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Traveling from western Canada - how far in advance do you book your flights?

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
In years past, prior to covid, I always booked flights to Europe from the US approximately three to five months in advance. This year we booked our most recent Camino flight to Italy just three weeks in advance, which was a first, and we leave in six days. I felt the non-stop price from Chicago to Rome was quite affordable.
That said, no one can predict airline pricing one month to the next and it is futile to speculate, imo, or we may never think it is the "best" price, and never make the decision to go.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I think that is a very tricky question, post Covid. I'm hoping we might have some experts in the aviation industry who can read the runes.
 

Sheesh

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2009, 2013, (2022)
Though I can't comment on the exact "sweet spot" for getting the lowest price, I can tell you that by booking very early (say over 3/4 months) one becomes increasingly vulnerable to being bounced around by the inevitable changes most carriers make to their schedules (Air Canada is particularly notorious for this). Sometimes the changes can be quite significant: such as rerouting through different cities or even different countries, departure/arrival times altered by several hours, preferred seating vanishing, or one may even be switched to an alliance airline.

Then comes endless time on hold to the carrier, listening to the same eight bars of repetitive muscak just to reach a warm body in customer service who can hopefully help sort it all out and not disconnect the call in the interim.
 
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Walkerooni

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPdP to Santiago (June-ish 2018)
Also from western Canada. Typically the sweet spot for booking has been about 2 months prior. COVID and post-COVID may have altered that dynamic. But booking further out from that obviously carries its own risks.
 
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TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.
I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.

Good to be curious, but there are no ‘sweet spots’ just lots of myths. Of course folks may notice patterns but that’s probably just luck or bad luck. The only thing I think generally holds true is that if you buy a heavily restricted fare a long way out it is likely to be a ‘better’ deal, but not always.

Airlines spend billions and micro manage every flight from the moment it’s goes on sale to day of departure.

I think it’s a personal call as to whether you think it’s a good deal or not, not necessarily whether it’s the ‘best deal’, and whether the risks are worth it.

It may be worth looking at the fare that allows a change and see what the difference is. It may be smaller than you think. That said even if no change fee you will have to pay any fare differential and if you change a flight close to departure by a few weeks this differential is likely to be high.

You may want to do a Vancouver to Everywhere search on Skyscanner, or whoever the Canadian equivalent is, for example and see the cheapest European gateway for the dates you wish to fly. It may throw up a cheaper route from where you can make onward bookings (with all the usual caveats).
 
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lisagb

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
I always fly Air France as they are reliable and don’t change dates or times like air Canada. Also it’s a great flight from Vancouver just over nine hours to Paris and flies overnight so I always sleep on it for at least six hours. Gets into CDG at 8:10 am Paris time. Then it’s easy to catch a train to where you are starting or a flight to wherever as inter European flights are fairly cheap. I bought mine last March when AF had a sale and it was $1100 return with checked baggage. Leaving Friday. Good luck!
 

Debbie Linton

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015, Portuguese 2017, ? 2018
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
We booked two weeks in advance, Toronto to Biarritz $2600 for the two of us. Make sure your connecting times are not too tight. Charles de Gaulle was an absolute nightmare with numerous people missing their connection. We are walking The Baztan and currently in Espelette.
 
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kimgaspesie

Quebec, Canada
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances done in 2001 and 2022.
Though I can't comment on the exact "sweet spot" for getting the lowest price, I can tell you that by booking very early (say over 3/4 months) one becomes increasingly vulnerable to being bounced around by the inevitable changes most carriers make to their schedules (Air Canada is particularly notorious for this). Sometimes the changes can be quite significant: such as rerouting through different cities or even different countries, departure/arrival times altered by several hours, preferred seating vanishing, or one may even be switched to an alliance airline.

Then comes endless time on hold to the carrier, listening to the same eight bars of repetitive muscak just to reach a warm body in customer service who can hopefully help sort it all out and not disconnect the call in the interim.
Exactly what happened to us with Air Canada in June. They cancelled our flight and gave us one 24 hours later, but with an alternate, longer route. However, we booked through a travel agent who was able to take care of dealing with customer service and managed to get us a better flight than they assigned. We booked 3 months in advance.
 

Tom Conklin

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016)
Porto (Fall 2017)
Seven weeks before a flight was once a pretty good standard. I paid $800 to fly return from Ottawa to Seville in March.

