Flights can be quite costly, especially if you’re travelling long miles and across borders. So, it’s best to plan ahead and look for the best time to book international flights if you’re having one.
The following article will discuss the ideal time to book your flight in advance and the best days of the week to fly. All the while, we also dive into which international destinations have the best airfare during the different months of the year.
Equip yourself with insightful information, so you can be well-prepared for the next time you need to book a flight. The prime window to secure the best deals possible is well within your grasp. It’s no hard work at all.
- The right moment to book your international ticket is 5-6 months in advance
- The best time to book domestic flights is about 40-70 days before your departure date
- Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days of the week to score cheap flights.
Obviously, international trips’ passenger volume far exceeds those of domestic, so tread wisely. Photo by Alexey Starki on Unsplash
How Far In Advance Should I Book My Flights?
Booking in advance is a great way to save money and improve your travel experiences. Not just because you’ll usually have a better deal, but the options are also a lot more varied.
The Ideal Windows For Booking International Flights
The best time to book your flight is usually 5 or 6 months in advance. The number might change slightly depending on the actual travel dates and the destinations. However, this should always be the general rule of thumb for any new traveller.
The approximate 6-month period allows you to consider all available options and deals before deciding. Plus, airlines always prioritise early bookings, so you often receive discounts for your international flights.
That being said, you don’t have to book your flight in this exact period. Instead, you would want to research the recent airfares for your desired destinations. The extra time will allow you to watch the market and wait for the best prices.
However, many people say that they don’t find these cases anymore. CNN even go so far as to claim that “There is no best day or time to book a flight”. They say that cheap flights are available all the time, you just need to be flexible.
We believe that the truth could be a little mix of both: staying flexible while booking your flight in advance. Prices are typically cheaper 3-6 months before the date and may shoot up in prices a few days before. Last-minute deals is now a hit or a miss, you may strike golds, or you may ends up paying twice the initially price.
If your ticket is standard economy or higher, chances are you won’t have to deal with change or cancellation fees. This is especially true if you have elite status. However, the change fees vary from carrier to carrier, so research carefully beforehand. Contact the airline if you need.
Cheapest Days Of The Week
Choose the right day to fly to get the best deals - photo by John Schonobrich on Unsplash
And during the weekends, demands often skyrocket since people will have more free time to travel while the airport's capacity stays the same or even deducted.
- On average, people will find Tuesdays and Wednesdays to be the best for inexpensive flights, according to Nerdwallet. This is because it’s the least demanding period of the week. You will save about 12% compared to Sunday.
- On the other hand, airlines and airports will get most busy on Mondays and weekends. Demand rises on the first day of the week as people need to travel for business and work while some will have to return from their weekend holidays.
- While Thursday or Friday can be cheaper compared to the peak periods, airfares on these days are rising for the weekends. So, we always recommend travellers fly on Tuesday and Wednesday for the best price.
Best Time To Book Domestic Flights
According to CheapAir, the best time to book domestic flights is about 70 days before your trip. And the reasons are the same as booking international flights. You will need the two-month period to start looking into recorded data and researching the best prices. Wait patiently until you can get your ticket at a good deal.
The Best Periods Of Time For Your International Trips
Did you know the best date to buy your tickets yet?
Now, let’s look at your overseas destinations to find out the best seasons to book your international trips from the US, excluding business-related ones.
To North America
Flights in North America usually get cheaper during the early month of the year, most notably between January to March.
If you’re flying to Canada, the cheapest months are February and March because they are the off-season for travellers and holiday flights. On the contrary, from August to the end of the year, tickets will gradually increase in pricing due to the higher demand.
Airfares to Mexico tend to stay the same throughout the year, with a slight decrease in the off-season of January and February. This is because the holiday season has just ended, and immigrant families will often return to the US instead of the other way around. Also, springtime in Mexico won’t start until mid-March, so visitors will not likely visit the country earlier.
To South America
According to Kayak, the high season for travelling to South America is from November to January. In the US, these are the coldest winter months, so it’s understandable why people would want to move to areas with a warmer climate in the southern hemisphere.
After the holiday season, the price will slowly drop until it reaches the bare minimum in April for US travellers. So, if you want to save a lot of money travelling, then you might want to consider these for more affordable flights.
On the other hand, February is the cheapest month for visitors to Europe, since it’s after the holiday season and winter is still present in most European cities. Still, if you plan to go to Madrid or Rome, it’s not a bad deal.
Spring is the best time to see all of Europe’s sights and sounds. Credit: @paja.berka
To the Middle East
Flights to the Middle East often peak in June and July, with a slight increase at the end of the year. The cheapest month to travel is September and January, with significantly lower prices.
If you’re looking to visit the Dead Sea, then you wouldn’t mind missing the high season of summer. Instead, you can go in spring or mid-autumn, when the temperature isn’t as hot.
Also, the famous city of Dubai and other Middle Eastern metropolises are worth visiting at any part of the year. Another good reason to wait for good airfares.
Asia is extremely vast, so the best time to visit the continent can vary, depending on your destination.
Visitors to East Asia will find the holiday season and summer to be most busy for the same reasons as the US and other European countries. Not to mention that a lot of East Asians celebrate the Lunar New Year, which can last well after February. So, if you want your tickets cheap, then flying after this period will save you a lot of money.
