Summer travel season is approaching, and you might just be getting to booking your flights. While summer is typically more expensive for travel, you might be able to save some money by avoiding purchasing flights on the wrong day of the week.
There are some long-standing myths in the travel industry about the best day to search for flight deals, but less know that there are days where flights may be more expensive.
We’ve reviewed data from Google Flights and a study from Expedia to find out if there really are worse days to buy tickets than others. Here’s what we’ve found.
Best Day To Buy Airline Tickets: Sunday
Expedia analyzed millions of flights and airfare data and found that booking a flight on a Sunday could save you up to 15% on your total airfare. The data showed that booking on a Sunday versus a Friday yielded 5% cheaper airfare on domestic flights, and 15% savings on international flights.
And while waiting to book could yield you some savings, you might be better off searching your route on Google Flights, Kayak, Hopper, or another travel service, and setting an alert to track prices for those dates. This ensures that you receive a message if the price rises or drops, and if it drops, you can quickly book it to lock in a low fare.
In addition, there are no guarantees that you will get a lower price when booking on Sunday versus any other day of the week. Airline ticket prices are far more fluid and can even change by the hour. Your best bet is to start searching early to find better deals, no matter the day of the week.
Don’t Buy Tickets on Friday
While cheaper flights can be found by booking at the end of the weekend, shopping for flights on a Friday could end up costing you more. You might pay 5% – 15% more, depending on the flight.
Friday is notorious for last-minute travel bookings for an upcoming weekend. And business travelers are getting their flights booked for the next week as well. This increase in demand may be the reason for the increase in airfare prices.
If you happen to be booking airfare on a Friday, try to avoid booking unless your flights are at least days away, as Expedia’s study shows that airfare is lower for flights booked at least a month out.
More Ways To Save on Airline Tickets
While booking flights on Sunday can be an easy way to save a few bucks, there are some other ways to save big money on your next airfare purchase:
- Fly on Wednesday. According to the Expedia study, scheduling your departing flight on a Wednesday versus a Sunday or Monday can save you up to 15% on domestic travel, and up to 10% on international flights.
- Book at least one month out (domestic flights). If you are booking a flight within the U.S., book at least one month out to save on airfare. According to the study, the “sweet spot” for booking domestic flights is from 28 – 35 days out. And booking between 3.5 months and 6 months in advance will actually cost you more.
- Book at least six months out (international flights). International flights require booking much further in advance, and those who book about six months out can save around 10% versus those who book within two months of departure.
- Travel during “off-peak” dates. Booking a summer vacation to Disney or winter getaway to Hawaii is guaranteed to cost you more. If you can travel during “off-peak” season to your destination, you could save hundreds of dollars on airfare. Some airlines even have set dates for “off-peak” travel to certain destinations.
- Be flexible with your dates. If you can be flexible with your travel dates, you might be able to save a LOT on airline tickets. A simple look at Google Flights lets you view an airfare calendar, and you can quickly see that departing a few days earlier, or arriving a few days later can save big money. If you are flexible, you will have the best chance for cheaper airline tickets.
- Use a travel alert. Apps like Google Flights, Expedia, Hopper, and Kayak allow you to set travel alerts for your travel dates and destinations, letting you track the airfare prices for your trip. This can alert you when a screaming deal pops up, letting you quickly book a cheaper flight.
- Use points and miles. If you want to avoid most of the cost of airfare altogether, consider using airline miles or credit card points to book flights. Many credit cards offer generous sign-up bonuses that can net you tens of thousands of airline miles or points, which can be used to book flights. This can save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars, but you do need to know how the points work to get the best value.
Booking on Friday will cost you more, and booking on Sunday can save you up to 15% on your airline tickets. But there are tons of ways to save even more on airline tickets instead of just waiting until Sunday to book your flights.
While statistically, prices are lower when you avoid booking flights on Friday, it doesn’t guarantee it will work for you. Your best bet for cheap flights is to avoid booking last-minute, set travel alerts, and fly mid-week for the best deals.
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