One thing you might do is find the cheapest flight to Europe, usually London or Paris, then book a flight from there. Flights in Europe are usually very cheap.
 

Elvis

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2022
Primitivo Sept/Oct. 2022
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
Jack, you have lots of time to book. I would book in February/March. As suggested by others fly Air France. Flew WestJet four days ago nothing but a total headache. WestJet rerouted my return through Calgary and yet is selling same date return to Vancouver direct for more money. Having a great time on The Primitivo.
 

Wanderingfriend

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
I live in Vancouver and booked a few months out. The prices can vary according to the day, time etc. I suggest erasing all cookies and/or use another computer, then try again. In the spring I could fly YVR to Porto on TAP (air Portugal) for a great price, business class the same as other airlines economy.
 

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
I always fly Air France as they are reliable and don’t change dates or times like air Canada. Also it’s a great flight from Vancouver just over nine hours to Paris and flies overnight so I always sleep on it for at least six hours. Gets into CDG at 8:10 am Paris time. Then it’s easy to catch a train to where you are starting or a flight to wherever as inter European flights are fairly cheap. I bought mine last March when AF had a sale and it was $1100 return with checked baggage. Leaving Friday. Good luck!
My hope is also to take Air France, however they don't seem to be offering non-stop flights from Vancouver to Paris next May. Perhaps they just haven't loaded them into their inventory yet, but I don't see any non-stop flights to Paris next spring unfortunately.
 
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TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
Jack, you have lots of time to book. I would book in February/March. As suggested by others fly Air France. Flew WestJet four days ago nothing but a total headache. WestJet rerouted my return through Calgary and yet is selling same date return to Vancouver direct for more money. Having a great time on The Primitivo.
What’s the basis for recommending booking in Feb or Mar as opposed to Jan or Apr?
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
What’s the basis for recommending booking in Feb or Mar as opposed to Jan or Apr?
I am not @Elvis, but this sounds good to me. January is too early for my plans to be stable, and I think I'd like to have the plans nailed down by April!
The prices can vary according to the day, time etc. I suggest erasing all cookies and/or use another computer, then try again.
I believe this is an urban myth. Perhaps @TravellingMan2022 can point us to a good source for confirmation.
 

TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
I am not @Elvis, but this sounds good to me. January is too early for my plans to be stable, and I think I'd like to have the plans nailed down by April!

I believe this is an urban myth. Perhaps @TravellingMan2022 can point us to a good source for confirmation.
Thank you. Sorry I misunderstood. I thought you were talking about Feb/Mar as when optimal airlines fares would be available hence my question, but you meant when personal plans would be stable irrespective of fare.

Re cookies… this is a good read, not just re cookies but airline pricing in general. Not wishing to be rude but some of the posting on previous threads are well…I think someone said once fares are cheaper on a Tuesday, or if you standing on your head (ok I made that one up). So ignore all the 8 weeks out, on a Tuesday, my friend reckons stuff. Airlines spend billions on this stuff! and it’s probably the biggest lever they have to drive profitability.

That said with respect the to the article, whilst the principles of airline pricing do not change much, the speed of digital marketing and the ability to deliver those prices to the consumer on a targeted 121 basis changes by the day.

While I am it , it’s important to remember how much power the internet had given us as consumers esp. with regarding airlines fares. They have been hugely simplified in the internet era but more importantly everything is transparent. There was a recent thread on here re one ways fares versus return with varying opinions. Back in the day a return would almost be the same as one way ticket but that has changed but more importantly our ability to really search the market has become so easy. So if sitting in Santiago you can pretty much do an ‘everywhere in Europe’ search to your USA region and make all sorts of trades off and plans. I am in Munich next week and fares to London are >£500 as it’s Oktoberfest A quick ‘everywhere in Germany to London’ search throws up a fare of £100 with the right times and a quick Flixbus search gets to Nuremburg fur £10. That would have been tricky pre internet. So think as broad as you can, that’s the best advice I can give.

 
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Housedog

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October 2022
Airline prices are all governed by data analytics so there are no guidelines for the best price. There are deals but you cannot predict when those are available. The best you can do is know the prices, keep looking and jump on one when available. There are some sites that look for deals.
 
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AnneO

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I usually have a target price in my head that I want to pay. I generally start looking around 10-12 months ahead and if the price goes below my target price, then I buy it. I am going to Spain (not Camino related) in a little over two weeks and I bought my airline tickets back in January. That is earlier than I typically do but the price was right. I would say my average is probably around six months in advance.

