We all want to find a cheap flight. After all, the less we spend on airfare, the more experiences we can enjoy when we arrive at our destination. However, finding good deals on flights is becoming rarer despite friends and family telling you that flight tickets are dirt-cheap every Tuesday. Or that deleting your browser cookies will make only the best offers appear for you.
Picture this: it’s the wee hours of a Tuesday morning, and you’re hunched over your laptop, refreshing your browser every five minutes. You’ve heard the whispers – the secret knowledge that’s been shared among seasoned travelers: “Tuesday is the best day to buy airline tickets.”
But what if we told you that everything you’ve heard about this mystical special day for buying cheap flights is, well… completely wrong? Yes, you read that right.
Rumors about getting the cheapest airfare on a specific day are everywhere. In reality, there is no guaranteed formula for finding the lowest fares but rather timing and research (and a bit of luck).
Finding the right time to book your flights can save you a lot of money, money which you can put in your piggy bank or use to enjoy a better experience at your destination.
With these expert tips, you can swap your late-night browser-refresh-fests with surefire methods that will get you the cheapest airline tickets. So read below to find out more.
The Importance of Timing When Booking a Flight
Statistics show that you can enjoy a negligible 1.9% savings by booking flights on a Tuesday. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that there is no golden rule to follow to get your hands on the cheapest flights, as the percentage is so negligible it might as well be non-existent.
Gone are the days when booking a flight on a specific day of the week guaranteed massive savings. That does not mean that the importance of timing when you book your flight is obsolete. Airlines now continually adapt their travel prices in response to fluctuations in demand, which means that excellent deals can be found on any day of the week and at any time of the day.
Now, you can’t really know when those deals can pop up, even if you have impeccable timing. Luckily, price alerts and newsletters can save your wallet.
How Early Should You Book a Flight
As a general rule of thumb, you should book your flight at least a month ahead. And if a better deal appears in the meantime, you can always request a refund or change your flight. Furthermore, flying in peak season is notoriously pricey, and you should plan your winter and summer getaways 3 to 6 months ahead.
Travel Plan Around Where You Can Fly Cheaply
Good advice is to plan your trips around the flights entirely. Find a cheap flight near the area you want to visit, and just use another form of transport to get to your desired destination, as sometimes, landing directly where you want can set you back hundreds of dollars. Such flexibility will enable you to enjoy better experiences and save you a lot of money.
Whenever you are planning a flight, picture a countdown timer. As the flight nears departure, the price you must pay to get on it will increase.
There is No One Best Day To Book Cheap Flights
Simply forget about the rule that the best day of the week to buy airline tickets exists; rely on fetching the latest deals in your inbox, your luck, and thorough research. In some cases, if you are extra lucky, you might even find a mistake fare.
What is a Mistake Fare?
Mistake fares are exactly what they sound like. They are pricing errors made by airlines, travel agencies, or booking platforms, and they often occur due to technical glitches, currency conversion mishaps, or simply human error. Mistake fares can save you hundreds, or even thousands, on airfare, making them a hot topic in the travel hacking community.
One of the wildest mistake fares we’ve found is when a United Airlines flight with a price tag of $4,000 was accidentally listed for $79 due to a conversion error between the Danish Kroner and the British Pound. What an unbelievable opportunity it was for the globetrotters keeping a close eye on flight deals, saving a staggering 98% on this flight.
Speaking of flights to Denmark, we have just the thing for you. You can save 32.8% with the flight deals we have found for you.
Note: If you have gone to Google Flights and inserted the exact dates and do not see these deals or similar deals, they are most likely gone.
Have Flight Deals Tracked for You
We find these kinds of deals on the regular and save travelers a ton of money when booking flights, thanks to our experience and expertise in the field. If you want to fly cheaper and discover destinations you thought you could never visit due to high ticket prices, sign up for Matt’s Free Flight Deal Alerts and get the cheapest flights straight in your inbox.
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Rather than relying on mishaps, being flexible, booking days in advance, avoiding last-minute flights, and doing thorough research can help you save a lot of money each time you need to find a flight. We will also explore the topic of how well in advance you should book flights and why you should avoid last-minute flights in depth below. But before we do that, let’s take a look at the factors that affect airfare prices.
Are Air Travel Prices Rising?
For travelers that are looking to score cheap flights, there is some bad news – air travel prices are on the rise. As a matter of fact, airfare ticket prices are up 25%, surpassing even inflation.
