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I live in Ireland and I want to visit some relatives in Canada. Some of them live in Kelowna, BC and some in Langley, BC.

Which time of year is the cheapest and which is the most expensive? Also, are there any travel days that are the cheapest?

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This is a surprisingly complex question and impossible to give an absolute answer to. You are right that the price of flights vary through the year and some times are more expensive than others. However, the price of flights is also greatly influenced by when you purchase plus other market dynamics such as popular events.

That being said, Canada is a very seasonal country with huge variations in weather which also affect volumes of tourists. The high season when flights are expected to be quite expensive is summer when schools are closed. This occurs from the last week of June until labor day which is on the first Monday of September.

There is another right season from the week before Christmas to the Monday that follows new year. Schools are closed also during the period and so anyone who wants to escape the cold winter with their kids travels during that week which causes prices to peak even higher than summer prices.

Outside of those two high seasons prices are generally much lower, particular to and from Europe because it includes many popular destinations. Flights can cost less than half price! The lowest prices often occur during the months of October and November, than again around April or May which are almost as cheap.

The general advice is to book international travel 6 months ahead of time to secure low prices and good flights. As the date gets closer, prices tend to increase steadily but then at the last minute, when spots are available, it is possible for prices to drop again, although those flights can be pretty tough with long layovers, many connections and even change of airports.

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Flights are priced on supply and demand and vary a lot. Currently the cheapest round trip from Dublin to Vancouver in February is about 350 Euro. In August this will be at least twice as much.

Prices are lower if demand is lower. This typically means

  • No school holidays at either country
  • Undesirable weather in the destination
  • No major holidays, business, sports or other events
  • Weekdays that are not good for business travelers (mid-week or Saturday)
  • Crummy connections with long layovers

Most of these factors are hard to know so I wouldn't try to optimize any of these factors other than season. There are many search engines that allow you to look for the cheapest flight over a significant time range which makes this much easier than guessing.

Keep in mind that flight cost is not the only expense and sometimes spending a little extra money on a better flight option can make the trip much more enjoyable and may also save you money overall.

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Travel to Canada is very seasonal. The peak tourist season is summer, and specifically from Victoria Day (or May two-four, the last Monday before 25th May) to Labour Day, the first Monday of September. Expect flights in that time to be more expensive.

The other peak season is ski season, but whether that affects you is going to be dependent on where you are going. Calgary and Vancouver airports, and to a lesser extent Montreal, will have higher prices at that time, but not as high as summer.

The couple of weeks around Christmas will be expensive, like almost everywhere else in the world.

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