If you've procrastinated on booking a winter-holiday trip, you may still nab a last-minute getaway since airlines have waived the advance purchase on these fares. You can leave Dec. 30 or 31 and return Jan. 4-7 for a decent price, but you'll want to avoid travel Jan. 2-3 when prices are higher.
The fares probably won't be as good as what we'll see in early 2010, but if you have post-Christmas cabin fever, you still can get away.
We've seen a lot of wild and crazy deals in the last couple of months, and if you don't act fast when you see them, you will miss out. Last week, we saw a sale from Dallas to Hawaii for $519 round trip that was over in a few days. We also saw a quick sale from Northwest and KLM with fares from Dallas for $599 or less to 12 cities in Europe, even for spring break.
Look at fares every Tuesday, when the deals come out, and Wednesday, when they're matched, if they're matched. Be ready to buy.
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If you're planning a summer 2010 trip to Europe, now is not the time to buy unless you see a fare that's too good to pass up. Last year, the airfares we saw in January for travel June through August were outrageous, and right now the summer 2010 fares we're seeing are 10 percent higher than last January.
Last year, prices started coming down at the end of February and in March, when summer fares from Dallas to Europe could be found for under $1,000, and many were in the $800 range.
Right now, those summer fares from Dallas are selling for $1,380 to London, $1,415 to Rome and $1,550 to Paris. If you're set on Europe for the summer, check fares every Wednesday in case there's a short-lived sale, but don't buy if the price is high.
If you want to get away for spring break, start checking for fares. Your best bet for low fares is to be flexible. Check fares for cities near your desired destination, especially in Europe where prices can vary dramatically. Once you land, you can travel by high-speed train or on cheap intra-Europe fares to your final destination.
Fares change like the weather, so if you can't find a good spring break deal now, you still have time to look. If fares to your destination remain high, you may want to consider an alternate location. For example, fares to Puerto Vallarta have been high this year, so consider going to Cancun instead, where we've seen great deals for the past year.
Start pricing your fares now, so you know a deal when you see one. When you do see a deal, don't let it fly away without you.