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Q I am going to the Algarve for March and April next year from Bristol. When would be the best time to book my flights with economy airlines, eg easyJet or Ryanair, to get the cheapest prices?

Arthur Wilmot

A Probably right now, especially if your trip is likely to coincide with the extra demand spurred by Easter.

In 2013 Easter is uncommonly early, with Good Friday on 29 March and Easter Sunday on 31. Fares immediately before and after are likely to be high, and will only rise further as seats become scarce. The early Easter has implications for school holidays, though most that I have checked are breaking up on or just before Maundy Thursday, 28 March, and returning on Monday 15 April. That means flights on the weekend of 13/14 April will also be in high demand, as will those on the previous weekend because of people starting or ending a one-week holiday on Saturday or Sunday. If you are looking at any of those dates, it makes sense to buy now.

Should your planned dates manage to avoid all these peak times, however, you can afford to be a bit more relaxed - especially if you are prepared to consider flights from other airports, such as Birmingham (on Monarch or Ryanair) or Bournemouth (on Ryanair). But personally I would book now, to lock into a specific fare - and to be able to look forward to springtime in the Algarve.

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