How far out to book a trip is a very common question people have about airfare and travel. This is natural, since for many travelers, airfare can be the biggest expense. Armed with a little knowledge, your next flight might be a lot less expensive!
The best advice you can get is plan ahead and put some months between you and your flight. If you have the opportunity, start looking months before your planned trip. In 2015, Kayak released a study of fares they had offered on their site. They noticed significant trends in discount airfare, and they published the results.
In each of the example destinations given by Kayak, they also suggest days of the week for getting a great deal on departures and return tickets. In almost all cases, travel leaving and returning midweek is going to save you big on your next flight.
- Caribbean: 2-3 weeks out, best fares are depart Thursday, return Tuesday
- Africa: 3-5 weeks out; best to leave Tuesday, return Monday
- Central America: 4-6 weeks out: depart Tuesday, return Tuesday
- Domestic US: 3-7 weeks out; best savings are depart Friday, return Monday
- South America: 6 months out; aim to depart Wednesday, return Monday
- Europe: 8-10 Months out; depart Wednesday, return Tuesday
- Asia: 9-10 months out; leave Wednesday, return Wednesday
Kayak updates this list annually.
Another thing to keep in mind when looking for cheap tickets is to know the local high tourist season of your destination. Some locations, such as Western Europe, have a very established travel season, in this case the Northern Hemisphere summer. Most travelers who are considering a European vacation are very likely to go during this high season. Airlines will have plenty of customers during their peak season, so prices will be highest.
But remember, these rules are very often broken by the airlines. In fact, you can find fantastic deals if you are able to check fares daily. Even if you can’t check daily, oftentimes 6-7 weeks out is great for discount airfares, even to hot destinations. However, it’s becoming harder to spot and act quickly on great travel deals. Amazing Airfare was created to offer travelers unbelievable discounts (in every case at least 50%) on airfare to international destinations. If you’re a traveler looking to find the biggest discount, or just too busy to keep searching for incredible deals, Amazing Airfare might be the ticket!
If you’ve found this post useful, or if you’ve got questions or comments, drop in your comment below, we love to hear from fellow travelers!