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When it comes to booking airfare, everyone is looking to get the best deal possible. It seems like everyone has a method to find the cheapest airfare. While some use search engines, others only swear by their favorite online travel agency. Still others scour internet forums to find hidden fares, or questionable “hidden city” travel. Is there a best time to book a flight?
Although travel looks a lot different today than ever before, there are still rules about finding the best, cheap fares. No matter where you go, here’s where you can find the best time to book a flight.
How Airfares are Determined
Before we dive into the best and cheapest time to book a flight, it’s important to consider how airlines decide the price of an airline ticket. Complex algorithms measuring consumer demand, operational costs, and other factors all affect how much you pay for your airline ticket.
A flight price can change every 4.5 days and the airfare price can fluctuate around $33 on average in either direction.
These changes can reflect a number of situations inside the airline, including supply, demand, fuel charges, and other factors. Although passengers don’t have control over the pricing, understanding it can help travelers find the best prices for their flights.
What is the Best Day to Book a Flight?
No matter who you ask, everyone has a theory on the best day of the week to book a flight. Some swear by Tuesdays or Wednesdays, while others have their own theories and secrets. Is there are best single day to book a flight? It all depends on which study you read.
The best travel time to book airfare is on Tuesdays at around 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Air carriers publish their sales on Tuesday morning, which creates a chain reaction among the competition. As a result, budget flyers can often find good deals as everyone adjusts their prices.
Other reports suggest that Saturdays may be the better day of the week to book both domestic and international plane tickets. Saturdays had an average price of $298.78. Tuesdays were the second cheapest day with an average price of $299.52.
You can save money on your airfare if you use a flight tracker. These sites show you the best deals and are a great way to get a general idea of what is going on.
Searching for the best day to book a flight can be frustrating and overwhelming. Many sites have their own agendas and focus on different airlines, times, or even methods of searching. While these methods can be helpful, they do not always give you the most accurate results.
No matter your strategy, the data is unilaterally clear. Both Tuesdays and Saturdays are considered to be the best days to book a flight. Your credit card company may not be so kind. They usually require a 48-hour cancellation period to protect themselves. You will find this on your statement, but if you don’t want to lose money, make sure you cancel the day before.
Last minute travel is a hassle, but if you have the time, then don’t be afraid to book on your favorite day. There are often good deals to be had by being early or at the very least, by booking on a weekday. The travel date will usually determine the cost of your ticket.
The other option is to buy a round-trip ticket. If you are going to fly again, you can save a lot of money by buying a round-trip ticket. Of course, you should still cancel your return flight as soon as possible.
In addition, fluctuations in airfare are not a good indicator of future price increases. The best way to find the cheapest airfare is to book as far in advance as possible.
How Far Out Should I Book My Flight?
It’s one thing to figure out which days are the best to book flights. It’s something completely different to figure out when someone should book a flight. As you plan your future flights, how far out should you start looking for your next getaway?
Once again, it’s all about what study you read. FareCompare suggests flyers start shopping for their flights between three months and 30 days before their planned departure date. SkyScanner suggests travelers need to start looking three months in advance, with September as the cheapest month for airfare prices.
Everyone agrees that if you plan on traveling during the busiest times of the year, including the summer months and the holiday season, it’s important to plan early and search for airfare often. If you’re looking for lowest fare deals, SkyScanner suggests you should look in August and September, as airlines prices their airfare cheapest during those months. Comparatively, FareCompare suggests purchasing tickets at least two months ahead of your next trips.
What are the Best Days to Fly?
Once you have put together a strategy to find the best flights, is there anything else you can do to find the cheapest airfares? If you want to pay the lowest possible price, look for the least popular flights.
Airlines make the most money on business travelers, who schedule their flights to be at a certain place at a certain time. These flyers usually pick flights during the daytime, when it’s most convenient to travel. As a result, these flights often come with a higher price tag.
