- The best time to buy a flight can vary based on when you're trying to travel.
- Travel websites like CheapAir and Skyscanner research the best times to buy flights for every type of trip.
- A good rule of thumb is 70 days before you leave, but that can change based on whether you're booking holiday travel or have flexible dates.
Snagging a great flight deal can feel like playing the lottery. But getting the best possible airfare for a flight doesn’t have to be just "plane" difficult — in some ways, there is a method to the madness.
CheapAir.com recently released their 2018 Airfare Study — an annual report on the best time to buy flights. They crunched the numbers on over 900 million airfares to determine that in 2017, the best time to buy a flight within the continental U.S. was 70 days in advance.
The key when booking a flight is to know your priorities — is it important that you go to a specific place? That you get away at a specific time? Once you have your non-negotiable factors set, finding the most economical flight comes down to putting in the time to research.
For when you need to get away nowSetiono Joko Purwanto/Shutterstock
The report found that flights booked between 21 and 121 days before you leave are within the "prime booking window," where you’re likely to find flights within 5% of their lowest possible fare.
If you book within 2-3 weeks of your trip, you can still find decent prices, but may sacrifice perks like preferred seat selection, CheapAir found. If at all possible, avoid purchasing a flight less than one week in advance. You'll pay, on average, $208 more if you book a flight between 0 and 6 days in advance.
For your summer/fall/winter/spring vacationReuters/Dylan Martinez
CheapAir's survey notes that the best time to buy flights for your summer vacation is 47 days in advance. But, consider when you want to take your summer vacation. As Business Insider previously reported, August 23 is known as "cheap flight day" — some experts claim that it’s the cheapest time to fly, while others say that it’s the cheapest time to buy a flight.
In actuality, there is some truth to both. Fares tend to drop for late summer travel, and the end of August is also a great time to purchase tickets for fall flights, as many destinations enter their off season, Business Insider reports.
The best time to buy flights for your winter vacation (excluding the holidays, which we'll tackle next) is 62 days in advance, according to the CheapAir report. For fall travel, it's 69 days in advance, and for spring travel, it’s 90 days in advance.
For the holidaysDan Kitwood/Getty Images
According to a 2018 report by Skyscanner, a flight search engine, the best time to book flights for Christmas and New Year’s Eve is 11 weeks out—the week of October 22 for Christmas, and the week of October 29 for New Year's.
CheapAir has a holiday trend report where you can track prices for Thanksgiving and winter holiday travel.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
- An Air China flight was forced to divert after a man threatened staff with a fountain pen
- A British man named Nicholas wasn't allowed to board a flight to Bali because his boarding pass said his name was Nick
- This is how you can legally bring — and drink — your own booze on a flight