For my May Camino, my target from the US Midwest is under $1000 from my small city airport. It has been sitting around $1200 since I started paying attention a couple of months ago. I would like to have it booked by January or February.
 

TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
Onth
I usually have a target price in my head that I want to pay. I generally start looking around 10-12 months ahead and if the price goes below my target price, then I buy it. I am going to Spain (not Camino related) in a little over two weeks and I bought my airline tickets back in January. That is earlier than I typically do but the price was right. I would say my average is probably around six months in advance.

For my May Camino, my target from the US Midwest is under $1000 from my small city airport. It has been sitting around $1200 since I started paying attention a couple of months ago. I would like to have it booked by January or February.
i think that is absolutely the right approach!
 

The Yukon

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese, Jacobs Weg, Camino Frances, Tui to Fatima
My hope is also to take Air France, however they don't seem to be offering non-stop flights from Vancouver to Paris next May. Perhaps they just haven't loaded them into their inventory yet, but I don't see any non-stop flights to Paris next spring unfortunately.
Over the years I’ve often found the sweet spot around 3 months (give or take a month). I live two flights (3,000 km) northwest of you in Dawson City, but it’s the prices from the gateway city, Vancouver, that typically guide my finger to the “purchase” button for a plane ticket. The plan is to walk several hundred km on the Portuguese again this December, so there is an eastbound ticket in my back pocket via Toronto and Ponta Delgado to Lisbon. And yes, I’ve had a couple of flight changes already: a major one from Air Canada, a minor one on the Azores Airlines, but Air North is holding firm on my winter escape.

Not sure if Seattle-Vancouver Amtrak has started running again, but on occasion I’ve hopped on the inexpensive ride from Vancouver to Seattle in order to catch some super deals to Europe and Asia.

Here's what’s so cool about your inquiry: it’s next May, but you’re already there, you’re already planning, you’re already living the dream, not to mention that you’re stirring the dreams in many of us, your fellow travellers on the path. Whenever another flight change shows up in my email, it puts another smirk on my face because it reminds me that there’s this journey coming up with a hundred variables. So much anticipation, which is an integral part of the journey – surfing those airlines and the many flight engines. And anytime I become disenchanted about the unpredictable prices and flight changes, I try to imagine the tribulations and unknowns of the pilgrims of a thousand years ago. Bom Caminho!
 

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
Here's what’s so cool about your inquiry: it’s next May, but you’re already there, you’re already planning, you’re already living the dream, not to mention that you’re stirring the dreams in many of us, your fellow travellers on the path. Whenever another flight change shows up in my email, it puts another smirk on my face because it reminds me that there’s this journey coming up with a hundred variables. So much anticipation, which is an integral part of the journey – surfing those airlines and the many flight engines. And anytime I become disenchanted about the unpredictable prices and flight changes, I try to imagine the tribulations and unknowns of the pilgrims of a thousand years ago. Bom Caminho!
Indeed! I've been thinking/planning/dreaming/thinking/thinking/thinking about this for over two years now. First heard about the Camino at the start of the pandemic, and the research and dreaming about it is what got me through those two years stuck at home. I'm almost afraid for the time to come, because then seven weeks later it will be over, and that's going to be a really difficult thing for me. Yes I can immediately start planning the next one, and I will do that. But it'll be different on subsequent caminos. You can only experience it for the first time once. So yeah, I am already living the dream in many ways. Like you, I smile to myself when things aren't going well, because I know that in a matter of months I'm going to find myself crunching down a long gravel road in Spain, and I just can't think of anything more fantastic than that. Buen Camino to you as well!
 

ScorpioGirl22

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
SJPP to Leon - May, 2022
Leon - Santiago -May 2023
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
Following...... as I am planning to fly about the same time.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
From O Porto in September.
I booked Vancouver-Frankfurt-Porto three mouths before (I caminoed early this September).
Lufhansa changed my plans on the very day of travel but I ended with a much better flight Vancouver-Newark-Porto.

Whatever you do, book directly with the airline; I booked through Expedia because of price, and getting through them for complaints is impossible (they didn't give me the exit row seats I paid for in the longest legs).

Then there's the flying.... it seems like the dam broke, so many people everywhere, cattle treatment is what we got: from getting yelled at in queues to arrivecan app frustrating double-checking in Frankfurt.