The basic economic principle of supply and demand is the primary factor determining airfare prices. If a flight is in high demand, prices will be higher. On the other hand, if a flight has low demand, airlines will offer lower prices to encourage more people to book.
However, the reality is that there are a lot more factors, such as fuel price, airline competition, and so much more, that dictate how much you pay for traveling from point A to point B.
Factors That Affect Airfare Prices
Things like the time-of-year, location you’re traveling to, etc. have a major impact on flight prices. Here is a list of common variables that affect travel costs:
Airfare prices fluctuate throughout the year based on demand. High seasons such as summer vacation, and traditional holidays like Christmas usually see higher prices due to increased demand.
On the flip side, off-peak seasons usually offer discounts as airlines attempt to fill empty seats.
Booking Seasonal Flight Tips:
- Fly during the off-peak season.
- Consider shoulder seasons (the period between high and low seasons when prices are still reasonable and crowds are thinner).
Flight Routes and Destination
The cost of operating a flight to a specific destination can greatly affect airfare prices. Some routes have higher costs due to increased air traffic control fees or additional taxes, while others may be more affordable due to government incentives.
Travel Destination Tips:
- Be flexible with your destination choice.
- Use Google Flights and check whether there are better deals with alternative airports near your desired location.
Competition Among Airlines
Airlines constantly fight to attract more passengers, offering lower prices on popular routes or during off-peak periods. They also compete through various promotions and sales events.
Picking the Right Airline Tips:
- Take advantage of airline sales and promotions.
- Follow airlines on social media to stay updated on special deals on airfare and flash sales.
Fuel is one of the most significant expenses for airlines. As fuel prices rise, so do airfares to cover the increased operational cost.
Tips for Dealing with Gas Prices:
- Keep an eye on global fuel price drops and book your flight when prices dip.
- Compare prices across different airlines to find the best deal.
When Is the Best Time to Book a Flight?
The answer to the age-old question of when is the best time to book a flight is fairly simple, and by now, we’ve established the best day to book flights is not Tuesday. The real answer to that question is “as soon as you find a good deal.”
While you can closely monitor the factors we’ve discussed, especially fuel prices, they aren’t really in your control, and the best flight deals can come and go. It all comes down to timing, whether you are lucky enough to encounter the cheapest fare, set yourself up for success by signing up for a newsletter, or are tracking fares via Google Flights. So, as soon as that deal pops up, grasp it!
On that note, if you haven’t had time to consult with your travel buddy or request time off work, don’t let that prevent you from booking a flight. Airlines understand this, and that’s why most of them offer a 24-hour cancellation policy, ensuring you get a full refund on any flight to, from, or within the U.S. booked directly with the airline. This policy allows you to pounce on the opportunity whenever a good deal pops up, and if you change your mind, get your money back.
Remember That Change Fees Went by the Wayside
It’s also worth mentioning that major airlines have waived change fees throughout the pandemic. This flexibility is here to stay, and now you can easily modify your travel plans or even cancel your flight for a voucher without additional charges (just make sure you avoid the cheapest basic economy fares, which are usually non-changeable and non-refundable).
Utilize Google Flights
To always find good deals, it’s ideal to fine-tune your Google Flights based on your preferences – economy, business first class – and start browsing for flights months or at least weeks in advance.
You should let the flight dictate your plans rather than the other way around. Why? Well, flights are more finicky and fickle than other aspects of your trip.
Flight prices can fluctuate wildly due to the factors we’ve discussed above. Plus, great deals tend to pop up and vanish quickly, so having insider info on the latest flight deals is a blessing. By booking your flights first and then other aspects of the trip, such as accommodation, you will have the most control over the costs and be able to take advantage of any deals or sales that come up.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Book Your Flight
What you should avoidis booking last-minute flights. Arguably, there’s not a single airline that offers cheap last-minute deals for travelers; they are just looking to capitalize on those that absolutely have to be somewhere and fast.
But that’s not where our list of tips ends; we will help you find the sweet spot when booking ticket prices.
Best Time To Book Domestic Flights and International Flights
The early birds get the cheapest flights. Whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, booking flights in advance is key to locking in those sweet, wallet-friendly deals. Aim for these ideal booking windows:
- Domestic travel: 1 to 3 months in advance
- International travel: 2 to 6 months in advance
Waiting too long can cause prices to soar, or booking too early can have you missing out on potential price drops. In addition to that, look for perks such as free checked baggage, priority boarding, or even complimentary onboard meals. Some airlines offer bundled travel deals, including hotel and car rental options.
