops up. Look in the middle where it says "Browing History." There may be a green clock near it.

Click the button that says Delete. Leave everything else alone.

Up pops a list for you to check what you want to delete. Put a checkmark in the Cookies button and maybe Temporary Internet Files. Click Delete.

Then...
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 28th, 2012, 06:56 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
...wait a moment for the operation to take place.

Finally click the OK button.


I tested out what I was writing between the two posts to get the right directions.

In fact I do this every several weeks. When I've had weird problems on the computer and have called the help line they always tell me the above operation clears up many odd things. They always do that first. Usually it's all that is needed.

Back to the flights. If I had booked the land part, I would be too scared to wait until just 6 weeks out for the air.

The "Pull Don Tools" above
is "Pull Down Tools"
Apologies to anyone out there named Don Tools.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 28th, 2012, 10:09 PM
  #18
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 170
You are too funny, atravellyn. I've had a rough past 2 days so reading your last comment made me laugh and helped to make it all better.

And thanks a bunch to you and sandi for the explanations and guidance on the cookies beasties--gonna tackle that problem tomorrow.

Just found out it will cost more to do the gorilla trek with an anticipated price increase before my October travel date. Oh well, it's only money!
live_aloha is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 12th, 2012, 10:31 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 818
Yes, thanks atavelynn! I will do the cookies trick!
pattyroth is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:03 AM.