Cheap flights to Melbourne may not really be cheap compared to shorter northern hemisphere flights, but you can save a lot of money on this large expense if you plan it right and know where to find a good deal.
Part of Australias attraction is that it is on the other side of the world and to some extent untouched by the troubles of the northern hemisphere countries.
This is of course not really true, although Australia has tended to trail behind during, both in development and decline of culture. However this difference has been shrinking with modern communication and travel.
Nonetheless, Melbourne is a place where people can still be friendly and are community orientated. Flights arrive into Melbourne from Europe through Asia, and from the US and Canada.
Each airline releases a certain number of tickets at discounted rates. Cheap flights to Melbourne are released at various times throughout the year, some as little as 21 days before the flight.
You dont necessarily get a better deal if you book a long time ahead unless you travel peak times such as Christmas.
You can get relatively cheap flights to Melbourne 3 weeks in advance in the low seasons, which may even be cheaper than one booked 6 month in advance. However, last minute bookings will rarely get you a discount airfare and it is a gamble to wait that long with the purchase of your ticket.
By opting for more than one stop-over from Europe or any other far destination you can get cheaper flights. The trip takes longer but you are filling seats on shorter legs for the airlines and they reward you with a discount.
There are many factors involved in getting a discount airfare and there really is no "best time" to buy a ticket. You can get good deals by booking early and good deals by waiting.
The key is research and knowing the market.
You can research online by checking various airlines and get a feel for the going prices. You can sign up for weekly updates and sales with the websites of individual airlines.
Finding a cheap flight is a matter of doing your research, knowing the market and grabbing a deal when you see it. You can compare prices from various sites here that source the best flight deals.
There are two main high seasons that affect flights to Australia: the northern hemisphere summer and the Australian school holidays over Christmas.
The long school holidays in Melbourne start just before Christmas and go through to the end of January. Flights to Melbourne around Christmas and early January are often booked out and are also more expensive for that reason.
Other expensive times to travel to Melbourne are from around the middle of June to the middle of September. But even within that period you can get discounts - there are always some weeks that are cheaper than others.
The best time for cheap flights to Melbourne is from February to April, or in October. But even here you can compare prices from that month to find the cheapest departure date.
But if you are like many people, you may not be able to arrange your holidays around the flights. In any case give yourself some time for research, so you know the market.
A good place to start is the Kayak website that compares over 100 airlines and discount flight providers, and can help you find the best deals.
Make sure you compare the right type of price. Some tickets are advertised without taxes and fees, which work out over $500 in and out of Melbourne.
The cheapest tickets are e-tickets booked online.
It can be strange walking up to the check-in counter for your Australia trip with nothing than a print out from a website, but I never had any trouble with e-tickets, even on long trips.
However, the cheaper the ticket the less flexible it is. Make sure you know the conditions of your discount airfare.
Some of them allow no changes whatsoever, while others allow you to change your travel dates. But even then, this cannot always be done through the airline but you have to go through the online travel agent which can be a hassle.
Some tickets have a limit on how long you can stay I wanted to extend my stay in the US once and could not as I would have lost my ticket altogether.
If you are likely to need to change travel dates you may be better off getting a travel agent to make your arrangements.
They can also throw together a deal that covers car hire, internal flights and accommodation which altogether may work out cheaper.
But having said that you can book similar car and flight or accommodation and flight deals through the Kayak website.
Bottom-line to getting cheap flights to Melbourne is to allow some of your time to research.
I have travelled to and from Europe for many years and always went for the bargain flights. That resulted in my share of air travel adventures like getting escorted at gunpoint to the terminal in Afghanistan, an emergency landing in Tashkent and being stuck with Russian sailors in Moscow airport.
You dont have to go that far for cheap flights to Melbourne. Yet, the cheapest discount airfares are with the lesser rated airlines. To find out where you stand with an airline you can check out their star ratings on this website.
Many airlines sell more seats on a plane than they have available. This is so they dont end up with empty seats after last minute cancellations. This game frequently does not work out and some people get stranded.
This is when the airlines ask for volunteers to take a later flight in exchange for future travel vouchers and sometimes cash.
You can make some extra money or save on future flights. Some people go as far as finding out, which flights are likely to be overbooked and book onto those and then put up their hand fast when the opportunity comes along.
If you have the time and lots of reading material, getting bumped may be something to play with. Personally I have only come across such an opportunity on flights to and from the US.
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