How to Score the Best Deal on Flights and More Travel Tips
Do you have the itch to travel, but the budget of a hermit? Don’t worry, we’ve got a few tips to help you game the system and score the best deal on flights! Whether you’re flying internationally or just domestic, these guidelines will get you the best prices.
The best time to price flights really depends on your destination. If you’re flying domestically, you’ll want to start looking for flights as early as three months before your intended travel date. You’ll want to start shopping even sooner than that for International flights. According to Farecompare.com, you’ll want to begin pricing flights around 5.5 months before your intended travel date if you plan to leave the country.1 When shopping, don’t just rely on aggregator sites like Expedia and CheapOAir to find the best deal for you. Consult them, and low-cost airlines like Southwest and Frontier to compare prices.2 It’s also important to point out when comparing prices, it’s best to turn off cookies or use an incognito window, as continuing to check prices on the site can drive prices up!
Best Times to Fly and Purchase
When your shopping for flights it’s extremely important to pay attention to times. Pay attention to the days in which your purchasing and flying and pay attention to flight times as well. Tuesday is historically the best day to book flights, specifically, Tuesday afternoon. The reason being is that most airlines release weekly sales that morning.3 When shopping, you’ll want to look for flights that occur on Saturday, the cheapest day of the week as it directly follows the busiest, Friday, and predates the Monday morning rush.4 If a Saturday flight isn’t conducive to your schedule look for flights on Tuesday or Wednesday instead. Avoid flights on Friday and Sunday as those days are historically the most expensive days to fly.5 Watch takeoff times as well, as they can also impact the price of the flight. Typically, a morning weekday flight will be less expensive than an afternoon flight since the latter tends to be more popular.6 It’s interesting to note that flying when you’d rather be doing day-to-day activities will also drive the price down. Overnight flights or flights during meal times are typically cheaper than flights during the day.7
Fun fact, according to Conde Nast, if you’re looking to have the least amount turbulence you should book an early morning flight before the atmosphere warms up, but not the first flight of the day as the airspace has been unexplored overnight.8
Holiday travel is a different animal completely, it breaks all the rules. To score the best deal on flights during peak times such as the holidays or summer, you’ll need to start looking FAR in advance. A good rule of thumb is to purchase your tickets at least two months in advance of your preferred travel date.9 To be more specific, airline prices are nearly 10% below average, if purchased 50 days before the intended travel date during the holiday season, according to U.S. News and World Report.10 Use sites like Google Flights, and apps like Hopper to monitor flight prices as soon as you know you’ll be traveling during peak times so that you can nab the best deal. They will notify you by push notification, or email if they expect the price to go down or up. For Thanksgiving travel, according to Hopper, the cheapest day to fly out is Monday, November 20 and to return is Wednesday, November 29. That is if you can afford the 9 days in PTO. According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation, the 17-day period that overlaps Christmas and New Year’s is hands down the worst time to travel.11 Avoid flying if you can, but if you can’t stay flexible with your dates to keep from breaking the bank!
To aid in your search for the cheapest flight we’ve found the best times to buy, and the cheapest month to fly to several top destinations both domestically and internationally! Check the map before you purchase.