Book Now or Wait: A Europe Summer Airfare Primer

Last month I introduced you to our research on when to book peak-season airfare to Europe. This month, you'll need to seriously consider sealing the deal. Regardless of whether your summer Europe plans include towers, cathedrals, or canals, we're quickly approaching the season, so you'll need to start nailing down plans if you want to make this trip happen.

Have you been tracking prices for your itinerary? We have. We've now been compiling airfare data for two months and are monitoring the fluctuating rates for high-season travel to many European cities. This is how a few sample routes are stacking up compared to mid-February, when we began evaluating the rates:

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  • New York City > London: Decreased by 15 percent. Continues to trend downward.
  • New York City > Paris: Decreased by 23 percent. Continues to trend downward.
  • New York City > Rome: Decreased by 6 percent. Decreased 13 percent since last month.
  • New York City > Madrid: Increased by 13 percent since mid-February, but cheaper than last month.
  • New York City > Dublin: Decreased by 28 percent. Substantially trending downward. Now may be the time to book.
  • Los Angeles > London: Increased by one-tenth of a percent. Barely moving the needle from two months ago, but about three percent less than last month.
  • Los Angeles > Paris: Increased by three percent since two months ago, but relatively stable since last month.
  • Los Angeles > Rome: Decreased by 12 percent. Book soon to experience the Colosseum.
  • Los Angeles > Madrid: Decreased by five-tenths of a percent. Generally speaking, it has remained stable.
  • Los Angeles > Dublin: Decreased by 35 percent. Continues to decrease dramatically, but could the dipping trend continue?
  • Chicago > London: Decreased by 7 percent since two months ago, but stable since one month ago.
  • Chicago > Paris: Decreased by five-tenths of a percent. Mostly stable.
  • Chicago > Rome: Decreased by 11 percent since two months ago, but consistent with last month's rates.
  • Chicago > Madrid: Decreased by seven percent. The fares were steady for the last two months, but have taken a sudden dip since last week.
  • Chicago > Dublin: Decreased by 20 percent since two months ago, and relatively consistent with last month.

For the most part, just about all of our researched routes have gotten cheaper since we began running these reports two months ago. The most pronounced reductions, however, are for Dublin and Rome flights, so now is the perfect time to book flights for either destination.

Though there is no exact science, tracking prices based on your itinerary needs is an informed way to find a cheap flight. So continue (or start) running some research of your own, and I'll chime back in with the third installment next month.

Readers: Are you planning on traveling to Europe this summer? Are you tracking rates? If you've traveled to Europe during peak season before, how far in advance did you buy airfare, and were you happy with the price you paid?

Read comments or add your own insight!
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