This can be a savvy way to pay less and score extra value-added benefits when planning your bucket-list destination trips.
The key here is to avoid booking a flight a few days before departure, as prices can soar. Airlines try to capitalize, knowing certain individuals, such as business travelers, are willing to pay a premium to reach their destination on time, and you don’t want to fall for such tricks.
- Extra travel tip: Did you know you can book flights 11 months ahead? That’s right; you can snag the best deals and plan your winter vacation right now. It’s possible to find unbeatable prices, so why not start planning that 2024 winter getaway today like a travel expert?
Best Days of the Week to Book Flights
- Early in the week:
Airlines often release new sales and discounted fares early in the week, so the best days to buy plane tickets are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Set aside a little time to peruse your favorite booking websites just as the week kicks off, and you may just score a great deal before anyone else.
- Avoid weekends:
Many people plan their trips over the weekend, which leads to increased demand and higher prices. If possible, try to avoid booking flights on a Friday or Saturday, find cheaper options early in the week or on Sunday, and save a ton.
Best Months to Book Flights
- Off-peak season:
The specific off-peak season varies by destination, but generally, you can find cheaper flights by traveling during less popular times of the year. For example, avoid Europe during the summer months as it attracts the most tourists, and consider visiting in the fall or winter instead. For instance, round trips to Germany during Oktoberfest will cost you more, so if you want to enjoy Bavaria’s delicious grill and cold beer, your best bet is to buy plane tickets several months in advance.
If it’s already too late and you can’t find cheap flights to Europe, it might be better to travel domestically to places near your area that are on your bucket list.
- Late January & early February:
These months are often seen as a lull in the travel industry, making it easier to score flight deals. Keep an eye out; there will likely be dirt-cheap fares during this time of year.
When to Book Holiday Flights
Holiday flights are notorious for their wallet-draining prices. Whether you’re jetting off between mid-December and mid-January or grappling with Thanksgiving flight costs, the struggle to find a budget-friendly airfare is all too real. While scoring good deals around these periods isn’t impossible, exploring alternative travel dates, such as early December, should be on the cards.
We understand that, at times, travel during the holiday season is simply inescapable. So, if you’re caught in the festive fray, here are some crucial pointers to bear in mind when trying to buy cheap plane tickets at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Book Your Thanksgiving Flight Early For Savings
Google Flights analysis reveals that Thanksgiving flights are cheapest when booked 36 to 74 days prior to departure, averaging a rock-bottom fare approximately 52 days out. To capitalize on this, initiate your Thanksgiving flight hunt around September 10th, as prices usually dip to their lowest around October 2nd. And if you are not quick, they will vanish like mist by around October 19th.
Post-Labor Day is the perfect time to focus on booking those Thanksgiving excursions.
When To Book Flights for the Winter Holidays
And for those celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, the savings window is even more extensive. Domestic trips are at their lowest prices between 20 and 88 days in advance or, in other words, begin your search around September 28th, but expect the best deals to dwindle by approximately December 5th.
Finding Last-Minute Flight Deals
When airlines are looking to fill empty seats, you might come across last-minute deals that are either sky-high or extremely cheap, depending on factors such as the airline, destination, and the time of the year.
But since last-minute flight deals often come with a ticking clock, travelers need to be quick on their feet to book these deals before they’re gone, and if we are honest, if you are not backed into a corner, it’s best to just book in advance and save yourself from the stress that scouring the internet for last-minute flights brings.
How to Score Last-Minute Flight Deals: Actionable Tips
- Use deal-finding websites and apps:
There are dedicated websites and mobile apps, such as Hopper, Skyscanner, or Kayak, which aggregate last-minute flight deals from various airlines. Use these tools to find the best available deals and purchase airline tickets.
Bear in mind, sometimes online travel agencies (OTAs) like Kayak purchase flights from airlines to sell on their site at a discount or at a markup. To ensure you are getting the best deal, consult the expert in airfare travel – Google Flights – and compare the prices.
- Use price alerts:
When you have price alerts, you never have to think about which best day to buy airline tickets. You can take advantage of price alerts on booking websites and track prices on Google Flights to get your hands on ticket deals way before anyone knows they even exist.
- Be persistent:
Repeat your search for last-minute flight deals multiple times a day. Prices can sometimes fluctuate dramatically within hours, and you can get your hands on the cheapest fares. On that note, we also want to debunk the myth of clearing cookies. Seriously, browsing through incognito mode or clearing your cookies every minute won’t make flights appear from thin air. Just refresh the page more frequently and be patient.
