Three years ago today, all of us were hunkering down and living under restrictions, hoping to survive the Covid-19 Pandemic. Who knew then that we would decide the best time to buy holiday tickets this year?
Undaunted by higher airfares and hotel costs, tourism is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels in some of Europe’s most popular destinations, from Barcelona and Rome, Athens and Venice to the scenic islands of Santorini in Greece, Capri in Italy and Mallorca in Spain.
In another sign that air travel has recovered from the pandemic already, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced that it had recorded its highest-ever number of passengers screened in a single day, surpassing a record set in 2019.
According to Expedia’s spring travel report, searches for March and April flights are up 40% compared with last year’s time frame, indicating that U.S. travelers are getting a head start on planning spring break getaways. With the renewed interest in travel comes the age-old question: When is the best time to book a flight for your winter travel plans to lock in a decent bargain?
First things first, talking off airfares, experts believe airfares have been “falling rapidly in the past year.” It hit a peak in May 2022 and has fallen in 10 of the past 13 months. An economist at the travel app, Hopper Haley Berg, told CNN, “I would say that Christmas in July – July 25 – is when you should start planning your Christmas travel. Not booking it, but planning it.“
Jeff Klee, the CEO of CheapAir.com, told CNN, “According to our website’s latest survey, the best day to book cheap flights is, on average, 70 days before the departure date. If price is the main consideration, the lowest-priced airline tickets with some choice still available fall within this window. The secret to getting cheap holiday flights can be summed up in four words: Always book the opposite season.”
The cheapest winter holiday flights begin to surface during this ‘goldilocks window,’ and right now is that time. This doesn’t mean that we should all run and book our flight today but keep an eye out for the rates from now. For domestic travel plans, prices of flights will probably be at their lowest in the last two weeks of September, the first two weeks of October. Expedia gives us the best day to book cheap flights with 5-10% discounts—end of weekends.
The affordability of airfare does not only depend on when you’re booking the flight but when you are choosing to travel. Hayley Berg says the cheapest day to fly internationally is Thursday, when you save 6% of your total airfare. A CheapAir.com survey says that for domestic trips, Wednesday is the cheapest day of the week to fly, saving on average $100 per airline ticket. Other Money saving tips include focusing on time flexibility by comparing prices for various combos of departures and returns. Searching for flights in incognito mode also helps.
The Vacationer states that numerous people in the U.S. travel domestically during the Thanksgiving holidays to be with their families. It’s a very American-centric holiday, so domestic flight ticket prices might be inflated during this period. However, it is an excellent opportunity for international travelers to venture out as fares could offer huge savings. Experts recommend that all travelers start their research now because as November and December approach, the desirable time is either selling out or inflating costs.