When is Best Time to Purchase Your Vacation?
This is a question that I get all the time - When should I buy? When should I travel? When are prices lowest?
The short answer is simply this- purchase your airline tickets as far in advance as you can, plan your trip early. Below is a very unscientific analysis of the cost to fly from Chicago (ORD) to St Lucia (UVF) - a very popular destination for Honeymoons and Destination Weddings.
I looked at round trip flights leaving Saturday and returning the following Saturday. I looked at departing the Saturday following the first full week of the month. I searched on Kayak. The search took place on February 21, 2012. Prices looked like this-
- Mar 2012 $917
- Apr 2012 $706
- May 2012 $596
- Jun 2012 $727
- Jul 2012 $677
- Aug 2012 $596
- Sep 2012 $592
- Oct 2012 $662
- Nov 2012 $659
- Dec 2012 $592
- Jan 2013 $621
The conclusions that I come to are- in general pricing is higher as you are closer to travel, and lower farther out. Clearly you don't want to purchase less than 30 days out if you can avoid it.
Pricing is better in May & September as well as in early December (while the kids are in school). In early December Americans have Christmas holiday shopping on their mind, parties they don't want to miss, things of that nature so pricing is a bit lower. In June & July people have summer vacation on their mind while the kids are on break so pricing is a bit higher. In late spring and in the fall you will find pricing moderates (is this why you are starting to see so many weddings moving to September?)
St Lucia is tough to get to so from the standpoint of being able to get the best connection you are best to book early, but the same holds true for most other destinations - there are only a certain number of flights that are direct or with good connections, and those are the first to sell leaving you with little choice and higher prices if you procrastinate.
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