When is the best time to buy airline tickets?
When you decide to travel (be it for holidays, business purposes or sight-seeing), you think picking up a destination, booking a flight category, and packing your luggage, is all it takes to get travelling done. Unfortunately, there is more to it; there is an element of time to consider which may have financial implications. To put it simply, when is the best time to buy airline tickets? We understand what it feels like to experience cognitive dissonance when you find out that you paid for tickets which are now selling at lower rates.
The post will help in the deliberation process and give ample time for preparation and saving. Keep in mind though, this serves as a yardstick. Apart from this, you may come across one-time rare occasions where you hear somebody got the best deals at the last moment or two days earlier. The longer you wait, the risk of prices jumping will increase as cheap deals expire or seats are sold out.
Taking into account when is the ideal time to buy tickets to get the lowest airfares, choosing a particular destination becomes a little complicated, which requires observing a few factors like seasons, domestic/international flights, famous events in a particular country, political situation and weather conditions. Let’s go through them one by one:
CheapAir conducted an analysis from 2014 data of 1.5 billion airfares, observing approximately 4.9 million trips. The time span was between 320 days in advance and one day before flight time. According to CheapAir, the average time, for domestic flights, is 47 days.
If we talk about international flights, unsurprisingly, there are several markets across the globe. Because of which, the average time was determined based on region. The country taken as a starting point for analysis is USA. Be advised, if you book for a destination residing in one of the regions during peak times or special events (reasons mentioned below), then you should prepare a little sooner than the number of days given below!
As mentioned previously, the risk of price increase will be more likely when you wait longer.
You now know how long in advance you have to reserve tickets, but on which day of the week should you buy ticket? It is during Tuesday afternoon. The airline checks the sales during the weekends and posts deals online by late Monday/early Tuesday. The competitors then engage in price matching to stay ahead.
This one is a no-brainer. Places which are famous for beaches and resorts like Hawaii, Thailand, Dubai Maldives and other tropical places will be jam-packed in summer. Whereas European countries, America and Australia will be overcrowded with family members during winter due to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In these times, picking a destination becomes tricky and therefore requires booking tickets in advance for not only cheap fares, but also for availability of seats.
If you notice ticket prices are exorbitant during non-peak times, then weather is probably to be blamed. Examples like Hurricane Katrina and Harvey, floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, Haiti tsunami and other natural disasters may lead to higher fares or even cancellation of flights.
Events in a Particular Country
You may be wondering why swarm of tourists are heading for a particular country; it is calling everybody around the world to witness and participate in their colossal event. Famous events like the Olympics, the Super Bowl, World Cup, Brazil’s Carnival, holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, Chinese New Year etc. In some cases, it is the other way around like the political situation in Libya, Syria, Palestine, Turkey and Egypt, Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan, Manchester and Paris attack and others.
Our objective is simple: To save as much money as possible for you, so that it can be spent elsewhere. When you buy tickets, you also want to gain memorable experiences. Some of them require money like when you suddenly get a midday craving when passing by delicious looking snacks offered at small shops or street vendors, going to a ride/carnival, buying tickets to a music concert, recreational activities like scuba diving and gliding, paying street performers if they grab your attention long enough, and finally souvenirs to take something back home. For those people who are practicing austerity (while being capable of spending more) are depriving themselves from things which the foreign places are offering; quintessential experiences that may come once in a lifetime. These can be great conversation topics to share with their friends and relatives at a gathering. This leaves us pondering, ‘Does money buy happiness?’ To clear any confusion, when we travel, we spend on gaining cherished memories and not on getting material possessions.
Now the question arises, “How am I supposed to remember all the cheap airline promotions from not just one airline, but from its several competitors as well? After surveying several airline promotions, it is better to subscribe to their updates regarding promotions. Note each one of them on your notepad and continue researching more. Similarly to checking stock prices, it is advised to check for ticket rates as frequently as possible within a week. Some suggest doing it 4 times a day, since rates fluctuate rapidly!
The reason to update yourself with inundating information is so that you and your friends/family can spend more while travelling and get your money’s worth. But if you still feel that all of this hassle is not worth it and futile, remind yourself of this quote:
“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” (Sean Patrick Flanery)