I saw one in a documentary that just checking price flights increases the flight price because the airline logarithm adjusts to a possible expected demand. So, if I were you, I'd set a bottom line, and if you see a good price just grab it.

But at least the camino in between was very rewarding 🙂
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I saw one in a documentary that just checking price flights increases the flight price because the airline logarithm adjusts to a possible expected demand. So, if I were you, I'd set a bottom line, and if you see a good price just grab it.
That's a myth.
Read the article that @TravellingMan2022 linked to.

 

mvanert

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2014, 2016, 2018, 2023
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
Try Rome 2 Rio for good pricing.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I tend to first go to Kayak (I like their format) just to look at flight options for a few mainline airlines for potential dates of interest. I am usually flexible, but most always fly non-stop as Chicago is a big hub to many destinations. Kayak uses a color coded calendar which shows which dates are the least expensive days to travel. I then go directly to the airline's website to book and always get the same price within a few dollars. I no longer book through third parties after extreme difficulty getting refunds during covid.
I am not certain that the "calendar" approach to saving money on air travel is accurate, or possibly just "fake information" and I am being duped, but so far I have been happy enough with the prices I have paid.
 
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DwainS

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances(2020)
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
I booked mine last Sunday Sept 18. Leave Vancouver May14th return June 25th 2023. Had to book this far ahead because my dates aren't that flexible. Buen Camino
 

Kae Darte

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October 2022 - Spiritual Variant Portugal
Post Pandemic 90 days out is when the airlines start to switch from their aspirational flights to the ones that will actually run. You can book more than 90 days out but many of those flights will evaporate if they dont fill to a predetermined rate. It really just depends on how much you want to manage the flight once it crosses the 90 day Rubicon :)
 

TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
Post Pandemic 90 days out is when the airlines start to switch from their aspirational flights to the ones that will actually run. You can book more than 90 days out but many of those flights will evaporate if they dont fill to a predetermined rate. It really just depends on how much you want to manage the flight once it crosses the 90 day Rubicon :)
What makes you say this? Which airlines, all airlines?it’s really not true!
 
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ScorpioGirl22

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
SJPP to Leon - May, 2022
Leon - Santiago -May 2023
I booked mine last Sunday Sept 18. Leave Vancouver May14th return June 25th 2023. Had to book this far ahead because my dates aren't that flexible. Buen Camino
Can I ask which airline you are using and where you are flying into in Europe?
I live on the Prairies & am planning on flying in late May to Spain.
I have walked fron SJPP to Leon this year and plan to finish my Camino ln 2023.
 

K_Lynn

Buen Camino!
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
I booked my flight last year 6 weeks out, so mid july for my september start. I have found over the years that Air Canada specifically (if that is who you are booking with) is horrible for booking months in advance, with their fees being much higher months out.
If you haven't already done so, download the apps and create an account for multiple airlines that fly out of Vancouver to your desired location, and agree to email offers, sometimes they'll have a flash sale that you wouldn't know about otherwise. If possible, I'd recommend KLM/Air France as I found they had amazing service and staff and the most reasonable rates. Also: book a bulkhead seat for extra leg room! Your body will thank you for it!
Pro tip: CLEAR YOUR CACHE! The website knows and remembers the dates and locations of your desired flights and likes to raise the price on you as they know you want it.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Pro tip: CLEAR YOUR CACHE! The website knows and remembers the dates and locations of your desired flights and likes to raise the price on you as they know you want it.
Please see post #19, among others - all the pros that I have found say that this is simply not true. (If you have another source that supports this theory, I would be interested in seeing it.)
 

DwainS

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances(2020)
Can I ask which airline you are using and where you are flying into in Europe?
I live on the Prairies & am planning on flying in late May to Spain.
I have walked fron SJPP to Leon this year and plan to finish my Camino ln 2023.
Flying into Madrid. It is my first Camino so it was a toss up between Paris or Madrid and since I've been to Paris before I thought I would like to see Madrid for the first time. Flying Air Canada Vancouver to Toronto then on to Madrid. Could not seem to find a direct flight Vancouver to Madrid so I booked with a short layover in Toronto. I have medical appointments and had to be back before July long weekend so I took a gamble and booked now. Never booked this far ahead before so will see how it goes. Keeping fingers crossed.
 
