Recent fare analysis by the Airlines Reporting Corporation seems to challenge the conventional wisdom that the earlier you book, the less expensive your fare will be. In January, the corporation, which processes ticket transactions for airlines and travel agencies, reported that over the past four years passengers paid the lowest price for domestic flights when buying just about six weeks in advance.
However, when Michelle Higgins of the New York Times asked them to run the same analysis for international trips results showed that booking earlier really is better. Higgings asked the company to analyze fares for several trips, like a summer vacation to Europe and a winter escape in the Caribbean and the results indicated that the window for booking the cheapest ticket for these trips is as early as 24 weeks in advance. They found that in 2011 the best time to book a summer trip to Europe was 21 to 22 weeks in advance and 11 to 12 weeks in advance for a winter trip to the Caribbean. Although this article does not provide recommendations for how far in advance to book your tickets to Africa, at Extraordinary Journeys we always advocate booking your international flights well in advance and have rarely if ever seen prices go down as a travel date approaches.
Sure, it’s possible that if travelers pull back on spending, airlines will be forced to cut prices, allowing travelers to nab a cheap summer flight as little as three weeks out but so far this year airlines have raised rates three times. So if your thinking of taking a trip the message from the Airlines Reporting Corporation seems to be act now. Read the full New York Times article here.
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