We Want To Travel to Italy This Fall. When Is the Best Time To Shop for Airfare?

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Welcome to Ask Clark, a column designed to answer your financial questions, by money expert Clark Howard.

When Is the Best Time To Buy Airfare for International Travel in Fall 2021?

Mike from Idaho says: “We would like to travel to Italy in the fall, assuming, of course, they’re open for tourism. When would be the best time to shop for airfare?”

Clark’s Take on When To Buy Airfare for Travel to Italy This Autumn

Clark says: Now is the time to snap a great deal on airfare to Italy and other places in Europe, but you should be aware of the risks.

“I’m starting to see a parade of really good deals to Europe for the fall, really starting mid-August and beyond into the fall,” he says.

Before you book, Clark says you should read up on the individual policies of the airline you’re considering. You’ll also want to keep abreast of the latest travel guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Travel may be bouncing back, but because we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline industry’s policies are still a bit in flux. But here’s Clark’s advice:

“You might find a great deal, but it comes with hazards,” Clark says. “As long as you can live with the terms and conditions of what would happen with your money if the trip does not take place in the fall, when there’s a great deal, buy it.”

Clark says any traveler needs to be able to withstand a certain amount of risk based on the possibility that:

  • The airline doesn’t fly the flight
  • You decide it’s not the time to fly
  • Your destination has closed to foreign tourists

“The airlines that fly all these European flights are desperate to bring in some revenue. So they’re posting these fares for flights they don’t know if they’re going to fly or not: ‘aspirational’ flights, if you will,” Clark says.

Where To Look for Cheap Flights

Clark is a big fan of Google.com/Flights, which recommends cheap fares based on various departure airports. Here’s how to use Google Flights to save money.

He also recommends signing up for ScottsCheapFights.com, which has a free and a “premium” version.


To find some of the best fares, including last-minute deals, make sure you also check out ClarkDeals.com.

As far as timing your purchase is concerned, here’s the best day and time to book a flight.

To hear Clark’s full take on this question, listen to the segment:

Do you have a question for Clark? Use this form to ask him! And remember that you can listen to the Clark Howard Podcast at any time here.

If you have a question but don’t want to go on-air, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center for free money help.

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