The cheapest day of the week to book a flight is Tuesday. Or is that just a false hope desperate travelers cling to in a bid to make the insanity of flight searching a bit more bearable?
A secret best day of the week to book your flight would undoubtedly simplify the whole deal search, but is waiting to book your flights on a random Wednesday the best way to score extra savings?
Find out if the best day of the week to book your flight truly exists, and get the inside scoop on taking your flight deal savings to the next level with nine tips you don’t want to miss.
Table of Contents
- What Day of the Week Is Best to Buy Airline Tickets?
- What Is the Best Day of the Week to Depart?
- What Is the Cheapest Month to Fly?
- 9 Tips for Getting the Best Deals on Flights
- 1. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Book
- 2. Follow the Deals
- 3. Keep an Eye Out for Price Drops
- 4. Book Within the “Prime Booking Window”
- 5. Economy Isn’t Always Cheaper
- 6. Book Your Flight on the Weekend
- 7. Nonstop Flights Can Be a Bargain
- 8. Watch Out for Fees
- 9. Use a Flight Deal Alert Service, Like Next Vacay
What Day of the Week Is Best to Buy Airline Tickets?
You may have heard that Tuesdays are the cheapest days to book flights. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly true. There isn’t one magical day to book flights that will guarantee you the lowest prices. Rather, the day to pay attention to is the day you fly, not the day you book.
Although some trends indicate that there are days you’re more likely to see cheap flights, don’t get hung up on the idea that you have to book your travel on a specific day. Instead, try scoring the cheapest flights by keeping an eye on pricing trends and being ready to book when they drop.
If you do that, the best day of the week to book a flight becomes the day you scored the best price!
What Is the Best Day of the Week to Book a Domestic Flight?
The first rule of booking flights is simple: ignore the myths. Contrary to popular belief, you can find cheap fares for domestic flights on any day of the week. However, there are calendar markers to pay attention to for maximizing your savings and bagging the lowest prices possible. A study of domestic flight pricing reveals you’ll want to book your flight between four months and three weeks before your domestic trip.
You’ll generally see the highest prices for domestic flights when tickets first become available, typically a year in advance. But don’t bet all your money on scooping up last-minute deals, either. Though you can occasionally score a fantastic deal on a last-minute flight, most airline tickets see a second price hike a few weeks before the departure date when business travelers are more likely to book their flights.
What Is the Best Day of the Week to Book an International Flight?
The same truth applies to domestic and international flights. With no one particular day of the week to book, travelers can find cheap international fares available 24/7. But getting an early start here is critical. One study of international pricing shows the lowest fares for international trips come between one and ten months before departure.
As for when exactly you should book, this differs by destination. For example, if you’re headed to Mexico, the prime time to book will fall around two months before your trip. On the other hand, if you’re planning a trip to Africa, prepare to lock in your flights much earlier, around seven months in advance.
Generally speaking, international flights have a wide booking window. You’ll get a good deal if you don’t buy tickets the minute they come available or within a month of your trip.
Do Flight Prices Go Down on Tuesday?
The myth has been going around for years, but the truth is that flight prices don’t go down on Tuesdays. To be fair, they did at one point in time, and savvy travelers could score a great deal late on a Tuesday night. But that was before airline algorithms.
Nowadays, pricing changes are handled by computers, so don’t waste your time trying to pin down a specific day of the week to land that perfect flight deal. It’ll likely only save you a handful of dollars in the long run.
What Is the Best Day of the Week to Depart?
Tuesdays may not be favorable for booking, but if you’re hoping to score major savings, booking your departure on a Tuesday or Wednesday is a surefire way to do so. Mid-week flights offer the best deal prices in comparison to flights departing the rest of the week. Common sense and research back it up. Fewer people fly in the middle of the week, meaning those who do can take advantage of cheaper prices and more options.
On the opposite end, the last day you’ll want to depart is Sunday. Sunday is the most expensive day to fly domestically and internationally. It could even mean paying twice as much for a domestic flight as flying during the week. While the savings aren’t as drastic for international flights, you’ll still find the best deal by departing mid-week versus the weekend.
What Is the Cheapest Month to Fly?
The cheapest month to fly differs by destination. However, some trends stick out. Domestically and heading to Mexico, the cheapest time to fly is sometime in January or February. For places like Canada, Asia, and the South Pacific, plan your trip for January/February or early spring in March/April. Finally, for most other places, you’ll find the cheapest month to fly falls in autumn, between September and November.
Of course, the most expensive months to fly, and thereby the ones to avoid if possible, are the summer months and any holiday season. Prices fluctuate based on demand, and trying to book flights during these in-demand times will have you paying more for the same flight than if you booked during the shoulder or off-season.
9 Tips for Getting the Best Deals on Flights
Knowing the best day and month to depart is all well and good, but it doesn’t guarantee the best prices. So, how do you go about turning all this information into credible savings? Check out these nine tips for getting the most out of your search and locking in those deals.
1. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Book
Whether domestic or international, ticket prices tend to rise the closer you get to flying out, specifically after the three-week mark. Once you’re within 21 days of your trip, you’ve officially missed your window for cheap flights.
Barring some miracle, you’ll be stuck paying whatever price you have to to get where you’re going, or even worse, canceling your plans entirely.
Rather than waiting until the last minute, start looking at prices early. You don’t want to book too far out, but keeping an eye on prices several months ahead of your trip will put you in a much better position to find cheap flights.
