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Would you book flights in advance? Several weeks

Travel Forums Asia Would you book flights in advance? Several weeks

1. Posted by andy_d (Budding Member 40 posts) 7y

Or is it cheaper / easy to just do it in the country you're in?

2. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

This is such a good question -and valid point. I spend hours looking at flights and prices. It's not even because I'm about to book a flight either. It's simply to keep up with what's going on and what the airlines and travel agents are up to.
Budget airlines tend to be cheaper the longer in advance you book - whereas (for example) BA might offer you a flight to JFK from LHR for £150 return if it's the last empty seat and is taking off in an hour. And it might even be 1st class, which would normally cost around 10 times as much if booked a month earlier.
I do generally tend to book about a month in advance. But as an example - awhile back, I was given a surprise couple of weeks off work with just a day's notice. I switched on Teletext and got a phone number for last minute flights. My thoughts were, to go to Albania. Always wanted to - never had. Cheapest option from the UK was a flight to Corfu and then the little ferry from Corfu Town to Saranda (40 minutes). I got a flight leaving from London Stansted the same afternoon, for £29 return, including all the tax - fees etc. My train trip to Stansted was dearer than the flight and ferry combined. On the other side of the coin - I had to do an urgent business trip to Bulgaria within 24 hours. It was 6 airports (Manchester - Heathrow - Frankfurt - Vienna - Sofia - Varna), took around 14 hours in all and cost me nearly £500 return, when I could have got it for under £100 if I'd booked in advance with a budget airline. Needless to say, there were no seats available on them - and if there had have been, it would have still cost me around £300.
On a trip to Canada (Winnipeg), it was cheaper for me to get a flight to Toronto from Manchester with one airline - then get another internal flight with WestJet, than it was to get a direct flight straight through from London Stansted.
Endless solutions to a very good question.

3. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1587 posts) 7y

Quoting andy_d

Or is it cheaper / easy to just do it in the country you're in?

Are you asking about booking a flight from your country to somewhere overseas or booking a local flight that you will use in a different country?

From the US I rarely ever have the opportunity to book a flight sooner than a month or two at the most. Probably more often in the 3 to 5 week time frame. I just can't plan far in advance. Besides sometimes I get some good prices waiting closer to my departure date.

I do check prices on the internet all the time and look for a bargain price for the airline I use. Because I fly often I always use the same airline and a price of $50 or $100 higher for my airline compared to others doesn't really matter because of the perks I get. When I fly the same airline I can use my gold or platinum card and get priority seating, early on, larger weight allowances, free VIP lounge, wait in the shorter line for checking in. Also I get 100% bonus miles which add up to free flights in the future. Not to mention being a loyal frequent flier with the same airline I often get free upgrades to business or first class!

So, if you are going overseas only once or twice a year then perhaps use the airline with the cheaper price. But, if you intend to fly often I would stick with the same airline or at least with an affiliated partner airline so you can accumulate more miles for future free flights. Also if you already have a silver, gold or higher card I would try to choose an airline where you can use that card on.

When I am in a foreign country such as Thailand and the Philippines I get those internal flights when I am there. This way I have more flexibility. The only exception that I might consider is flying during the Christmas or New Years time frames when more people fly and seats are a little scarce.

Good luck.

4. Posted by andy_d (Budding Member 40 posts) 7y

Thanks guys! I guess I should have been a little clearer. It seems a bit hard to try to plan out several countries and give them definitive dates. But I also don't know if it'll be an issue to get flights while in the visiting country to another. Like if prices are much higher if you don't book through the website or if flights get booked up pretty quickly. We're planning a 3 week trip through Cambodia, India, Indonesia and China.

I'm from the US and will probably get a round trip ticket from here to Vietnam to meet a few friends out there and then start traveling from there. Just wasn't sure if we should have everything already paid for travel wise before even heading out

5. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Post #4#, andy_d.... You might just find that a ticket from The USA to Mexico and another from Mexico to Vietnam is cheaper. Sometimes it works that way, if you're prepared to change flights en-route and sleep on an airport floor overnight.
In the RTW Room, I was explaining to someone how Star Alliance means very little when it comes to cost. It's possible to get from Manchester to New Delhi, a distance of over 4,000 miles - for around $200 one way, including tax and fees. Look around. It takes time, sometimes a couple of days in front of the PC monitor - going square eyed, but the flights are out there. I've done them.

6. Posted by andy_d (Budding Member 40 posts) 7y

I'm not so concerned about the flight from here to Asia. More so the flights between the countries in Asia. We may leave it to pay for while we're there. Still trying to finalize details

7. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Then you could do a lot worse than Air Asia. They fly internally in Asia, from 14 Asian countries.
Their prices are nearly always good too.
Best of luck.

8. Posted by andy_d (Budding Member 40 posts) 7y

Thanks! We're still undecided on how we'll handle the flights but looks like the majority seem to favor getting it in advance. I'm more of the fly by the seat of one's pants type of guy when it comes to traveling but no harm if we plan something out as well. Just means we'll have spend a lot of time getting every detail down