Other Tips and Tricks for Finding Cheap Flights
We are not done. We want to help you save as much money on airfare tickets and set you up for extra cocktails night outs. These extra tips on finding the cheapest flights are on us!
Use Points and Miles to Book Flights 🔍
If you’re an avid traveler, you probably know that airline miles and reward programs are the not-so-secret weapons in the savvy traveler’s arsenal. You could score discounted or even free flights by redeeming your hard-earned miles or points. Yes, free!
Some airlines, like Southwest and JetBlue, allow you to book flights with entirely points-based options, while others may have restrictions and blackout dates. Always check if there are any additional fees or taxes you need to pay on top of your redeemed miles.
Choose Budget Airlines ✈️
When it comes to airfare, the phrase “you get what you pay for” doesn’t always ring true. Budget airlines like Spirit or Frontier Airlines can offer unbeatable deals, especially on short-haul flights. And although the legroom might be a little tight, the savings could more than make up for it!
Avoid Hidden Fees 💸
Ever found what seems to be an incredible deal on a flight, only to see the final price skyrocket with hidden fees and charges? Yeah, we’ve been there too.
How to Avoid Hidden Fees and Charges When Booking Flights
To avoid this kind of situation, read the fine print and make sure you understand all the associated fees. For instance, some airlines may charge extra for seat selection, baggage, and priority boarding. If possible, try to travel lightly to avoid overweight baggage fees.
Best Tools to Use For Searching Cheap Flights
At Matt’s Flights, every journey becomes an affordable adventure. As a dedicated service that sends newsletters to subscribers about cheap flight deals, Matt’s Flights is committed to helping you explore the world without breaking the bank.
By scouring the internet for the best airfare discounts and promotions, we ensure that our subscribers have access to unbeatable prices on flights to their dream destinations. Our goal is to make travel more accessible and enjoyable for everyone, so you can create unforgettable memories without worrying about the cost.
Sign up for Matt’s Flights today and acquire personal guide to budget-friendly adventures!
Your journey to snagging the cheapest airfare should start with Google Flights.
This powerful tool can be your new best friend when it comes to booking cheap flight deals. This search engine not only compares prices across different airlines but also offers useful features like flexible dates, nearby airports, and price alerts. Google Flights is super user-friendly, and you can tailor the experience to your needs. With just a click of a button, you can change the currency in which prices are displayed, compare classes, see estimated flight times, find nonstop flights or opt for cheaper flights with stops, and so much more.
Skyscanner is another great option. The mobile app allows you to access all of Skyscanner’s features and book your travel on the go, which might be more convenient for some users. Seasoned travelers are partial to Google Flights. However, it’s always worth it to check Skyscanner and see how the prices compare.
Other Search Engines
We all love Google Flights and Skyscanner, but have you heard of lesser-known search engines like Momondo or Kiwi? Mixing and matching your search engines can uncover hidden discounts and help you find the absolute cheapest flight.
Use Flight Deal Websites and Newsletters
You don’t have to keep your eyes peeled at all times for the cheapest domestic or international trips when you have valuable newsletters arriving in your inbox. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what we at Matt’s Flights prepare for our subscribers:
Our exclusive weekly newsletter delivers incredible airfare offers straight to your inbox – and the best part? It’s completely free!
Conclusion: What Days are Best to Book Flights?
Now you have an insider’s scoop on the best day to buy airline tickets. Instead of asking yourself “what are the best days to book flights”, you know to shop around ahead of time and that flexibility is key to booking the cheapest flights. And most importantly, you now know how to save money in a manner that’s even fun.
Do your research, adjust your travel days, track results, and remember that there is no such thing as the best day to book flights.
Armed with this new information, you can confidently make reservations that will get you from point A to point B without breaking the bank, talk about feeling like a savvy traveler. So, go on and start booking your flights the right way. Happy travels!
Stop overpaying for travel!
Get cheap flight deals emailed straight to your inbox and save up to 90% on your next trip.
- How to find the best deal on your next flight by Google Flights
- How To Find Mistake Airfares And Save Hundreds by Forbes
- Google Flights just busted a popular myth about saving money on flights by CNBC
- Airline ticket prices are up 25%, outpacing inflation — here are the ways you can still save by CNBC
- The Major U.S. Airlines Have All Ditched Their Change Fees—for Good by Afar
- Know Why Europe Attracts More Tourists Than Any Other Continent by Care Insurance