I recently quit my job, and in desperate need for a vacation, I'm now planning a small backpacking trip in Europé Before I try the real deal next year.
However, my last vacation was over 10years ago, and so I've never really gained the knowledge which way is the best when it comes to buying tickets.
Is it possible / cheaper to buy tickets on trains /Airports and so on at the very last minute ( like showing up at an Airport or at a trainstation and asking if they have any cheap tickets) or should I book beforehand. I'm not very picky as where to go, and I've been planning to try staying in hostels in order to meet new people.
Any advice on this subject?
These days you want to book online and as far in advance as possible. Summer prices will probably shock you as these tickets are in great demand.
Advance booking guarantees you a seat when you need the seat!
Have I booked flights within a few days before flying - yes! For some of my flying it is either spur of the moment when time frees up or I come in to some extra money that I can blow on a trip or I notice a big drop in prices! Not to be insensitive but I have found some good deals right after serious plane crashes. Tourists become afraid and cancel out their planned flights. Sometimes whole tourist groups cancel at the last minute and those seats go for a reduced price!
Time of the year affects cost of international flights from my country (N. America) with the Christmas season including New Years Eve being just about the highest prices to many warm places especially when I fly to Asia. For European countries you can just pull up some airline websites and see what weeks or months might be a little cheaper. Some hotels may have seasonal prices for room prices. Often when it is cold and snowy in one country many tourists head to other countries with nicer weather! ("Snowbirds!")
[ Edit: Edited on 27-Aug-2015, at 13:40 by karazyal ]
I think it's a case by case basis. I.e. when flying to Australia from Bali, getting the ticket the day of or day before saved me $100+ when compared to buying it for a week later. But in the U.S. you get a discount for booking an advanced fare with Greyhound. In Europe, some train tickets can be had way cheaper if you buy them well in advance...
If you're keen to go wherever, I'd say just book a few weeks out... or less!
Hope that helps (and I'm not too late...?!)