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Travel Hacks: When to Book Your Flight and Fly

dtran5 profile picture
March 23, 2016 · 9.1k Views

Everyone wants to jet off on a vacation every now and then, but among the many factors to consider is cost. Vacations can run you a hefty sum, but one thing you can control is when you book your flight so you can save the most money. KAYAK analyzed over a billion search queries and shared the best time to buy and fly. Here are the results found from 2015:

Source: Kayak



First things first, compare airfares. I'm not sure why, but I've encountered many people who only look at Southwest when booking flights because they assume it will always be the cheapest. That's not true, at least not every single time. I use Google Flights to find the cheapest airfare but alternate tools you can use to track airfare drops include:

 Airfare Watchdog - this site will not only help you keep track of low fares for your preferred destinations but you can also browse daily for low fare sales for your next spontaneous adventure!
 Skyscanner - this is a basic web tool to help you run a search across most major airlines to track down the cheapest flights, hotels and car rentals. Keep in mind that certain airlines like Southwest airfare prices are not listed.
 TheFlightDeal - a real winner and certainly one of our favorite go-tos, The Flight Deal tracks down increadibly CHEAP roundtrip nationwide and international flights. Note that these cheap airefare sales definitely follow the 54 day rule so planning in advance will be a tad difficult. 
 Priceline - a more known site, Priceline has a special Name Your Own Price feature for flights, hotels and rental cars. You can save up to 40% off your next flight using this feature so long as your time of travel is flexible. Downside is... you don't know the exact price and travel times until you bid.
 Hipmunk - find amazing roundtrip deals easily up to 50% off from your departing location at Hipmunk! Perfect for a weekend getaway.
 Cheapoair - you can easily save up to $44 off your next flight, browse sample fare sales and check back for daily flight deals. 


Secondly, according to Fare Compare in an updated January 2016 article,

"the cheapest days to fly are unpopular travel days; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

To no surprise, the most expensive days to fly are when most people get off work and/or don't have work - Fridays and Saturdays. The cheapest times to fly are at dawn, overnight (red-eyes), and around dinner time - when most people don't want to fly.



Now that you have an idea of when to fly, here's the best time to book your flight. According to a new study conducted by Cheap Air, 54 days was the best number of days in advance to book a flight in 2015 for travel within the U.S.. More accurately, they noted that:

If you look at all 3 million itineraries, the best times to buy were all over the map (no pun intended). For a lot of them (about 13,000 in total) 54 days out was indeed the best time to buy, but for almost as many the best time to buy was 53 days out, or 52 days, or 45 days, or 60 days. In fact, for almost 30,000 trips the best time to book was actually the day the flight first went on sale! And for a fraction of them (a tiny, tiny fraction) it was best to book at the very last minute.

Overall, Tuesdays at 12 p.m. (PST) is when airlines share the most sales and price matches are plentiful. With that being said, domestic flights should be bought between 3 months and 30 days before departure, while international flights should be bought 5 1/2 months and 1 1/2 months before departure. During the most popular seasons (i.e. June, July, August, and December), book your flights two months in advance.


More ways to save:

  • If you're willing, adding a stop (or two) to your flight can sometimes save you as much as 50% on your total cost. A little inconvenience can go a long way when you're on vacation!
  • Avoid flying out of smaller airports if you can. Bigger airports often have cheaper airfares, so if the drive isn't too bad, you may want to consider it!
  • Book one ticket at a time. Multiple tickets in a single transaction are required to be sold at the same price, so shopping for one ticket might save you money. For example, if there is only one ticket left at $100 and all other tickets on that flight cost $250, you'll be paying $500 for 2 tickets if you buy them together. If you buy them separately, you'll only pay $350 for 2 tickets.

 Don't forget to visit DealsPlus to find savings and deals on your airfare and don't miss out on a cheap weekend getaway to keep your wanderlust at bay!

We want to know which country you want to visit, so tell us in the comments below!


dtran5 profile picture
Daisy loves to write with humor and can be quite the sarcastic commentator when it is appropriate. Loves carbs, fashion, staying active, and pinning the latest DIY projects for her room (which she will actually never do).
Sheryl526Apr 20, 2016
Thank you for the information on best days to fly. Sherry 26
scorpion650Mar 27, 2016
Great pointers and thanks for sharing the resources (websites)!
DealiciousPieMar 27, 2016
Great post! I totally second that flying Tues, Wed and Sat are by far the cheapest, whether you're departing or returning. And booking too early can be super expensive, so earlier is not always better!

Thanks for posting this informative article. It's a must read for anyone who likes traveling.

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