Your trips to Bangkok, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, or any other Southeast Asia city will get more expensive in the winter season. So, flights in November, December, and January won’t come cheap. On the other hand, if you can bear the heat of the local summer, then the warm beach cities and temperate highlands will always welcome you. Expect impressive ticket prices for any visitors to the area.
The best time to travel to South Asia is between March and May due to the supportive weather and relatively reasonable airfares. While the tickets might get cheaper during summer, we don’t recommend going to the area since the heat can get scorching.
To Australia and New Zealand
Come and visit the Kangaroo in Australia’s summers. Photo by NATHAN WHITE IMAGES - stock.adobe.com
The high season for travellers to Oceania is between the winter months in the US. Similar to South America, this is when the area has the warmest summer months.
So, visitors who are frustrated by the cold in the northern hemisphere can always travel to Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries to enjoy their summer holidays during the mid-winter season, between December and February. However, do expect your flight tickets to be the most expensive during this time period.
The best time to go to Africa depends on where you’re planning to go since the continent is spread across two hemispheres.
Generally speaking, we’ll advise you to avoid the summer months, which are between December and March for countries in the southern hemisphere, and May to August for the northern ones. This is because the weather can get really hot and humid, except for the Sahara Dessert, where it’s just scorching.
That being said, all the other seasons are great for travelling to Africa. And most of the time, the tickets aren’t that pricey compared to other destinations.
Our 9 Best Flight Booking Tips
After deciding the time and destination, it’s time to book your international flight tickets. However, finding the best deals isn’t an easy task. So, it’s best that you consider our booking tips:
1. Always Be Flexible
Travel with an open mindset to be blessed with eye-opening experiences.
First of all, make sure to be most flexible with your travel dates if you’re looking for a bargain. Follow our guides above to avoid the peak travel seasons and find the best time to book your flights.
Remember, you don’t have to stick to one location or a certain period when preparing for your next trip. It’s always nice to be able to switch things up and just go with the flow. Sometimes, that’s how you have the best travel experiences.
2. Try To Book In Advance
As mentioned, booking in advance is a great way to get your ticket at affordable prices. So, consider your locations and travel dates, then remember to book your flights during the golden windows two months prior.
Usually, booking your flights six months in advance is best if you are planning an international trip. And for domestic ones, a two-month period is perfect.
Not only that you can usually get the tickets cheaper by doing this, but you’ll also have the time to revise your plans and make certain adjustments if needed.
3. Book With Price Comparison Sites
Always use price comparison websites or flight search engines with adequate features, so you can scour the Internet for the best flight deals. Some of the most popular sites are Skyscanner, Kayak, and Google Flights. Feel free to look for more websites if needed.
Simply search for the destinations and your desirable locations. You’ll have all the ticket prices from different airlines available. Compare them to choose the best ones, and use the Price Tracking feature to guarantee the best deals.
4. Consider Alternative Airports
When travelling to a certain destination, it can be cheaper to switch your airports and travel to the destination by bus or train. Try to do the math and consider the most affordable approach.
For example, instead of choosing JFK International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is a great budget option for flights to Los Angeles. Just make sure that your final destination isn’t far away.
5. Fly Early Or Late Hours
Instead of going with the normal flights, you can opt-in for late or early ones for a better price. Since you’re sacrificing your convenience and even time, it’s natural that these flights would cost a lot lessIf you look closely and spend enough time researching, it’s possible to save a significant amount when booking for any destination. Try to combine all your tips to get even better deals.
6. Save More With Layovers
Direct flights are more convenient for passengers since it takes less time, and people won’t have to get off their planes before reaching the final destinations. Layovers, on the other, are cheaper.
So, if you aren’t in a hurry and are willing to have a little hassle, then it’s nice to save your money by going this route. However, if you’re tired and aren’t for a potentially extended wait, then just fly direct.
7. Save Money With Budget Airlines
If you’re going on a long trip, then it might be better to consider budget airlines, which can significantly lower your expenses. Consider all the options and go with the one that offers the best bang for your buck.
Some of the most common names are Ryanair, Norwegian, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Jetstar Airways, and Eurowings. With a little bit of research and patience, you can definitely get the best price for your flights when travelling with these airlines.
8. Check For Hidden Costs
Sometimes, the booking prices on websites aren’t the final cost, so make sure to check for any hidden fees before booking. These include fees for baggage, seat selection, booking, change, boarding passes, and inflight amenities.
The differences are varied depending on which airlines you’re going with. So the best option is to ask them directly for all these fees. Make sure everything is included in your ticket or at least has a good price.
9. Book One-Way Flights
Having a one-way ticket isn’t so bad if you haven’t planned your return date yet. It’ll also give you the freedom to do business and travelling. Not to mention that sometimes you can find one-way tickets that are even cheaper than round-trip flights.
And because many of us sometimes even miss our return flight because we want to stay so bad. Booking one-way tickets seems to be a more economy option, even when they can cost a little more than a round trip.
Choose The Right Time And Have Fun Travelling
Finding the best time to book international flights can be daunting, especially when there are many things to consider. But with our comprehensive guide, you won’t have any trouble booking the best tickets to any international destination. Always have fun booking and travelling by following our tips and suggestions.
Remember, booking early isn't always the best strategy, and last-minute deals might not always be in your favour. Be sure to monitor fare trends, take advantage of fare alerts, and explore alternative airports and destinations.
Let us know if you have any questions or additional insights on finding the best time to book international flights. Don't forget to hit that share button and spread the word to your fellow adventurers.
Nguyễn Kim Vương