The Best Time to Book Your Next Vacation? Now
By Lola Augustine Brown
April 11, 2017
It’s never too early to start planning your next vacation. And if you’re thinking about taking a trip over the summer, you might want to book well in advance: prices for travel packages are on the rise.
According to a report from Hopper, travel booking app users can expect to pay an average of 13 percent more for flights and 16 percent more for vacation packages if they wait to book their summer trips until the end of April.
The reason for the price hike? Predictable demand. “If you look back over the last few years, we see that prices tend to go up at least 7 percent every April and by a further 6 percent by May,” said Joanna White, Hopper’s senior data scientist. “As we get closer to summer and most people have made their travel plans, we tend not to see as many deals or discounts as there are simply more buyers than sellers at that time.”
White says that there can be large peaks and troughs in airfares throughout the year, with prices up to 35 percent lower than during peak times. To help travelers avoid
The best time to book your next vacation? Now.
According to Expedia’s annual air travel pricing report, travelers can save up to 21 percent when booking flights 30 days in advance and at least 14 days before their departure date. Focusing on domestic flights, the report found that Wednesday is the cheapest day to book (up to 26 percent cheaper than the average) and Friday is the most expensive, with ticket prices about 11 percent higher than average.
Travelers looking for international fares will also benefit from planning and booking in advance. Flights purchased at least seven weeks before their departure date are 21 percent cheaper than last-minute fares, while flights purchased four to six weeks in advance are eight percent more expensive than the lowest fares. April continues to be a great month for travel deals: Expedia found that international trips booked in March for travel during April would land travelers a discount of up to 21 percent on airfare.
Now is the best time to book your next vacation.
There are two ways to get a good price on your next trip: either travel at the right time or book at the right time. If you want to travel over Christmas, there’s not much you can do about it. But if you’re flexible, you might be able to take advantage of dramatic discounts simply by timing your booking strategically.
The conventional wisdom is that Tuesday is the best day of the week to get a good deal on airfare. Theoretically, airlines will match their prices against competitors’ on Monday and then drop any remaining unbooked seats on Tuesdays in order to fill seats ahead of the weekend (when more travelers fly).
But many experts now believe that this once-true rule no longer applies. It’s not Tuesday anymore. It’s Thursday. According to FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney, “Historically, Tuesday was the best day to buy — but not anymore.” Instead, he recommends that you book flights on Sunday for domestic flights and Thursday for international ones.
“On Sundays,” Seaney says, “airlines tend to make their last-minute pricing moves before people start booking en masse around 6 p.m.” And while certain airlines post sales on Mondays,
Autumn is the best time to book your next vacation, and if you miss this window, it will cost you.
That’s what we learned from analyzing thousands of travel packages and published airfares — and then testing our theory with a survey of hundreds of travelers. We found that booking at least three weeks in advance is the sweet spot for those seeking the best deals.
We also saw that flights are the most expensive on Fridays and Saturdays; leaving on a Monday or Tuesday could save you $100 or more. And while you may think that business travelers book all the cheap seats, we found that flying during off-peak days helped us find better deals than flying during peak business travel days.
With the holidays behind us, it’s time to start planning your next vacation. And if you want to get the best deal possible on your hotel or flight, you should book now.
The best time to book a domestic flight is 54 days in advance, according to an analysis of 917 million airfares by CheapAir.com. But that’s just an average. Some routes are better booked sooner, like flights from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (76 days), and others later, like flights from Los Angeles to New York City (167 days).
Chestnut says that “the best deal is not always available the moment seats are released.” If a flight is popular and seats are selling fast, airlines will sometimes release more seats at lower prices to keep planes full rather than let them fly with empty seats. Those more affordable seats will start trickling out about six weeks before the flight date — just in time for procrastinators who haven’t yet booked their tickets but don’t want to pay top dollar.
Travel website Kayak has crunched the numbers, and they’ve discovered something surprising: If you book your next vacation today, you’ll save money.
According to Kayak’s research, travelers who book their flights on a Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST will get the best prices on airfare. That may seem like a long time to wait, but there’s a very good reason for it: Airlines launch sales during the middle of the week, so waiting until Tuesday will give you access to those sales before they expire.
According to travel experts Travel + Leisure spoke to, airlines are most likely to launch their sales from Monday through Wednesday. And while Tuesday is the cheapest day to buy tickets overall, Sunday is also a good option for domestic flights because that’s when many airlines announce their weekly deals.
Another way to ensure you get the best price: Book in January! According to Kayak’s study, airfares were 6 percent cheaper this January than last year.
If you’ve been waiting for the opportune moment to book your next vacation, it’s now. The airlines are just wrapping up their latest sale on airfare, and you can still save big. On top of that, a new report from travel site Kayak reveals that the best travel deals are found during the first week of January.
According to Kayak’s “Travel Hacker Guide,” this time of year is the best time to find deals on winter and spring getaways. Airfare to cities like Fort Lauderdale and Las Vegas are at their lowest rates of the year right now, according to the site’s data.
If you’re planning to go abroad, Kayak also found that flights to Europe will be cheapest in February. In particular, prices to London tend to dip during that month (to an average of $973 round-trip) thanks to a post-holiday lull in tourism. Flights to Copenhagen will also be at their cheapest in February, with an average cost of $811 round-trip.