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Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
CF; Norte; Ingles; Augustine; Portugues Central
I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
Amazing jump in prices. I use Austrian airlines Montreal To Vienna as I first transport my dog over. Flight likewise $300 more but shockingly the Moxy hotel chain which I use at airports has doubled its seniors mid week rate from €85 to €165 …..wow!
 

Freewalker

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I live in Vancouver and booked a few months out. The prices can vary according to the day, time etc. I suggest erasing all cookies and/or use another computer, then try again. In the spring I could fly YVR to Porto on TAP (air Portugal) for a great price, business class the same as other airlines economy.
Absolutely correct ! I also change browsers with every search. Booking at 2am can reduce the flight by $300. I rarely pay more than $450 return (from Toronto) and book between 6-3 weeks ahead. Check flights a few times a week.... always cheaper flying mid week too. TAP usually have the best prices and let you bring a large backpack onboard.
 

Freewalker

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Please see post #19, among others - all the pros that I have found say that this is simply not true. (If you have another source that supports this theory, I would be interested in seeing it.)
K Lynn is absolutely correct ! They track us and our searchs....
 

Freewalker

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I booked my flight last year 6 weeks out, so mid july for my september start. I have found over the years that Air Canada specifically (if that is who you are booking with) is horrible for booking months in advance, with their fees being much higher months out.
If you haven't already done so, download the apps and create an account for multiple airlines that fly out of Vancouver to your desired location, and agree to email offers, sometimes they'll have a flash sale that you wouldn't know about otherwise. If possible, I'd recommend KLM/Air France as I found they had amazing service and staff and the most reasonable rates. Also: book a bulkhead seat for extra leg room! Your body will thank you for it!
Pro tip: CLEAR YOUR CACHE! The website knows and remembers the dates and locations of your desired flights and likes to raise the price on you as they know you want it.
Right !! Yep clear cache, incognito/privacy window on different browsers open etc... I never book more than 6 weeks ahead and usually pay no more than $450 from TO but Van would have excellent deals too !
 
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Freewalker

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Can you give us any reference to support this? I am interested because I have seen claims to the contrary but not seen an analysis that supports how this affects airfare.
Do your own searches and you will see.
 

Freewalker

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That's a myth.
Read the article that @TravellingMan2022 linked to.

I wouldn't trust that.....ultimately they want your business--- the hardest industry hit since the plandemic began. Or provide links through them. It takes work to find the deals and I find them. I usually save between $ 300-500 on a given flight.
 
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Do your own searches and you will see.
I don't doubt your personal experience, @Freewalker. OTOH, "Do your own research" is not actually data.
It's a good question that I'm curious about too:
Can you give us any reference to support this? I am interested because I have seen claims to the contrary but not seen an analysis that supports how this affects airfare.
Is there factual information - data with a large sample size, as opposed to our relatively small number of subjective experiences here - one way or the other?
 
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Freewalker

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Many and lots more to come.
"Do your own research" is not actually data.
It's a good question:

Does anyone know where to find factual information - data, as opposed to our relatively small number of subjective experiences here - one way or the other?
Once again ..... do your own search with different browsers, times of day etc...and YOU WILL SEE. Create your own data lol... I travel 3 times a year, once a year in CA and twice to EU.
 
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Here is what I found, and it's complicated:
Northeastern University did a study that looked at travel sites, pricing hotel rooms, not air tickets, but the patterns are interesting and all over the map:
  • Both Orbitz and CheapTickets (which are operated under the same company) showed nearly identical search results for logged-in/return users and anonymous users. Prices differed on about 5% of search queries and among these queries logged-in users usually saw prices averaging $12 less than anonymous users.
  • Hotels.com and Expedia (also owned by the same parent company) showed the same prices for all users, both logged-in and anonymous. However, they did sort search results to favor more expensive hotels to some tracked/logged-in user groups.
  • Priceline dramatically changes its search result appearance based on user history but shows no price differentiation between logged-in and anonymous users.
  • Travelocity shows significant evidence of showing lower prices to iOS device (i.e., iPhone and iPad) users — averaging prices that are about $15 less per night than for users on other devices.
Priceline does skew it's search results based on your history.
The rest not so much. But the iOS versus Android difference is a real head scratcher.

Consumer Reports also dug into the data, noting that their earlier reporting had suggested a difference:
Their results were equivocal, with this bottom line suggestion:
We can’t say whether the fare differences we found are due to pricing based on browser histories. But we can say this: To increase your chances of finding the lowest airfares, search for flights multiple times and over multiple days, both with and without the cookies cleared from your browser (information on how to clear your browser of cookies can easily be found online).
 
