Looking for flights can be a stressful thing. You check all the airline sites and search engines looking for the best prices, which can be challenging. The thought in your head is that there must be the best day to book flights, but when could that be?
Many of your co-workers or friends may tell you that Tuesdays are the best days to book flights. Time to bust that myth bubble, but Tuesdays are no better than Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays.
People have passed around the myth that there is the best day to book flights. It is a myth. Airlines do not all release their best rates on Tuesdays. That would be insane coordination between the numerous airline companies to make this effective.
The truth is that there are better days to fly and get good deals, and the earlier you book a flight, the better deal you will get on these flights. Making a good travel plan can allow you flexibility and plan accordingly to find the best deals on flights. Let’s break down how to figure out which day is the best day to book flights.
The Best Day to Book Flights
It has been mentioned that Tuesdays are no better than any other day to book flights. The best day to book flights is when you find the best deal. The earlier you book your flights, the better.
Every year, Expedia puts out travel hacks to find the cheapest flights. In October, they released their travel hacks for 2022. The report said domestic flights start to increase their prices 21 days before the flight happens. International flights start to increase their prices 28 days beforehand.
Airline companies tend to release their cheapest tickets first, and as they are grabbed up, the price increases. Those last-minute flyers are usually business travelers that will have their business take care of the expense, so it is complicated to snag a great last-minute deal, even though it does happen.
According to Expedia, the perfect day to book a flight is Sunday, and not Friday. For domestic travelers, booking on Sunday could save up to 5%, and international travelers could save up to 10%. The stats are not an exact science. Many variables differ that can show that booking on one day is better than booking any other day.
What is the Best Day to Travel?
If there is no best day to book flights, there must be the best day to travel. If you want to travel to find the best deals and cheapest flights out there, you must have flexibility. Being flexible allows you to find the best deals out there.
If you want to book the cheapest flights, you must avoid some of the busiest travel days. Those days would be Monday, Sunday, Thursday, and Friday. The least active days would be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. If you can fly on one of these days, you will have a better chance of flying on a cheaper flight.
One of the best ways to find these cheaper rates is to do some search analysis on days to fly. Going to a search engine like Google Flights can help enhance the tools at your fingertips to find the cheapest flights out there.
If Google flights do not help you, you can go to other search engines like Skyscanner or some Online Travel Agency (OTAs) to help you find the best flights. These OTAs make deals with airline companies at a cheaper rate. They will then sell you flights based on your itinerary.
It is always a good habit to check many different places to obtain the best deal.
What Makes The Prices Change?
There are a couple of reasons the price of flights changes so often. Here are a few factors that make prices change
The Season of Travel
Traveling prices of flights will differ depending on the season. Many people will be traveling if it is a holiday week or weekend, allowing the airline industry to take advantage of the high demand. Prices will generally go up during this time.
If you were to travel during the summer to Europe or tropical locations, expect the prices to be higher. During high travel and tourism time, many places will raise prices. These are the peak times of travel.
Usually, during the summertime, people have long vacation times. Kids are out of school, and it is time to take a break from the desk and enjoy some relation time.
Once these peak times end, it becomes more favorable for the tourism industry to lower prices to attract more people. Since the travel demand will be lower, prices will decrease.
Many Other Factors Affect Prices
Here are a few other factors that affect those airfare prices.
- Political Tensions
- Fuel Prices
- Supply of Flights
Political tensions, supply of staff, and fuel prices can profoundly impact the cost of flights. If there is a war or political pressure, airlines will have to create different routes to avoid certain areas. That may affect the length of flights and fuel consumption.
Supply of staff can also be something that can affect flights. With more and more people flying, airlines need pilots and flight attendants to man these flights to give excellent service to their customers. As the supply of these critical employees goes down, the number of flights will diminish and create a higher price because more people want flights.
Pilots must have some break, and with the lack of experienced pilots, there happens to be a shortage of flights. That can result in higher prices. It cannot be called inflation but due to the low staff supply.
Flying during these peak times of years will cause prices to rise as the demand increases and the supply of available flights decrease.
Flexibility is needed when determining the best time to fly.
3 Tips to Find Cheap Flights
Here are a couple of tips to help you find cheap flights. It is not always easy to get the best deals, but following these tips can help equip you to be better at finding the cheapest flights.
Booking Flights in Advance
Booking a flight one to three months in advance can help you find cheap flights. As mentioned before, Expedia says that prices will increase anywhere from 21-28 days before the flight. If you can book early then, the costs will be much more affordable.
Having a plan in advance is the best course of action. Booking earlier is better than booking last minute. Many people get caught by the higher prices because of their lack of planning. It is a must to book flights in advance.
Flexibility in Location and Dates
One of the best ways to find cheap flights is to have flexibility. Determine when and where you want to travel or at least a particular area. If you’re going to travel to Europe, find a place that is the cheapest to fly to and use public transportation to go from point A to B.
Europe has many places to visit, but by flying into larger metropolitan areas like Vienna, you can save money and use the savings to travel to various cities within a few hour’s drive.
Saving money can be as easy as booking a day earlier or later. Flexibility with dates can be a great way to save money as well. If you are determined to fly out one day or fly in on another, then be prepared to pay whatever the prices are on that date. If you have flexibility, maybe the day before or the day after can save you $200-500 extra on flights.
Please do not be so stuck on a schedule that it will cost you money. Flexibility is one of the most excellent tools to save money on flights.
Maximize Your Travel Hacking Strategy
Travel hacking is collecting miles and points to book cheap travel. If you are into collecting miles and points with various hotels, airlines, and credit cards, you will be able to use those to save money.
Many airlines and hotels allow you to sign-up for their membership programs for free! That will enable you to use your flights and hotel stays to collect points and miles to get an award flight.
Credit card companies will also give out large bonuses through their travel credit cards to bring in new customers. If you can grab a welcome bonus from them, you can use those miles and points to book a free flight. It is 35k United miles from Miami to Taiwan and about $12 in fees. If you can maximize your rewards, then you fly free anywhere.
When looking for some of the best flight deals on airfare, no day is the cheapest day to book flights. If you are looking for a lower price, then look for air travel on days during the week or less during peak travel times.
The travel industry goes in waves. As people are out traveling, then flight tickets will be costlier. If it is downtime, it is best to find a great deal. Flexibility is the key to finding the best deal. Remember, the earlier you plan to travel, the better. Take your flexibility to book tickets in advance and use points and miles to find the best deals possible.
Flights don’t have to be expensive. A specific day of the week is no guarantee of a cheaper airfare for when you book. So do some research, check out some travel sites, and book early.
This post originally appeared on Hello Sensible.
Steve Cummings is the founder of the personal finance blog The Frugal Expat. As a traveler and expat, he has learned a lot about how to save money, live frugally, and invest for the future. His mission is to help people in saving, investing, and reaching financial independence.