We're always confused about the best time to get cheap flights, but the folks at CheapAir apparently came up with pricing data, so you don't have to take a stab at guessing.
The airfare-shopping engine crunched data from about four million trips in 2013 and came up with these findings:
- Best time to buy a domestic ticket: The ideal is 54 days in advance, but anywhere between one month and three-and-a-half months before your departure date is the best time to buy your tickets.
- Worst time to buy a domestic ticket: Buying last minute, especially two weeks before your trip, is the worst time. The day before you plan to leave is the single worst time to buy a ticket, while two days before was the second worst, and the pricing pattern continues in that vein.
Exceptions to the 54-day rule, aka prime booking time
CheapAir also analyzed when you should book a flight earlier:
- When you are going to a particular destination during a popular time.
- If you are going to a popular destination that's in high demand all the time.
- When you fly to a small airport with limited flights. There is not enough competition to affect the fare prices.
- When you're booking international flights.
The best time to buy flights to popular domestic locations and international destinations
- Las Vegas: 81 days in advance
- Hawaii: 87 days in advance
- Ft. Lauderdale, Phoenix, Orange County, San Diego, West Palm Beach, Pensacola, and Orlando: 75 days in advance
- Europe: 151 days in advance
- Asia: 129 days in advance
- Middle East: 80 days in advance
- South Pacific: 70 days in advance
- Caribbean: 101 days in advance
- Mexico: 89 days in advance
- Latin America: 80 days in advance