Best time to buy IAD-VCE airfare?
September 9, 2011 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Going to Venice next June. When is the best time to buy plane tickets?

Cruise and hotel are booked, all that's left to do is buy a flight. (IAD-VCE, June 2012.) At the moment the cheapest airfares are hovering around $1400-$1600, some with annoying day-long layovers in out-of-the way cities like Istanbul or Moscow. Do US-to-Italy airfares get any better at a point closer to next summer, or is this as good as I'm going to get?

(I've also tried booking separate legs to various European cities, then connecting to a train low-cost carrier or train, and the savings so far have not been considerable.)
posted by brownpau to Travel & Transportation around Venice, Italy (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The saving probably won't be considerable for train journeys in Europe. The totally skanky (but cheap) way of getting around Europe would be by bus, but I would not recommend it. If you are desperate to travel by train, The Man in Seat 61 is a website full of information about travelling by locomotion.

I think air flights get cheaper somewhere around the four month mark. You are currently booking at the furthest out point, so you get charged a lot. Wait a few months and try arranging several low-cost flights via Easyjet or Ryanair (within Europe) and Iceland Express, perhaps?

(So, for instance, you could fly from New York to London Gatwick, and then either take the train to Venice via the Eurostar - or buy a ticket on one of the budget airlines that flies from Gatwick.)

Hope that helps!
posted by The River Ivel at 4:15 PM on September 9, 2011

Best answer: It's too early to book. The airlines are posting these fares to snare suckers who want to have all the itinerary in place now. Keep checking kayak for fares to Rome, they should start moving after the first of the year.
posted by Xurando at 4:59 PM on September 9, 2011

We got back from Florence 2 weeks ago.

We got our tickets just 4 weeks before the trip itself; those were the best deals we saw, and we had been looking since December 2010.
posted by onepot at 5:45 PM on September 9, 2011

Microsoft bought a company called farecaster, that does exactly what you are looking for, but now it's on Bing travel. Go figure.
posted by Freen at 6:10 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I used to work at Expedia. That price is not as good as it will get. So the general rule used to buy or be ready to buy 3 months before your trip (but that is fallible). I got a great international deal 4 weeks before a trip.
But now there are cool apps like Fare Alert which will alert and email you if a price goes below a level determined by you - I think this is the best way to buy, provided you still have a reasonable buffer period ahead of you before the trip, which you do. As for the buffer, as you get to 3 months and less, the price can shoot up as inventory goes to near zero and they (airlines) know they can gouge the customer. They actually have ancient and arcane programs that auto-increase price as inventory gets bought. However, if inventory remains open the price can suddenly drop as the date becomes 1 or 2 days away, as they can't have empty seats. Thus priceline was born (buy a cheap ticket... which is never guaranteed). However, the latter is increasingly rare for international flights so don't count on it!
posted by uni verse at 6:53 PM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

P.S. If any program claims it can predict prices for unbooked fares in the future, move on, the movements of the programs are unpredictable as the stock market.
posted by uni verse at 7:19 PM on September 9, 2011

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