Booking flights can be incredibly stressful. If you wait too long, you risk the fare going up; if you book too early, you may change your plans and things don’t work out. Booking flights is one of my least favorite things to do and it tends to take me a lot of time to search for the best deal. But, to make it a less stressful endeavor for you, here are some tips I’ve learned on how and when to book flights
1. Be Flexible
Flexibility on the dates you want to travel are definitely key when trying to snag cheap fares. Try shifting your leaving and return date by a day or two and see what the fare difference is. Moving it one day forward or back could save you hundreds of dollars.
2. Check out Foreign Flight Sites
American based airline ticketing sites don’t always have the best information for the flights you’re booking overseas so try to look locally. Expedia couldn’t help me very well when I was looking to fly from Borneo to the Philippines. Check what the local airlines are and check out their websites. Also, don’t check from your countries version of the website. For example, if you’re Canadian but in Peru, try looking from their local site instead of the Canadian web address.
3. Check out Smaller Airlines and Airports
Often there is a local airline that flies nationally with some international flight options. Check out their website and see what they offer for prices. Also consider flying into other airports aside from the main national one in a large city. Smaller airports don’t always charge as much for landing fees but just be wary that these airports could be very far out of the city and you might have to take a pricey taxi into town when you land. One way around this is catching public transportation if you can.
4. Book Two Months Before
Studies have been done to show that the best time to book flights is roughly 54 days before you plan to fly. It’s said that this is the best and cheapest time to book your flights. I don’t know how credible this actually is, but it’s worth giving it a shot if you know where you want to go two months in advance, and if not, don’t worry as I’m sure the fare prices won’t be too different.
5. Travel During the Week
If you have the ability to, try choose flights on Monday through Thursday. These fares are often a lot cheaper than weekend fares and can save you hundreds of dollars
Subscribe to an airline, travel agent, or tourism company’s email newsletters. If you’re watching in advance you may snag a deal to the city you’re wanting to fly to. Often these deals have certain fly periods and blackout dates, but if you’re flexible, you can definitely save some good money doing it this way.
7. Sign Up
Some airline travel websites offer to keep an eye out for deals on flights if you sign up with their website. They will price watch the flights you’re interested in and will send you an email if the fares drop. These are definitely worth trying, even if it doesn’t always work.