By Gean T. Cesar
Summer is just a month away….and taking a summer vacation is almost always a must for anyone. Who would not want to bask in the sun in your Instagram-ready swimwear or show off another OOTD (outfit of the day)? And flying out to our international favorite destination has become so much easier and affordable now- thanks to regular flight promos. But many travelers still wonder- when is the best time to book international flights and domestic flights? Not everyone will have the luxury to have access to Piso-fares, low fares and credit cards. As practice, many book their flights months ahead. Others a year before- others a month before the scheduled flight. Both end up paying the same amount. So is there an unknown trick to this? Let’s check what various travel websites tell us!
CHEAPOAIR: For domestic flights, indicates that 54 days in advance is, on average, the best time to buy. But for international flights, the data is different. Central and South America show the best time to buy at 70 days out from travel dates, which is closest to the domestic 54 day average. Canada and Mexico are also similar to the U.S. market, with 75 days out being the optimal time to purchase airfare to either of our closest neighbors, on average. The best fares to Europe can be found at 4 months out (120 days), and Asian destinations come in at 160 days from travel dates. From here, there’s a jump to 215 days for the Middle East and Africa and then a bump to nearly one year to secure the best fares for the Caribbean (320 days) and Australasia/South Pacific (320 days).
FARECOMPARE: Check out what farecompare has to say:
• Cheapest days: The cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesday, Saturdays.
• Expensive days: The most expensive days to fly are Fridays and Sundays.
• Cheapest times: Fly when most people don’t want to including flights at dawn, red-eyes (overnight flights) and flights around the lunch and dinner hour.
When to begin shopping and when to wrap up your purchase.
• Best day to shop: FareCompare’s data shows that best time to book a flight in the U.S. is Tuesday at 3 p.m. eastern time. Many airlines release weekly sales late Monday or early Tuesday and by mid-afternoon, the competing airlines have matched the lower prices (so they don’t end up on page 30 of a shopper’s search query). In other words, this is usually the time when you’ll have the most deals to choose from.
• When to start and finish shopping: Shop too late and you may be hit with the steep last-minute fares business travelers get but shopping too early can also cost more. These are the shopping windows for the best-priced fares.
o International fares: Shop between 5 ½ months and 1 ½ months before departure.
o Peak travel: During peak seasons such as June, July and August or the December holidays, purchase tickets two months in advance.
SKYSCANNER: One last tip for getting the best deals on flights is to set up a price alert so that you’ll get alerted as soon as the price changes. We rounded up known travel bloggers and here’s what they can suggest:
• Monica Stott of Thetravelhack.com fame recommends: “Be flexible! When booking search the ‘whole month’ rather than a specific date and you will find the cost of the flights for every day that month. You might be surprised how much you can save by flying out a day earlier.”
• Flash Anthology’s Alice Tate advises: “My top savvy nuggets are to search by ‘Cheapest Month’ to get an idea of prices through the year. And as I tend to go at weekends and like to fly late on Friday night, I always use the sliders to make sure I’m only looking at Friday night flights rather than all day - it really does a great job of refining the search.”
• Vicky Philpott, from VickyFlipFlopTravels.com explains: “The cheapest flight isn’t always the best value. Explore a few options to see whether baggage is built in, if food on board is included, whether they have free Wi-Fi and if the timings match with your local transport links. They can end up being a false economy if you don’t do your research.”
While I do a lot of browsing months before my scheduled date of travel, I seem to notice that websites can track your browsing movements or history- which will direct me to fare price that are notably higher. I learned to switch to “incognito mode” in my browsing and yes I could see a much different search result! Anyhow, 3-6 months from your travel date is the best time for me (for international flights). For domestic flight, it can vary. While it’s true that it can be cheaper months ahead, but I was able to book several domestic flights a week before my scheduled flight, and I still get low price. What’s important is you browse regularly months ahead. Have your cash or credit card ready. So by the time you see the best price within your budget, don’t wait for another day to purchase it!
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