Brutal winter storms have tricked us into thinking that warmer weather will never arrive. But if Punxsutawney Phil is right, spring and summer are just around the corner.
If you like to spend your summer holidays traveling with friends or family, you’re not alone. In fact, we think it’s the perfect time to embark on a country-wide road trip or take in some of America’s most beautiful sights. But planning for a big vacation is a lot harder than picking a dreamy destination—especially if you’re flying.
Choosing the right time to book airfare can be extremely confusing, and there is a lot of information out there that can throw you off track. Here are some general rules to keep in mind to get the best deals on your getaways.
How far in advance is the best time to book a flight?
According to SkyScanner, the best time to buy a domestic flight is 2-3 weeks in advance. The site also says that January is the month when booking flights is the cheapest, followed by February and August. But sometimes the earlier, the better: Rick Seaney of FareCompare told USA Today that 3.5 months in advance is the most ideal window for summer, specifically.
For international excursions, you’ll want to buy 5-6 months in advance, if possible. USA Today claims the best deals to Europe can be found between 4-6 months before you’re set to depart.
But both Money and The Points Guy claim that in 2018, the exact best days to book were April 23-29. Better set a reminder now!
What’s the best time to book a flight?
SkyScanner says Tuesdays are the time to strike for domestic flights, and Wednesdays are best for international. The website suggests buying at 5 a.m. for the best deals, and avoiding the hours of 8-11 p.m.
Do flight prices go down on Tuesdays?
The rumors are true: Many airlines release weekly sales on Tuesdays, FareCompare reports. Other competing airlines end up changing their prices to match, meaning the deals are in no short supply. If you want to get really specific, Tuesdays at 3 p.m. EST is the sweet spot.
Are last-minute flights cheaper?
If you’re flexible, waiting until the last minute can pay off. Travelers can sometimes score discounted deals or specials the airlines periodically issue. But you likely have to be willing to alter your departure and return times.
When is the cheapest day to fly?
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are usually the least expensive for domestic flights, and weekdays are the best for international. Avoid Fridays and Sundays, as those are usually the priciest.