Finding the best airfare deal is a battle that many travelers are still desperate to win. While it might seem like a challenging feat, there are plenty of tips on how to know when it comes to the best day to fly, as well as when to jump on those deals. Watching airfare fluctuations is one way to do it, but we've got some simpler hacks that are sure to get travelers the deal they want, for the price they want - or, at least, as close to it as possible.
It might not be an exact science, but knowing which day to fly, knowing how to handle both domestic and international price changes, and playing the game of 'which airline' or 'which flight site' to use can be made easy with this guide.
Knowing How Far In Advance To Book Both Domestic & International Flights
To start, it's good to know how far in advance one should be booking either a domestic or an international flight. For domestic flights, there's not as much of a sense of urgency to book in advance, although it will help. The recommended time for domestic flight booking is at least one month out, or up to three just to be on the safe side. Obviously, this also means keeping on top of flight trends for at least several weeks beforehand, so the reality is to keep an eye on flights for eight weeks or more, and then book with at least a month to go until the travel date.
For international flights, the recommended booking time is a bit more specific since this usually involves more research and planning. Typically, six to eight months prior to a travel date is a good time to purchase plane tickets. However, similar to booking a domestic flight, this also means keeping an eye on flight price fluctuations for weeks beforehand. The good thing about international flights is that the price is less likely to fluctuate as much as a domestic flight would, depending on the location and the time of the year. The exception to this rule is when there's a particularly good deal on flights - in this case, it's best to jump on it rather than wait.
A few more things to consider when booking both domestic or international flights:
- Will travelers be flying during or around a holiday or special event?
- Is it the peak season, or are flights generally low-priced because the flight is during the off-season?
- Are there multiple airports and routes that might give way to cheaper flights?
- Is there an airport that's near enough, but offers cheaper airfare?
- Would it be worth having a layover to lower the price?
- Are red-eye flights available?
- Are prices fluctuating enough to make that much of a difference between booking now vs. booking in a month?
According to a semi-recent survey by CheapAir, the best times to purchase flight tickets can vary by seasonality, as well. Based on their data, CheapAir recommends following this seasonal model: 110 days in advance when traveling during the winter, 76 days in advance when traveling in the spring, 42 days in advance when traveling in the summer, and 77 days in advance when traveling in the fall.
The Best Day Of The Week To Purchase Tickets & The Best Day Of The Week To Fly
Along with the best times of the year to purchase flight tickets, there's also a 'best' day of the year to do so, as well. According to CheapAir's survey, Wednesdays almost always offer a better value than the other days of the week. According to this data, travelers could spend more than $57 if they choose to fly on a weekend as opposed to sticking to a mid-week flight. '
When it comes to which day of the week offers the better deal, this is something travelers will just need to pay attention to on their own.
Sites such as Skyscanner or Hopper will keep travelers up-to-date on recent price trends, alerting them when there's a great deal on the hook. There's no one specific day that deals are announced - it's random, but for those looking to save money, purchasing a mid-week flight is the best option.
To Recap: Finding The Best Deals On Cheap Plane Tickets
In conclusion, with almost every travel type - both domestic and international - travelers should be booking flights at least a month in advance. If they book a flight on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, chances are, they'll get a better deal thanks to cheaper mid-week airfare prices. Additionally, keeping an eye out for off-peak-season deals, avoiding travel during major events or holidays, and checking multiple airports and airlines can further reduce the cost.