If you’ve been waiting eagerly for the day to travel again, start planning now if you want to save on your flight.
CheapAir.com analyzed 917 million airfares for its annual flight study and found that the sweet spot for travelers to find the best deals on domestic flights is between 21 and 95 days – that’s three weeks to three months – before their departure date.
It turns out that this year was somewhat of an offsetting field for airline ticket prices – only about $ 100 separates the most expensive month (that was March – likely due to an increase in travel in the post-pandemic spring break) from the cheapest (September )).
And of course, you can test your luck to find a cheap rate at the last minute. However, CheapAir found that travelers who book eight to 13 days in advance of a trip pay an average of $ 74 more than travelers who book in the main booking window. If you buy your ticket in less than a week, you risk paying an average of $ 160 more than travelers who booked three weeks to four months in advance.
Buying a plane ticket too far in advance can also result in a fine. Those who bought tickets 96 to 201 days in advance paid $ 37 more, and those who bought tickets 202 to 315 days in advance paid $ 90 more.
CheapAir found that the best time to book varies a lot depending on the season. Book 89 days in advance for the best prices for a fall trip, but only 21 days for a spring trip.
Anyone planning summer travel should get their flights 67 days in advance. The best time to go on vacation or a winter ski tour is 68 days in advance.
If you’re wondering what is the best day of the week to buy your plane tickets, CheapAir’s study says it doesn’t really matter. What matters is what day of the week you want to leave or return. Travelers save an average of $ 82 by flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday (the cheapest days to fly) instead of a Sunday (the most expensive day).
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. The author / editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors updated this post for 2021.