dehner: new worlds

Greece & Turkey here I come!

I got the tickets!

Because I am either Spock or Hermione Granger, I began the airfare research process in January of last year by pricing trips for summer 2012. Travel to European cities from my location (a smallish city in the Midwest 4 hours from the nearest major international airport) averaged $1500, so that's what I budgeted. This summer, when we settled on a trip to Greece and Turkey, I read every airfare booking article I could find. The NY Times, my favorite news source, found that the lowest international fares are booked 6-8 months in advance so I began checking ticket prices in August with the goal of purchasing in November or December. Tickets to Athens held steady at about $1400-1700, which I knew wasn't a good price, but tickets to Istanbul dropped sharply in the last three days -- but only for fares from my city. I could not save any money at all by flying from Dallas, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, or even Washington DC -- in some cases, the tickets were $200-300 cheaper from my city than from more traditional international gateways. In fact, the only cheaper fare to be had was from New York City, and it was only $100 less. Then I checked Expedia trend tracker, which said that the average summer fare from Chicago to Istanbul was $1250. I figured I was doing well if I could pay less from my small city than from a major international airport, and then I fiddled with my departure dates to make sure I was flying on Tuesdays and Saturdays, traditionally the cheapest days to fly. That brought the fare down to $1173, and after hearing that this was less than any of my friends had paid in the past, I booked the ticket. Would it have gotten lower if I kept waiting? I'm not sure. I do know that it was a good deal now, especially considering that we will be gone for more than 1 month, and it was $330 under budget. I also know that it is the lowest international fare I've ever seen from my city, so I'm not sorry I went for it.

Thank you to everyone who offered advice on my last post!

Days 1-6: Istanbul, Turkey
Days: 7-9: Thessaloniki, Greece
Day 8: Meteora, Greece
Days 9-12: Athens and Delphi, Greece
Days 13-17: Crete, Greece
Days 18-23: Karpathos and Rhodes, Greece
Days 24-27: Turkish coast
Days 28-29: Unscheduled days to be used for travel delays, or to hang out in Turkey
Day 30-31: Return to Istanbul, fly home

Travel advice welcome if you've been to either place. I know we're not doing Turkey justice, but we decided to focus on Greece this trip and hope for a more thorough visit to Turkey some other time.
Wow, sounds like a great trip! I adored Istanbul, with the architecture, turkish baths and ferries (such great public transit!) being especial highlights. Oooh, and the fresh pomegranate juice from street vendors. You've got lots of time to plan and anticipate :-)
Sounds like a good deal to me! Congrats. Thanks for the heads up on the Expedia trend tracker -- something new to play with (although I've tried three itineraries and it's said "historical airfares for this trip are currently unavailable" on all of them *pokes site*).
Congrats on the tickets! That does indeed sound like quite the good deal. The itinerary gives me Fernweh. I'd be interested in any updates of your trip planning and of course, the actual journey. :D