2. Follow the Deals
Often, you make travel plans for a specific destination and look for the deals around that. But when you don’t have those constraints keeping your hands tied, consider following the deals.
A simple search on Google Flights’ Explore feature will unveil prices for destinations around the globe. From there, you can chase the cheapest spots or timeframes and plan your trip details around the best deals.
Similarly, a service like Next Vacay sends cheap flights straight to your inbox. So, when you know a destination is seeing great deals, you can save money—and time searching flights—by booking deals as soon as they become available.
3. Keep an Eye Out for Price Drops
One of the best ways to get cheaper flights is by keeping an eye on the pricing trends for flights of interest. Of course, you could do this manually by using an airline website or search engine to check flights daily or even multiple times a day. However, the easier way to do this is by setting up an automated system. Hopper and Google Flights offer features that help track prices and alert you when prices drop.
The Price Prediction feature on Hopper shows you the cheapest upcoming travel dates and helps you decide when to book. Meanwhile, Google Flights lets you see pricing trends for a destination, informing you if a fare is lower than average for your chosen dates and sending you email notifications when flight prices drop for saved trips.
Keeping a finger on the pulse and getting the latest alerts on price changes is a surefire method for saving money.
4. Book Within the “Prime Booking Window”
Almost every destination has a “prime booking window.” If booking cheap flights is more important than anything else, grabbing the best seats, for example, then booking during this period all but guarantees you’ll find some of the cheapest fares available for your flight.
Notice we referred to it as a “period,” not one mystical day where you’ll have to stay up late to get the lowest price on a ticket before it sells out.
Most destinations have a wide range for their prime booking window, with the best time to buy airfare typically falling around the two-and-a-half-month mark for domestic flights and five months for international flights. But, it differs by region.
For example, for some destinations, like the Caribbean, you can book just two months out and still score major savings. Meanwhile, for others, like Oceania, you’ll need to make plans early and book your flight around ten months before you travel. But, on average, you can book most international trips roughly three to five months out and still get a good deal.
5. Economy Isn’t Always Cheaper
Budget-conscious travelers know that the best prices can be found in basic economy, or have we been lured in by that initial low price tag? While basic economy offers that shiny low price, looking at the terms and conditions of the fare may reveal a more expensive picture than the airlines first led us to believe.
Basic economy fares are essentially the answer presented by major airlines to the problem of budget airlines. They needed an option to compete with the ultra-low fares offered by low-cost carriers like Southwest and Spirit Airlines. So, just like those ultra-low fares from budget airlines, basic economy strips away extra services to give you the absolute cheapest flight possible.
But the cheapest price doesn’t always equal the best value.
So, before hopping on a basic economy fare because it’s cheap, do the math to ensure you won’t be shelling out the same amount of money as a regular economy ticket or more for things like a checked bag, meals, etc.
6. Book Your Flight on the Weekend
One trick that may work for getting you cheaper flight deals is booking on the weekend. We know, we said there wasn’t one best day of the week to book flights, and the research backs that up. However, some travel experts, like the ones over at ARC, show you can save some money by booking on one day in particular: Sunday. Average savings for travelers who booked on Sundays ranged from 5% for domestic flights to 10% for international flights.
With that said, don’t get too hung up on purchasing tickets on a Sunday. While this information can be helpful, use it as more of a guide than a hard and fast rule. Watching price trends is the most reliable way to score a good deal, but a random Sunday price drop may help you get lucky.
7. Nonstop Flights Can Be a Bargain
You may think you need to stay away from nonstop flights to get a deal on airline tickets, but that’s not exactly the case.
Direct flights can be more expensive because they’re convenient and efficient in getting you from point A to point B. However, that doesn’t automatically preclude you from scoring a great deal on a nonstop flight.
Because of constant fluctuations and changing demands for a specific route at any given time, you could end up paying less for a direct flight than you would for one with stopovers.
So, don’t just leave the direct flights to business travelers. Looking for nonstop flight deals may end up saving you more money.
8. Watch Out for Fees
We mentioned the dangers of taking a flight price at face value. That warning doubles for budget carriers, both domestic and international. Airlines like Frontier in the US and Ryanair in Europe are notorious for offering low fare prices. Of course, they do this by cutting out all the frills provided by major airlines. While this might sound tame on the surface, it can quickly become a nightmare if you’re not careful.
Need to add a last-minute bag to your trip? Frontier Airlines will charge $79 to check it at the counter. Couldn’t check in for your flight due to spotty Wi-Fi? Ryanair charges passengers €30-55 to check in at the airport.
If you’re flying with a low-cost carrier, have a plan to avoid their additional fees, and maybe a backup plan, too—just in case.
9. Use a Flight Deal Alert Service, Like Next Vacay
Finding the perfect cheap flight can be a lot of work. And while some travelers relish every part of the travel planning process, the other half of us are counting down the days until we can stop planning and start enjoying our vacation.
Luckily enough, if you don’t want to spend hours of your time scouring the web and comparing flight deals, you can sign up for a service like Next Vacay. Following the Next Vacay newsletter gets you direct access to incredible deals. A dedicated team of deal hunters vets each flight for pricing, availability, and layovers to deliver low prices, endless travel dates, and quick flight times for the best travel experience.
With Next Vacay, every day becomes the best day of the week to book a flight.