By Noah Henry • September 03, 2014
Every time the holidays roll around the thought that enters most people’s minds is, when is the best time to book a flight? With the holiday season drawing nearer, the best time to do it is right now, literally, according to a study from CheapAir.com.
In 2013, CheapAir.com compiled data of 4,191,533 trips and plotted the rises and falls of airfare prices. Because most flights go on sale 331 days in advance, they discovered a “prime booking window” and exact dates when domestic and international flights were the cheapest.
They pinpointed 54 days—or 7.5 weeks—in advance as the exact time when airfare cost the least through the entire year. Conversely, busy travel periods such as holiday season had fares at 96 days as the lowest, roughly 14 weeks. Seeing as though the Christmastime is nearly three months away, now is the perfect time to book your domestic flight home.
CheapAir.com also concluded the worst time to buy a flight is the day before. As you can see by the chart, it spikes just at the last minute. Followed by the day before is the second and third day before, illustrating it’s never a good idea to book last-minute, dispelling the myth that it is.
The “prime booking window”—29 to 104 days out—shows that there is a lengthy period of time when it makes sense to book your ticket. Booking too early or too late is never a good idea.
CheapAir.com ran another study in 2012 which suggested the best time to book an international flight was 11 to 12 weeks in advance, with the exact low point being 81 days in advance. They compared rates of approximately 5.6 million flights, a truly reliable sample size.
So, hop on that computer and sift through our airfare deals now. And read up on some of our best tips to save as much as possible on travel. Give yourself the gift of booking now and buy something special for that special someone with the money you save.
Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!