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mark connolly

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I usually book about 4-6 weeks in advance. More importantly, I use www.skyscanner.com for this. It has an option to check fares to your destination for a whole month, for example here is a listing of fares from Vancouver to Madrid for the month of November:

https://www.skyscanner.com/transpor...erdirects=true&ref=home&rtn=0&selectedoday=01

Here is also a listing for May 2023:


Hope this helps.

Mark
 
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Freewalker

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I live in Vancouver and booked a few months out. The prices can vary according to the day, time etc. I suggest erasing all cookies and/or use another computer, then try again. In the spring I could fly YVR to Porto on TAP (air Portugal) for a great price, business class the same as other airlines economy.
I just saved $300 on a flight that I was eyeing for a week and sure enough late last night (2 am) for mid Oct 17 days away...the following morning it was $400 more !!
Honestly fellow pilgrims so many on this site just want argue. Rather spending time researching other people's data do your own. The best of luck finding a good deal. I am certainly happy with mine.
 

Freewalker

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I was just playing around with airfares on Air Canada. The difference between a round trip Calgary to Madrid and a Multi- leg Calgary to Madrid returning from Santiago to Calgary is $6.00
I always use Google flights , Skyscanner and Kayak and cross reference, but for sure always book directly with airline.
 

trecile

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I usually book about 4-6 weeks in advance. More importantly, I use www.skyscanner.com for this. It has an option to check fares to your destination for a whole month, for example here is a listing of fares from Vancouver to Madrid for the month of November:
Skyscanner is fine for comparing prices, but please don't book with one of the third party ticket sellers that advertise on the site. (all of those links that you click on to book are ads) Particularly since Covid when there are so many changes to flights it's not a good idea to put a third party between you and the airline. It's always safest to book directly with the airline.
 
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I am on the Camino so cannot track down the article I mentioned. When home I read The Washington Post online daily so that was most likely where I read it. Something to the effect that a major tracking organization maybe Google released an analysis of best number of days out for cheapest ticket. It was about 59 days out for domestic US flights and 129 or so for flights to Europe with a range of dates around those days. The article had a lot of other information but that was what stuck in my aging brain because I fly 4 to 6 times a year from Alaska. Maybe some one can find the article and share it. Buen Camino
 
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TravellingMan2022

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I am on the Camino so cannot track down the article I mentioned. When home I read The Washington Post online daily so that was most likely where I read it. Something to the effect that a major tracking organization maybe Google released an analysis of best number of days out for cheapest ticket. It was about 59 days out for domestic US flights and 129 or so for flights to Europe with a range of dates around those days. The article had a lot of other information but that was what stuck in my aging brain because I fly 4 to 6 times a year from Alaska. Maybe some one can find the article and share it. Buen Camino
With all due respect, flight inventory and pricing does not work like this. There is no ‘best time’. Every flight performs differently. It’s not ‘broad brush’ it’s a data driven business with billions of pounds worth of investment.

It’s not cheaper on a Tuesday, at 3am or 129 days out. Pricing and inventory is live and dynamic. It’s doesn’t take much for availability to move from one price band to another!
 
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TravellingMan2022

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I just saved $300 on a flight that I was eyeing for a week and sure enough late last night (2 am) for mid Oct 17 days away...the following morning it was $400 more !!
Honestly fellow pilgrims so many on this site just want argue. Rather spending time researching other people's data do your own. The best of luck finding a good deal. I am certainly happy with mine.
Good for you and well done. The irony could be of course you may have secured the last seat at that price level , and the ‘$400 more’ price bracket that was availabile the following morning may be due to your previous a few hours earlier!
 

jeanineonthecamino

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I book as soon as I can - which is often in November for a late May or June departure. I just watch prices and compare departure and arrival cities until I find what I think is a pretty decent price. Then I figure out how to get to my local starting point. From the US - I have the best luck with flights to/from London/Paris/Madrid/Barcelona. All of which you can catch a cheap flight or train to a starting point closer to the Camino I want to walk.
 

