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HELP! When should we book flights to Europe??

HELP! When should we book flights to Europe??

Jan 5th, 2010, 01:16 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 13
HELP! When should we book flights to Europe??

My fiance and I have decided to go to Italy for our Honeymoon and we need a some advice about flights. This is what we've decided on: fly out of Austin, TX on Sunday, April 18th flying into Zurich, Switzerland. On the return: fly out of Rome, Italy on Monday, May 3rd flying back to Austin.
Is it too soon to book flights? When is a good time to book flights? Besides Expedia or Orbitz, does anyone know of any websites that have great deals on international flights? Suggestions on which airlines to fly?

Thanks in advance for your help!
Matt and Liz
mattnliz is offline  
Jan 5th, 2010, 01:38 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
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I would start tracking fares on kayak and fare compare. They will send u alerts on fare changes or even daily emails on the fares u are tracking. That way u can get an idea of what fares are, they have a history chart also. Once u have an idea of the fares, as soon as u see a good one, grab it! There should be some air fare sales for the Spring out now or shortly.

No sure what your plans are but be aware that May 1 is a pretty big public holiday in Italy. Also April 25 is a holiday but not as much was closed. We have traveled the last 2 Springs to Italy and it's really crowded with Italians on holiday during the days between April 25-May 1 and weekend days adjacent to those 2 dates. So make sure u get your reservations in plenty of time.
Have a great honeymoon!
yestravel is offline  
Jan 5th, 2010, 01:57 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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You can take a look at this website to see a calendar of prices for flights each month.
www.matrix2.itasoftware.com

If you can get to Houston pretty easily, Continental is having some good sales on flights to Europe.

The fare alerts from Kayak and Fare Compare are great - I agree on that one, for sure.

I will often go directly to the website of the airline. And I sometimes play around with different things - try checking on flights to Europe from all the East Coast cities - Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Dulles, and New York. I have found some good ticket prices from Newark. And then see if you can find a cheap deal to one of these cities. You might even want to spend the night as an addition to your vacation.
hsmithcr is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 04:54 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
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On either the week before or the week after Liberation Day, tickets to major sites in Rome (such as the Coleseum, Roman Forum, etc.) are free. Make sure to check those out when you go.
tom18 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 08:50 AM
  #5  
 
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Most sites will have similar pricing, with the possible exception of some consolidators, but I never use them.

As for when to purchase... A lot of this depends upon how flexible you want to be. One problem that you are likely to encounter is that you have only 3 options for one-stop flights: Delta, via Atlanta; Continental, via Newark; and United, via Washington. As Continental and United cooperate, you are pretty much left with only two pricing options.

Right now, I see tickets at $928 on Delta (decent schedule, though). I think this is a decent baseline price, and I suspect that you will be able to get this price for at least the next couple of months. I would watch prices until at least the end of this month, jumping at anything in the $700-range. If you don't see much movement in price, then maybe consider booking in the low $900s sometime in late February.

Normally, Italy is probably the most expensive European destination, particularly if you want to fly directly from the US, so you may not be able to get a great deal.

Coach prices have been pretty high lately. I suspect that there may be a fair amount of irrational hope that the market will warrant those prices, but it could also be a knock-on from a lot of business travelers switching to coach.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jan 6th, 2010, 03:55 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Im traveling to Italy this summer and the cheapest prices are on ATIflights.com. Take a look
nallen2 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 07:57 AM
  #7  
 
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Congrats, Matt and Liz:

Drop by and say hello to my son, an instructor at the Austin School of Music.

For the past two years, I've used Cheapair.com and have been very satisfied. Their prices beat everyone else's; it was user friendly; you can choose your seats -- or change them -- and my trips were met with NO surprises. I was new to the world of on-line flight bookings and was as nervous as a tick the first time. But now, after my great experience with Cheapair.com, I keep going back to their site.

My most recent flight to Paris was booked in June, 2009, and I monitored the prices up until my September flight. They went down and then back up and then back down again, but the highest prices were posted around two weeks prior to my departure. So, I'm glad I booked when I did in June.

Your being in Austin, you will likely have connecting flights, so I would advise you to shop for connections out of Houston instead of DFW. They have more international choices, where DFW is primarily the American Airlines hub. Of course, depending on your first destination, AA and DFW might work best for you. Shop around.

David from Dallas
david_r_p is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 01:02 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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Many people swear that going right to the air lines web-site is the best way to go, that certainly has been the case for most of us in my travel club. Just keep on checking their web-site.Plus you can get the routes that you want and not be subject to long layovers and going to many different airports to get where you are going.
directions is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 03:30 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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We've flown both in and out of Zurich and Rome going directly from Philadelphia, so you might consider that as an east coast departure point as well as the others listed.
PatrickSG is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 03:45 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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For flights to Barcelona and back from Paris last fall we booked 3-4 months in advance. A friend in the travel business said the best fares hit at two months in advance. I followed the prices and she was right. BUT, seats may go faster that time of year, so saving a few dollars may not be worth it. And fares can go up quickly as the dates approach and seats fill.

We've liked Continental's connections (direct from Newark) and prices but not necessarily the planes, often single-aisle 757s in off season. I always book directly with the airlines - with rare exceptions that's the best deal and choice of seating.
LikeLivingThere is offline  
Jan 8th, 2010, 01:59 AM
  #11  
 
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We've flown both in and out of Zurich and Rome going directly from Philadelphia, so you might consider that as an east coast departure point as well as the others listed.

Unfortunately, once Southwest drops service in March, you can't fly from Austin to Philly, non-stop, so going through there would require a double-connection. Even were Southwest to continue flying there, it doesn't help you that much, as you would have to buy separate tickets and Southwest does not play nice in that regard (no interline agreements).
travelgourmet is online now  
Jan 8th, 2010, 02:23 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
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I'm going in September to Tuscany and have started all my planning now and will make reservations. I love this site as I gain so much info. We want to do a "road trip" any advice out there for rental cars, etc.? Thelma and Louise are going to Tuscany! 9 months and counting down....
iamsss is offline  
Jan 8th, 2010, 02:57 AM
  #13  
 
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any advice out there for rental cars, etc.

If you want to drive, then I have a few suggestions:

1) Get a GPS. Either buy a GPS or rent one from the agency; if you are going for an extended period, I would think that buying a relatively cheap GPS might be more cost effective than renting.

2) The smaller your car, the better. Roads and parking spaces can be tight in much of Europe and a smaller car fits better.

3) Be careful when comparing prices. Some of the European agencies exclude some costs that Avis and Hertz include, making them seem cheaper, even when they are not. If prices are similar, then I find Avis and Hertz to be much more professional than the European companies, like Sixt.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jan 11th, 2010, 02:59 PM
  #14  
 
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Try www.vayama.com
salesbyjulie is offline  

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