Paris - book the apt or flight first?

Mar 20th, 2006, 12:38 PM
  #1  
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Paris - book the apt or flight first?

This might be a coin toss question but thought I'd see if anyone had an idea. I'm going to Paris sometime around 9/1. The dates are flexible. Airfare is currently over $1200 and I'm sure it will drop.

So, my dilemma is do I book an apt now and lock in on dates, hoping I can get a good deal on airfare for those specific dates. Or, do I wait to have my airfare booked so I know the specific dates to book? I've never rented an apt. before but I suppose the question would pertain to hotel also. Thanks!
cls2paris is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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Check to see if there's any penalty for cancelling or changing your apt reservation date. If there's no charge, then you can secure the apt for the dates you're hoping for. If there's a change, due to your flight availability, then change your apt reservation to match.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 01:09 PM
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Thanks, Sandi - I should have thought of that!
cls2paris is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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yeah, but most apartments that are desirable get booked up way in advance, they aren't like hotels. That's the whole issue with apartment rentals. You generally need to book way in advance to get best choice, and you won't be able to change the date by a few days, most likely.

It's up to you -- I would book the apartment because the best ones get booked up. There are many more options for airfare, but if it will really bother you to pay $50-100 more to book airfare on a certain date, rather than a day or two later, you might need to think about it a lot more.

It is an issue with hotels, but you can change hotel dates a lot easier and much closer to arrival. With them, you could overbook by a few days on either end (if that were the issue), and just cancel a few days when you narrowed the dates down. You can't do that with apartments, nor easily change booking dates. That's the problem with apartment rentals versus hotels.
Christina is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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I would book the apartment first, in this case. You can always add a day or two at a hotel at start or end of your trip, to match up with your flight dates.
suze is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 02:17 PM
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ira
 
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Hi CL,

You can always get to Paris, somehow.

You might not get THE apt or hotel.

Accomodations first.

ira is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 02:24 PM
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I guess I'm on a different page than the rest of you. I poured over tons and tons of apts on www.vrbo.com before booking but I think I would have been happy with lots of them.

I traveled to Paris in the summer during the height of tourist season so I booked in March for June. Is Sept. really so busy that there won't be any desirable apts. available if the OP waits until say, June or July to bookso he can see if airfare drops?

I do agree that the parisperfect apts will fill up fast because they are so popular but I think they're pricy anyway and wouldn't likely stay in one of them.
amwosu is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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I generally always purchase the lowest airfare I can find and then plan my trip around that. While my first preference for accomodations will sometimes be unavailable, I never spend more than my budget range (say 120 E/night) so the price of my trip doesn't go up just because my first choice is gone. If you're not really picky about accomodations I'd look for the cheapest airfare, esp. if it's lower by $100 or more. If it were a honeymoon or some other situation where I had to stay in a special place, I'd book the apt first.

Like the other poster, I find enough available options through vrbo and while I might not get my favorite, there's plenty apts to choose from. Last minute specials are also always great -- I've been able to take advantage of this a few times when traveling in low season.
fishee is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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Judging by two articles over the week-end, airfares are unlikely to drop in the summer (and September is generally still high season). As long as supply and demand stay about equal there's no incentive for the airlines to drop fares.
Underhill is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 04:35 AM
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Thanks, everyone! Your replies are very helpful. I'm checking the cancellation policies.
cls2paris is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 04:46 PM
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I just had a great experience with

www.greatparisrentals.com
hellokittie is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 04:50 PM
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I like my ticket in hand before I book after having one flight cancelled and missing connections.
cigalechanta is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 05:00 PM
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It never occurred to me to book my accommodations first.

I book my flight first because I can get the best deals on what is one of the most expensive ticket-item of my trip, and a little flexibility can affect that.

I book my hotels next just because then I know with certainty when I will arrive and depart.

Given your dilemma though, I'd go ahead and book the apartment, and then get your tickets later. The advice to check if cancelling or changing the date is good too. However, I'd probably book with some overlapping so you're only cancelling a day or two on one end or the other.

Have a great time!

Jules
jules4je7 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 05:02 PM
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The thing is you say that you're sure the airfare will drop. I wouldn't be sure at all, and I wouldn't go if it persisted at being $1200. So with that in mind, I wouldn't book an apartment first.

It seems to me there's some recurring special event in Paris the first week of September (a fashion show maybe?).
WillTravel is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2006, 02:50 PM
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I'm not sure why you ssay you are "sure it will drop"?

Since I don't know where you are flying from I can't judge how good or bad $1200 is, but I would definitely NOT book an apartment, if finding a lower airfare is necessary to do the trip.
suze is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2006, 05:19 PM
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suze - I guess I should say I'm guessing it will drop. I'm flying from MSP and typically for that time of year the fares are closer to $800. Thanks for all of the suggestions!
cls2paris is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2006, 06:03 PM
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IMO, unless you really get ripped off airfare wise, airfare is the cheapest part of the trip. The longer you stay the more expensive your trip becomes with meals, room and board, side trips etc. Between now and September chances are some reasonable airfares will appear.The later you go in September the better the airfares will be!
N2it is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2006, 06:10 PM
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PS - it's a drag but when you know your travel dates start checking airfares almost daily including airline sites, consolidators, other travel sites. We recently flew from SFO to CDG round trip for about $575 pp with taxes on Delta. Stopped at JFK to CDG and non-stop from CDG to SFO on AF. Found it on the Delta website. I've been told to check early on Wed mornings for changes. Sometimes the price is only good for a day or less. Good luck!!
N2it is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 10:25 AM
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September is about the peak occupancy hotel season in Paris and you have to book way in advance. There are just all kinds of trade shows; there are fashion shows but they are at the very end of the month or beginning of October. Now that affects hotel reservations a lot, but I wouldn't think business things would affect apartments being booked so much. It's just that good ones do get booked up 6-9 months in advance, in my experience, in any popular season. I may be pickier about apts. than cls2paris is, though. If you just want any apt. in lots of locations, things will be easier.

However, the problem is that in recent years, air fares for Fall to Paris haven't been dropped at Labor Day or just after, as they used to. It used to be (for me), that you could see a big price drop exactly one day after Labor Day, and now I don't think I see them until maybe October. Things may be different for the MSP market.

Paris being so busy in September might affect airfares, though, as well as hotel bookings. It really depends how much one wants that particular apartment, I think.
Christina is offline  
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