Holiday travel is just around the corner, and affordability is top of mind for many people. From April to August this year, searches for ‘ cheapest airline tickets ‘ surged by more than 240% in the U.S. During this same period, the top-searched questions related to air travel included “when is the best time to book a flight?” and “how to find cheap flights?”.
To learn more about finding the best deal on your next flight, the Google Flights team has shared an analysis of five years’ worth of historical airfare data with Travel Noire to look for any reliable patterns in the data.
Here’s what Google Flight found to guide you along the way :
Cheapest days to fly
Historically, it’s been cheaper to fly in the middle of the week than on the weekend — especially Sundays. On average, flights that depart on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday have been 12% cheaper than weekend departures. If you exclude international destinations, the potential savings jump even higher to 20%.
Nonstop flight versus taking a layover
Willingness to take a layover is one of your best bets to save money when you fly. On average, nonstop fares have been 20% higher than a flight with stops.
The ideal number of days before departure to book a flight
For U.S. domestic flights, prices have usually been their lowest 21-60 days out, with average prices bottoming out 44 days before departure. But keep in mind that these patterns may not hold true for your specific route, so planning and booking early is usually a good idea.
Best time to book flights for Thanksgiving or Christmas
For domestic Thanksgiving travel, you’ll want to plan a bit further ahead. In the past, the lowest prices have usually been found 36-74 days before departure, hitting their lowest point 52 days out.
For domestic trips around Christmas, the lowest average prices have been 22 days before departure, but that may be cutting it close. Prices have tended to drop anywhere between 20 and 88 days before departure.
Best time to buy spring break flights
Best time to book flights for summer vacation
Best time to book a flight from the U.S. to Europe
For trips to Europe from the U.S., prior trends suggest you’ll want to book on the earlier side. The best deals were usually found 129 days before departure and prices tend to be lower anywhere between 50 and 179 days out.
Best time to book flights from the U.S. to Mexico or the Caribbean
In prior years, average airfares from the U.S. to Mexico or the Caribbean have been lowest between 37 and 87 days before departure, and 59 days out is when they’ve hit their lowest point.