When you plan vacation to consider one of the biggest factors, or at least the most expensive, is airline tickets. When you buy your airline ticket, this often has as much impact on the price as where you are traveling.
This week, CheapAir published its recommendations for the best time to buy flights in 2019 based on its annual flight tariff study. The study analyzes 917 million airline tickets in more than 8,000 different markets to determine the ‘best’ day to buy that airline ticket, as well as a ‘Prime Booking Window’ with a range of dates for which you probably find the best price.
This year, the site says the best time to buy an airline ticket is 76 days before your travel date, six days earlier than recommended in 2018.
It also narrows things down in six different booking zones and explains how airline ticket prices are traditionally from 11 months (when flights usually become available initially) a few minutes before your flight. Here are the recommendations based on season:
When to Buy Winter Flights
If you can avoid Christmas week and ski destinations, most winter destinations offer good value for money.
The average best time to buy is 94 days after the trip (just over 3 months) The main booking window is 74 to 116 days (about 2.5 months to almost 4 months) The average domestic rate for winter travel is $ 433, by far the most expensive time of the year for air travel The difference between the best and worst priced days is $ 168, which is a lot lower than in other seasons. There is much less volatility in the prices of airline tickets throughout the season.
When to Buy Spring Flights
Plan ahead for ferry flights. There are no large travel holidays in the spring, but both families and students enjoy the spring holidays in March and April. Take advantage of lower mid-week prices to keep costs low.
The average best time to buy is 84 days after departure, or almost 3 months. The first booking window is 47 to 119 days (approximately 1.5 months to slightly less than 4 months). The average domestic fare for spring travel is $ 354. The difference between the best and the worst priced days is $ 285
When to Buy Summer Flights
Americans travel a ton in the summer, and the peak summer dates from June 15 to August 15 are when most of the journey takes place. You find the best deals the closer you get to the end of the season (end of August and September give you the best chances to score a low plane ticket.
The average best time to buy is 99 days out of travel. The main booking window is 21 to 150 days (about 3 weeks to 5 months) The average domestic rate for summer trips is $ 365. The difference between the best and worst-priced days is $ 260. Late summer and early fall is the shoulder season, and as such offers great deals (Labor Day weekend notwithstanding). Flying the second half from August to September is the best place for these deals.
When to Buy Fall Flights
In short, autumn offers great value for budget travelers. Autumn is a shoulder season for many destinations and people simply do not travel that much. Of course the only exception to this rule is Thanksgiving week. Are you traveling during Thanksgiving? Better buy on the early side.
The average best time to buy is 69 days after traveling. The most important booking window is 20 to 109 days (approximately 3 weeks to 3.5 months). The average domestic rate for autumn trips is $ 342, which makes it the best season to find travel deals. The difference between the best and worst-priced days is $ 280
Like all things, your mileage may vary depending on where you are traveling and from, but this can be a pretty solid place to start from when you’re thinking of booking tickets.