TravellingMan2022

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I book as soon as I can - which is often in November for a late May or June departure. I just watch prices and compare departure and arrival cities until I find what I think is a pretty decent price. Then I figure out how to get to my local starting point. From the US - I have the best luck with flights to/from London/Paris/Madrid/Barcelona. All of which you can catch a cheap flight or train to a starting point closer to the Camino I want to walk.
Yes that’s a very good approach! Generally the ‘main routes’ tend to be the better options as there is more supply, although of course there is more supply because there is more demand! But the big operators like skyscanner give us the power that was unthinkable a few years ago!
 

NorthernLight

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I tend to watch all routes and prices into Europe and dither. I have the time to be there, so I’m not fussed about having to make my way from random airports; although Paris tends to be the cheapest arrival town. I do have a price in mind while searching, so if I see it, I book it.

My friend watches for seat sales and tends to find them boxing day (that’s Dec 26). But she likes to know what she’s doing months in advance.
 
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Friend from Barquinha

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None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Not sure if Seattle-Vancouver Amtrak has started running again, but on occasion I’ve hopped on the inexpensive ride from Vancouver to Seattle in order to catch some super deals to Europe and Asia.
CBC Vancouver reported just this morning that Amtrak has just re-started once-a-day rail service between Vancouver and Seattle. Another option!


Bom caminho!
 
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Freewalker

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Good for you and well done. The irony could be of course you may have secured the last seat at that price level , and the ‘$400 more’ price bracket that was availabile the following morning may be due to your previous a few hours earlier!
Yes all searches affect price which is what I have stated from the beginning. Although I did use my phone and Firefox instead of Edge etc... But noticed last night (as a friend thought they may join) that flying into Faro instead of Lisbon would have saved me a further $ 100 !! Nope as would have take 2 buses to Malaga so therefore decided to connect with Ryanair for $20. Lol the logistics of travel !
 

Leigh Macklin

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IME the timelines do not matter...mostly luck and trying. Google incognito for either searching OR final bookings to avoid upselling due to cookies.
 

JustJack

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May 2023
I checked my flight prices yesterday on Expedia, Kayak, AirFrance.com and AirCanada.com. Without exception, the exact same prices were shown regardless of what computer I was using, and whether I was using an incognito browser or not. As many others have mentioned, airline pricing is dynamic, and based on demand, not based on whether or not you've searched in the past.

That said, the volume of searches for a particular flight would be one of the data points that airlines use to determine the demand, and therefore the fares, but that's an aggregate number based on total volume of searches, not based on any individual's search history.
 

TravellingMan2022

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Yes all searches affect price which is what I have stated from the beginning. Although I did use my phone and Firefox instead of Edge etc... But noticed last night (as a friend thought they may join) that flying into Faro instead of Lisbon would have saved me a further $ 100 !! Nope as would have take 2 buses to Malaga so therefore decided to connect with Ryanair for $20. Lol the logistics of travel !
It’s a complex area but the fact that you made a purchase would drive the ‘closing out’ of the lower booking class as opposed to search data.

Re Faro, yes airlines control their inventory by route /flight so it’s worth starting searches with a selection of airports that are relatively adjacent. I flew Munich London yesterday and the flights were being quoted at aprox £500 as it was Oktoberfest. 90 mins up the road flights from Nuremberg were a 5th of the price.
 
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Friend from Barquinha

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Skyscanner is fine for comparing prices, but please don't book with one of the third party ticket sellers that advertise on the site. (all of those links that you click on to book are ads) Particularly since Covid when there are so many changes to flights it's not a good idea to put a third party between you and the airline. It's always safest to book directly with the airline.
Agree totally with this. Early in the year, I used one of the third-party sellers (who are essentially travel agents) for what was originally an early-spring trip. I won't go into the multitude of depressing details about the re-booked and then ultimately cancelled flight itself. But dealing with this particular re-seller was a nightmare: incredibly time-consuming and in the end, pointless.

Book directly with the airline if you can.
 

trecile

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I used one of the third-party sellers (who are essentially travel agents)
I disagree that they are travel agents. Agents work for you, and provide services and extra value. These third parties work only for themselves and provide little if any service or value to the consumer.

To be clear, I'm not talking about real travel agents that will go to bat for you after the sale and provide other services.
 

jeanineonthecamino

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I disagree that they are travel agents. Agents work for you, and provide services and extra value. These third parties work only for themselves and provide little if any service or value to the consumer.

