When is it cheaper to fly to Ireland?

Senior Q&A
by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on July 9, 2004. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, Ireland, Molly Feltner, Senior Q&A, senior travel.

Dear Editor,

My husband and I are planning a trip to Ireland for 2005, but we have not yet settled on our travel dates. We are flexible about when we go because we are both retired. I have been told that summer is the best season to visit because the weather tends to be sunnier than at other times of the year. However, I researched airfare for travel this summer and prices were almost $900 from our home airport, Los Angeles International.

We would like to travel when the weather is less rainy, but summer prices seem awfully high. Is there a time of year when the weather is decent, but prices are not as high?

Helen S.

Dear Helen,

The summer travel season as the airlines define it—approximately June 15 to Labor Day—is indeed the most expensive time of the year to fly to Ireland (or any other European destination) because demand for flights is at its highest. Outside these dates, you’ll likely pay a lot less, with the winter months being the cheapest. For travel this past winter, we saw sale fares on Aer Lingus as low as $368 round-trip from Los Angeles, not including taxes and fees. However, winter in Ireland entails short dreary days, cold temperatures, and attraction closures. Instead, consider visiting mid- to late spring or early fall.

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Contrary to what you’ve been told, the driest months of the year in Ireland are April, May, and June, according to the Travel Planner’s Weather Guide. May and June can be ideal months to visit because daylight hours are longer, almost all attractions are open, and you’ll avoid the crowds of tourists that can make travel during the summer a hassle. Plus, while you won’t get rock-bottom winter fares, you’ll pay a lot less for spring fares than for travel during the summer. This past spring, we saw Aer Lingus sale fares from Los Angeles starting at $576 round-trip before taxes. As a general rule, you can expect to pay lower "shoulder season" fares as long you depart by June 15; your return date doesn’t matter. However, it’s always a good idea to check an airline’s pricing policy before booking.

Mid-September to October can also be a good time of year to visit. Rainfall is more common in the fall than in the spring, but you can still experience many days of fine weather. As during the spring, you’ll find fewer tourists and most attractions open. Presently, we’re starting to see sale fares to Europe for this coming fall, and based on previous trends, we expect them to drop even lower as the summer progresses. For example, last August, Aer Lingus advertised fares from Los Angeles starting at $488 round-trip before taxes for departures from September 1 to October 15.

While the airline industry is constantly changing, we expect you’ll find the same seasonal pricing differences for travel in 2005. Keep up to date with the latest Ireland sale fares by checking our Europe air deal page. Good luck with planning your trip.

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