If you’ve been thinking about taking a trip to Europe, timing can be everything because the dates you fly can make a big difference in the price you pay.
Summer fares can be very high due to demand, so if you can travel in the fall, you can save.
Fares for travel to Europe in September and October can be up to $700 cheaper than the average peak summer fares. Travel November through March 18 is about $100 cheaper than September prices, but the weather isn’t as nice, so it may be worth paying a little more for earlier fall travel.
While Thanksgiving is a very busy time for travel in the U.S. and to the Caribbean, it is not a heavy travel time for Europeans. Our Thanksgiving Day is just a normal Thursday elsewhere, so you can find good prices on fares to Europe.
Many schools in the Northeast don’t start until after Labor Day, but more and more schools in other parts of the country do start before Labor Day. The airlines may have to offer a fire sale when schools begin because the demand drops to Europe, and these fares could be cheaper than September prices if the airlines have a lot of empty seats to sell.
September is a great time to be in Europe because you’ll avoid the summer crowds, the weather is nice and there are lots of festivals. November can be even cheaper, but you will need sweaters and heavier jackets, which could force you to bring another suitcase. That additional luggage can cost an extra $100 each way.
We’ve already seen Delta cut fares this summer, so we could see it again. While nonstop flights out of Atlanta will probably not be lowered, we could see reduced fares from cities that connect through Atlanta, like Dallas and Houston.
Even though spring seems far away, you should start looking at fares now. Many areas in the U.S. take their spring breaks around Easter, and this year Easter is on April 5. We could see lower airfares than normal departing the rest of April and through May 15. You’ll want to avoid travel on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7 – those dates could be $200-$300 higher because they are high-demand days, plus you’ll get a weekend surcharge.
Use a flexible travel option when looking at fares to find the cheapest dates and check daily. You could end up paying hundreds less.
The fares listed above were valid at press time, but are subject to change. Tom Parsons is CEO of bestfares.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.