If you want to save money on airfare, you may want to start planning your trip about two months in advance.
I know what you’re thinking, “Two months? That seems like a little too much planning ahead for my taste.” But think about it for a minute. Two months is a nice chunk of time to plan. It’s also long enough to give you the best deal possible on airfare: According to new research from CheapAir.com, the best time to book domestic flights is 49 days before your departure date and international flights are 70 days before your departure date.
When’s the Best Time to Book a Flight? And Other Calendar of Events : A blog about when is the best time to book a cheap flight.
When’s the Best Time to Book a Flight?
And Other Calendar of Events
A blog about when is the best time to book a cheap flight. By Jason Stauffer.
I am often asked when is the best time to book a flight, but there is no one answer to this question. If you are looking for the best price on a flight, there are three important things you should know:
1. Airfare prices depend on demand, and demand is heavily influenced by seasonality. Airlines have an inventory of seats that they sell at different prices based on how many seats are left in the plane. You can think of an airline seat as being like a commodity that gets sold in different markets (e.g., leisure, business), with each market responding differently to changes in price. For example, the business traveler will pay $2,500 for a last-minute ticket while the leisure traveler will not pay more than $500 for the same ticket. The airline knows this and adjusts its pricing accordingly based on how many seats it has left to fill on any given flight. Airlines use sophisticated computer systems that constantly scan their sales data and adjust prices up or down depending on how close they are to being full.
2. Warning: This post
It’s the eternal question: when is the best time to book a flight? If only you could see into the future, you could find the cheapest airfare possible. Or, at least, avoid paying full price.
But the truth is, if you can’t see into the future, it’s almost impossible to find out whether today is the lowest price for your flight. There are too many variables, and there’s not enough data.
Fortunately, we can look at some trends that can be applied across the board and help us save money on airfare.
It’s a common question, and the answer is actually quite simple.
The best time to book a flight is when you’ll find the cheapest deal.
We’ve already done the research for you. Over the past two years, we’ve found that most people can save hundreds of dollars on flights by booking at least three weeks before they fly. However, fares do fluctuate within that three-week window. For example, in our ongoing study of U.S. domestic flight prices, we’ve found that the “prime booking window” is between 21 to 121 days before your flight takes off (assuming you’re flying at least two weeks from now).
While it’s ideal to book during this prime booking window, you can often find good deals outside of it, too. Last year we found that domestic flight prices don’t start to rise significantly until around seven weeks before takeoff (with a few exceptions), and that fares are still usually below $400 for flights booked at least four weeks out. And if you have some flexibility, you could also consider flying less popular routes or red-eye flights—both can lead to big savings.
To help you determine when’s the best time to book your flight, we’ve put together a list of events and holidays worth considering
Many travelers are afraid to book flights too early, but the truth is that booking in advance is one of the best ways to save money on airfare.
In this age of fluctuating airfares, you may have heard it said that Tuesdays are the best days to book a cheap flight. However, Travel + Leisure reports that there’s no definitive day for scoring cheap flights.
The folks at Condé Nast Traveler disagree. In an article about when to book travel, they note that a study by Airlines Reporting Corp., which handles ticket transactions for hundreds of airlines, revealed that Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days of the week to book a flight.
But no matter what day you choose, there’s one thing you should always do: book in advance.
Condé Nast Traveler reports that domestic flights should be booked between one and three months in advance. International trips should be reserved between three and six months before departure.
According to CheapAir, domestic fares were an average of $215 when booked three weeks in advance and an average of $292 when purchased just two days before takeoff.*
It’s the first thing we all think of when planning a trip: “What’s the best day to book my flight?” And it makes sense. Airfare is one of the biggest expenses travelers face, and it can be tough to know if you’re getting a good deal.
We’ve been collecting pricing data for more than seven years, and we’ve found that there are some common patterns as to when airfare prices are lowest. For example, we found that for domestic flights within the U.S., buying a ticket between 21 and 112 days before flying is often the best time to buy a ticket.
But we wanted to dig deeper into our data. We analyzed more than 917 million airfares in over 8,000 markets in the U.S., and we found that there is an ideal time period to book your flight—and it can vary depending on where you are going. We looked at trends for trips in all four seasons (summer doesn’t always have the highest fares!).
The general rule is this: You’ll save money if you purchase your ticket three weeks (21 days) in advance of your departure date—but not too far in advance (more than
My general advice has been to book when you know your travel dates. If the price is a bit higher than you’d like, but not prohibitively so, I’d suggest booking anyway.
Why? Because the price will probably go up if you wait. Some people are willing to gamble on that, but it’s a risky strategy in my opinion. When I waited too long once, and prices shot up by $200 at the last minute, I vowed never to do that again.
However, there are some times when you can save some cash by delaying your purchase a bit. And then there are other times when you really should buy ASAP or risk paying much more for your flight. Here’s a calendar of events that can help you figure out the best time to buy (and when to wait).