When you buy airline tickets, you want to ensure that you are getting the best deal. The ticker prices may look good, but they don’t tell the whole story. It is not uncommon for the lowest price to be one day earlier than the highest price. For example, summer travel in the northeast has historically been expensive. This is why airlines like JetBlue may offer lower fares in June and July. This allows travelers to avoid peak season when flights are more expensive.
On new year’s day, travelers may find the ticket prices to be quite high. While some airlines have a sale, it is not possible to know what the price will be until the date of purchase. It is best to avoid buying airfare on new year’s day, since there are no deals.
Another important factor to consider is peak travel days. For example, the holiday season has become one of the busiest times for travel. You want to avoid booking your flight on a Friday or Saturday during this time. These days tend to be oversold and it is likely that you will have to pay extra fees for your seat assignment or if you don’t book a seat in advance.
International trip may be more expensive during the holidays. If you are traveling to Europe, the US, or Australia, you will likely have to pay a surcharge. If you are traveling during this time, you may want to book your flight as early as possible. The booking window for international flights is typically only open for a few days, which means that you have to act quickly.
To get the lowest possible price, look for flights at unpopular times. Early morning flights, late-night flights and overnight flights are often cheaper than those during the day.
In addition, flights on certain days are often under booked, meaning there may be some deals to be had. To find the best possible flight prices, be flexible in the days to fly. Flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are often cheaper than flights at the beginning and end of the work week.
Domestic vs. International: When Should I Book My Flight?
Depending on where you are going, the rules for booking flights may change, just like how the price change. While the research suggests you should start looking for domestic flights between three months and 30 days before your flight, the research time for international travel may take longer.
FareCompare suggests that you should start looking for flights to Europe at least five months in advance. The window for the best fares occurs from five months away, up to 1.5 months before your planned departure date. Meanwhile, SkyScanner says you should book international flights at least two weeks before departure to find the best deals, and the cheapest month to fly outside the U.S. is March.
Where Can I Find the Best Flight Deals?
If you’re constantly looking for the best deals to fly around the world, you aren’t alone. There are several resources available to find the best airline prices for your next trip. Start your search with these websites:
- FlyerTalk.com: Considered the number one website for frequent flyers around the world, members of this bulletin board are constantly looking for the best airfares available.
- Scott’s Cheap Flights: Get an e-mail alert when airfares drop for international destinations. Premium subscribers also get access to exclusive deals and holiday flights.
Finding the cheapest flights is just a matter of research, timing, and maximizing your luck. By knowing when to shop and when to book, you can improve your odds of finding the best flights.
There are many factors that can influence the price of a flight. While some flights may be cheaper, you should always be prepared to pay more. For example, most people will not purchase a flight during the school break when it is cheaper. However, if you are traveling during the winter break, it may be a good time to buy tickets since it is less expensive.
The weather can also have an impact on the price of airfare. If there is snow or rain in the forecast, this can have an impact on ticket prices for several days. In addition, booking your flight during hurricane season could lead to higher prices as well. There are times when airlines will use travel warnings as an excuse to raise prices. The best thing to do is to research your destination and make sure that you plan accordingly.
While during the pandemic the price of a flight may be decreased, this is not always the case. The CDC recommends that you do not travel if you have been exposed to the virus. While some carriers may lower the price of a flight, others may charge more for the same flight.
If you are a frequent flyer, it is important to know what is happening with your airline and the competition. In addition, if you are planning to take a long trip, you may want to book your flight as early as possible. If there is an airfare sale in a certain time frame, it is best to book your ticket early so that you can take advantage of the savings. If there is no discount on the day of purchase, it is better to wait until there is a price drop.
There are times when booking a ticket can be more expensive than purchasing at the airport counter. If you are booking online or over the phone, make sure that you check out other travel sites that offer cheap tickets. Many times these airlines offer lower prices and fees than those offered by their competitors. The best way to get cheap tickets for airline tickets is by comparing prices from different sites and then comparing your options with those sites that offer cheap tickets for airline tickets.