To be clear, I'm not talking about real travel agents that will go to bat for you after the sale and provide other services.
Yes - they are kind of like the self checkout lanes at stores - the checkout lane machines do all of the scanning of codes and accept payments - but I have to put in the labor to give the machines the info they need and to check out - so I wouldn't say the self checkout lanes are the same as a cashier since I do the work. Likewise - Online booking sites give you the same information as a travel agent would - but you need to know how to navigate the website and do the search for yourself of flights/routes/schedules, select your flights, and purchase.

That said - for a tech and travel savvy person - the booking sites do eliminate the need for a travel agent just as self service checkout lanes eliminate the need for a cashier (in most instances for both). I personally have never used a travel agent - but can definitely see the value in having one for many people who are less tech savvy and in some circumstances.
 

trecile

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That said - for a tech and travel savvy person - the booking sites do eliminate the need for a travel agent
A travel savvy person would book directly with the airline and avoid third party ticket sellers who add fees and complications to the process without adding any value.
 
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jeanineonthecamino

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A travel savvy person would book directly with the airline and avoid third party ticket sellers who add fees and complications to the process without adding any value.
I do both - sometimes you save money that way (booking directly). Sometimes you don't. I am always surprised when I get cheaper tickets from a 3rd party - but it happens more often than you think! Just like sometimes buying a ticket with multiple stops is cheaper than buying a direct ticket or direct tickets through each of the stops. Sometimes buying separate one way tickets saves money, sometimes buying round trip does. My favorite is when I search for tickets to multiple cities in Europe (to compare prices) - I can find cheap tickets that stop in a certain city for a change of flights but if I try to book directly to that city (where I would have to change flights) and NOT go on to the next city - it can be twice as expensive lol. The only real (consistent) advantage to buying directly from the airline is if there is a problem with your flights - the airline will take care of you whereas the booking website might not.
 

Friend from Barquinha

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I disagree that they are travel agents. Agents work for you, and provide services and extra value. These third parties work only for themselves and provide little if any service or value to the consumer.

To be clear, I'm not talking about real travel agents that will go to bat for you after the sale and provide other services.
Agree; but legally they are considered travel agents. If you buy a ticket using one of them, and then have issues (e.g. airline cancelling/changing the booking), you get nowhere dealing with airline yourself; you must use this agent. And in some cases, they're pathetic! Avoid.
 

trecile

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but legally they are considered travel agents. If you buy a ticket using one of them, and then have issues (e.g. airline cancelling/changing the booking), you get nowhere dealing with airline yourself; you must use this agent. And in some cases, they're pathetic! Avoid.
Yes, I agree. Especially with "avoid."
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
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What you say is true, but only until the self-serve checkout screen beeps and flashes "Please wait for assistance."
Which is why I added " eliminate the need for a cashier (in most instances for both)." to that statement - because there is always that time when there is a problem with the machine or they need to check an ID or something
 

mark connolly

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sept 2017 Lourdes to SJPDP via Piemonte
SJPDP to SDC via CF
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Skyscanner is fine for comparing prices, but please don't book with one of the third party ticket sellers that advertise on the site. (all of those links that you click on to book are ads) Particularly since Covid when there are so many changes to flights it's not a good idea to put a third party between you and the airline. It's always safest to book directly with the airline.
Thanks for pointing that out.

Mark
 
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reneeavril

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I've been watching the price of flights to France from Vancouver to Biarritz, returning to Vancouver from Porto. A month ago I could have booked these flights for just under $1,300 (Canadian $). Today those same flights are just over $1,600. So up around $300.

I plan to travel in mid-May 2023, so still about 8 months away.

I'm hoping the prices will come down in the coming months, but they could very well go in the other direction. I hate booking so far in advance (flights will not be refundable), but I also don't want to be spending $2,000+ for my flight...

Trying to forecast flight prices in a world just coming out of a pandemic is a mug's game I know, but just curious how far in advance others tend to book, especially these days.
I’m traveling VERY last minute and had to book my flight from Washington, DC less than a week away. My biggest tip is to check out Ryanair.com for other options beyond Madrid and Paris. I’m saving a few hundred dollars by flying into Dublin and taking a cheap ($20) flight from Dublin to Biarritz.
 

TravellingMan2022

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I’m traveling VERY last minute and had to book my flight from Washington, DC less than a week away. My biggest tip is to check out Ryanair.com for other options beyond Madrid and Paris. I’m saving a few hundred dollars by flying into Dublin and taking a cheap ($20) flight from Dublin to Biarritz.
Ryanair do have an incredible ‘intra European’ schedule so good tip!
 

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