Homer's Travels: Buy Early Or Buy Late?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Buy Early Or Buy Late?

I still haven't figured out when the best time to buy airline tickets is.  There are a lot of factors that just can't be predicted.  One of those right now is the price of fuel.  I bought my flights to Spain back in early October.  I spent $905 on them.  I thought this might be a little steep at the time but, frankly, I had never bought tickets to Europe before so I really didn't have any idea.

Despite not having any idea, or because of it, I still fretted about it as I always do with these types of financial decisions.  It was during this fretting that I ran across Yapta.  Yapta allows you to track flights that you are going to buy and flights you've already purchased and receive emails when ticket prices move up or down a certain amount.  Let's say your flight goes down in price.  Some airlines will refund you the difference in ticket prices if the amount is large enough (for American Airlines, who has some of the highest re-booking fees, the amount has to be greater than $250 for European flights to make it worth your while).  Yapta is aware of these re-booking fees and will let you know if the price has dropped to the point that it might be worth your while to request a refund.

I received an email from Yapta today. Should I get a refund?  Heck no!  If I bought the ticket today I would pay  $1,745 - a 93% increase over what I spent last October.  Crazy.  I guess I have Tunisia ...and Egypt ... and Yemen ... and Bahrain ... and Syria ... and Libya ... to blame.  I'm very grateful that I bought those tickets back in October.


  1. Yessss!!! So happy for you! I like to buy tickets early too, because I feel like even if I'm paying a little more, I'm also getting peace of mind to not worry about tickets.

    Still, this yapta thing sounds cool!!

  2. Forget early or late. Win the lotto, buy your own plane, hire a pilot, fly when and where you want. Problem solved.

    As someone who has zero luck when it comes to any form of gambling, though, I thank you for the tip!

  3. MMC: Very true. I have enough to worry about so a little peace of mind is worth its weight in gold.

    GH: Ha! Please email me the sure fire method of winning the lotto and I'll share the prize with you.

    You are very welcome, my friend.

  4. I always buy early, I'm too much of a control freak not to have everything paid for and in my itinerary WAY in advance. The peace of mind is always worth paying a little extra for.

  5. LP: I buy early as well (Like I did this time) but I usually have no peace of mind until I arrive at my destination.