Travel Blunder: Booking tickets too late.

Posted on September 18, 2011

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Patrick knew that he wanted to travel to Cyprus for a weekend, but never got around to booking his plane tickets. He’d heard that on budget airlines he could get a good deal, sometimes for as low as 20 Euro each way. He lost track of time with other travel plans, and then realized that the weekend trip he and friends had planned to Cyprus was just a few days away. He booked his tickets at the last minute, and ended up paying more than €200.

Patrick made a common travel mistake:

Booking tickets too late.

Maybe you’re spontaneous, but it always seems to happen: you get a great travel idea in your head, procrastinate on buying tickets, and then end up emptying your wallet on what you thought was supposed to be a budget airline flight.

The closer you get to your departure date, the less “budget” a plane ticket can be.  The price of airline tickets skyrocket the closer you get to the date of departure. A prime window for booking tickets is six weeks to a month before you want to leave. However, if you have to book last minute, there are a few things you can keep in mind to find a great deal.

  • Book big international flights (like from the United States to Europe) three to six months in advance.
  • If you’re under the age of 26, consider using a booking agency like StudentUniverse or STA Travel.
  • In Europe, try to book short-distance flights at least one month in advance, if not more. Sign up for deal alerts from Ryanair and easyJet, and whatever other budget airlines might leave from your closest airport hubs. This will keep you informed about sales and other great deals, like 9 Euro Flights – which are amazing, but you have to book at least six weeks in advance.

Happy travels!

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