Looking for ways to save on your next vacation? Google Flights has sifted through five years of airfare data and unlocked some key secrets that can help you cut the cost of air travel.
Google Flights looked at round-trip airfares between Aug. 1, 2017, and Aug. 1, 2022. The analysis included holiday travel and trips planned at other times of the year, including key periods such as spring break and summer vacations.
Here are some important lessons you can learn from their research:
Fly during the first half of the week
Flying on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday is 12% cheaper on average than flying on a weekend. And for domestic flights alone, the savings jump to 20%.
Book your flight on any day of the week
Traditionally, travel experts have suggested booking a flight on Tuesdays to get the best deal. But the folks at Google Flights say that belief doesn’t stand up to the evidence.
Booking on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays saves you just 1.9% compared with booking on the weekend.
Don’t rule out layovers
Nonstop flights typically cost 20% more than flights with layovers. So accepting a little inconvenience can lead to savings.
Purchase your ticket 44 days before departure
You’ll score the best prices at any time of the year by making a purchase 21 to 60 days before departure. Specifically, the best time to buy is 44 days out.
The best time to book for holiday flights is:
- 52 days before Thanksgiving, or anywhere between 36 and 74 days before the holiday
- 22 days before Christmas, or anywhere between 20 and 88 days before the holiday
You can also save on spring break travel (38 days out), summer trips (21 days), trips to Europe (129 days) and trips to Mexico or the Caribbean (59 days) by booking at the right time.
However, Google Flights notes that patterns can vary by flight route, and that as a general rule, booking early always makes sense.
If you are planning a trip soon, stop by the Money Talks News Solutions Center and look for the best travel deals.