This is a very common question I am often asked. And I wish I knew the answer.
Yes, there are some trends usually driven by the weather. If it is not going to be so nice outdoors, most people do not want to travel; therefore the prices for airline tickets and lodging are reduced to stimulate business.
European flights have three seasons, summer is the most expensive with fall and spring being average, and winter being the least expensive. During the winter season we see lots of ads with great fares. When we are ready to book our summer holiday, we have these numbers in our head. We are always surprised when the fares are twice as much. All countries do not have the same season. In general, January, February, March, November, and the first half of December are the lowest fares to Europe. June, July, and August are the most expensive fares.
Many regions have busy seasons the average person may not know about such as August in Seattle or Vancouver. It is very busy there because the weather is sunny and dry, plus several cruise ships depart from these cities.
So with all that being said, does it make a difference when to purchase the ticket? My rule of thumb is when you know you are going some place, give me a call and I can give you my best estimate. Fares are affected by more than just the season, availability is also a factor. As airplane seats are sold, little by little the seats become more expensive. I can easily see how many seats are sold or open. I may say hold your money for a while or let’s do it now! In general, the earlier the better the fare.
The third dynamic affecting a fare is the market place. Are the seats being sold at an expected rate? Or is a sale need to boost activity? This I can not predict. There always used to be January and August sales, but not anymore. This year, fares are all over the place changing up and down almost daily. When I know a fare is a bit high, I always double check it the next day. It is amazing how often the fare is lower.
Most of this is also the same for lodging, high seasons, holidays, weekends, special events, conferences and conventions that can all drive prices significantly. A few years ago I had a couple cruising from Copenhagen, and I like everyone to arrive a day early, just in case… six months prior to sailing the city was sold out, due to an international conference.
That is why you should check with me as soon as you know you want to travel.