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The Best Days to Book Your Flight: When and How to Save on Flights

Elinor Rozenvasser Updated: February 25, 2024 • 7 min read
buying a flight ticket

Key Points:

  • Flexibility saves money on flights.

  • Price alerts and smart cards find deals.

  • Book early and watch for price drops.

Finding cheap flights can feel like a guessing game. You might have heard there's a "best day" to book your tickets, hoping for a huge discount. But truthfully, there isn't just one perfect day to find deals. It's more about being smart and flexible than picking a specific day. Airfare prices change all the time, influenced by how many people are flying, when you want to travel, and even the airlines' own pricing plans. So, getting a good deal means keeping an eye out and being ready to book when prices drop.

With this in mind, finding the best deals on flights isn't about marking a special day on your calendar. It's about watching for price changes and knowing some days might be better than others for finding lower prices. Ready to get into the nitty-gritty of booking flights? We'll show you the best days to book and the best times to fly to help you save on your next trip.

How Flight Prices Work

When you're hunting for flight deals, it's crucial to know that flight prices are always on the move. Unlike a grocery store that might lower prices on Tuesday mornings to clear out last week's stock, airlines don't have a set day to drop their prices. Instead, airfare changes in real-time, reacting to how many seats are sold and how many people are looking to buy.

If a lot of travelers are booking trips to the same place at the same time, prices might go up. On the other hand, if not many people are booking, you might see prices drop to encourage more sales.

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The Science Behind Pricing

But how do you know when it's the right time to book? That's where data comes in handy. Companies like Hopper use tons of data to analyze trends and predict when flight prices will go up or down. Their studies dive deep into the patterns, helping to bust myths and give travelers a better shot at finding good deals.

Understanding these trends can be a game-changer in planning your trips. It's not about guessing the right day but being informed about how prices change and why. This knowledge puts you a step ahead in the quest for cheaper flights, making it easier to spot a good deal when you see one.

This dynamic nature of flight pricing means that the "best time to book" isn't a one-size-fits-all answer but rather a strategy tailored to each trip. For example, booking well in advance is typically advised for peak travel seasons, while last-minute deals might pop up for off-peak times when airlines are looking to fill seats.

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By keeping an eye on how prices fluctuate over time, you can start to notice patterns, like certain times of the year or even days of the week when deals are more likely to appear. Armed with this understanding, you become more than just a traveler; you're a savvy shopper navigating the skies, ready to click "book" when the price is right, making your travel budget stretch further.

Find the Best Day to Book a Flight: Myth vs. Reality

It's time to tackle one of the biggest questions in travel: Is there really a best day to book flights? The straightforward answer is no. The idea of a universal "best day" for booking flights is more myth than reality, thanks to the constantly changing demand and the strategic pricing airlines use to stay competitive. Flight prices can shift based on a variety of factors, from the season and destination to sudden increases in demand. This means that what works for one flight might not work for another, and a deal you see today could be gone tomorrow.

Cheap Flights: Stay Ahead of Airline Sales

Airlines are always adjusting their prices, trying to offer competitive rates without undercutting their own profits. This can lead to sales and special offers popping up unexpectedly, any day of the week. So, if you're on the hunt for cheap flights, the key is to stay vigilant.

Sign up for airline newsletters, follow them on social media, and consider using alerts from travel apps and websites. These tools can help you stay informed about price drops and sales as soon as they happen, giving you a better chance to snag a deal before it disappears. Remember, in the world of air travel, flexibility and readiness can often lead to the best savings.

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The Best Days to Hit the Skies

When it comes to actually flying, not all days are created equal, especially if you're looking to save some cash. Thanks to data crunching by Hopper, we've got some solid advice on when you might want to schedule your flights, both for domestic and international trips. This kind of info can make a real difference in how much you end up spending.

Domestic Flights: Midweek Wins

For those flying within the country, aiming for the middle of the week could be your ticket to savings. According to Hopper's findings, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the cheapest days to fly domestically. The data shows you could save an average of about 15-20% by choosing these days over the more popular end-of-week flights. It seems that flying out when most people are busy with their workweek can lead to some pretty significant discounts.

International Journeys: Wednesday is Key

Looking to venture beyond your borders? Hopper's data points to Wednesday as the golden day for international travel, typically offering the lowest prices compared to any other day of the week. The savings can be quite substantial when you compare it to the most expensive days to fly, like Fridays and Sundays. For instance, choosing a Wednesday flight over a Sunday one could trim your flight costs by up to 20%.

The Saturday and Monday Advantage

While Tuesdays and Wednesdays take the spotlight for the cheapest days, don't overlook the potential savings on Saturdays and Mondays. Flying on these days can also offer a break in price, primarily because you're avoiding the high-demand Sunday travel rush. It's all about strategy; by planning your flights around these less popular days, you can dodge the crowds and save some money—making your trip a little sweeter before it even begins.

Top Credit Cards for Flight Bookings

Booking flights can be smarter and more rewarding with the right credit card in your wallet. Here’s a quick look at some top credit cards that offer great benefits for flight bookings:

Credit Card Type Benefits Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred Earn 2x points on travel and dining, including flights; points are worth 25% more when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. $95
The Platinum Card from American Express Earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per year), access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, and up to $200 in airline fee credits annually. $695
Citi Premier Card Earn 3x points on air travel, hotels, and more; no foreign transaction fees; points can be transferred to various airline loyalty programs. $95
American Express Gold Card Earn 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and up to $100 in airline fee credits annually. $250

Smart Ways to Score Cheap Flights

Getting a good deal on flights doesn't have to be about luck. There are strategies you can use any day of the week to find cheaper airfare. Here's how:

  • Book in Advance: Planning is key when it comes to saving on flights. For domestic trips, try to book your tickets one to three months ahead. If you're flying international, booking two to eight months before your trip can help you avoid price hikes. Prices tend to go up as the departure date gets closer, so earlier is generally better.
  • Set Price Alerts: You don't have to check flight prices every day. Travel search engines offer the option to set price alerts for specific destinations and dates. This means you'll get an email or app notification when prices drop, making it easier to grab a deal without constant monitoring.
  • Rebook If Prices Drop: Found a better deal after you've booked your flight? With many airlines offering more flexible change and cancellation policies these days, you might be able to rebook at the lower price. Check your airline's policy to see if you can make changes without a hefty fee and snag that better rate.
  • Be Flexible: One of the best ways to save is by being flexible with your travel plans. This might mean flying out of a different airport, choosing a different destination, or being open to traveling on different dates. Sometimes, just flying a day earlier or later can make a significant difference in price. Flexibility can open the door to deals you might not have found otherwise.

By using these strategies, you can improve your chances of finding a great deal on flights, no matter when you decide to book. It's all about being proactive, flexible, and making use of the tools available to you.

The Bottom Line

To land the best deals on flights, remember it's all about staying flexible, keeping an eye out, and using smart tools at your disposal. There's no magic day to book, but with a little strategy, you can still find prices that make you smile. Price alerts can do the heavy lifting by keeping you updated on fare drops, and choosing the right travel credit card can add extra value to every booking with points, miles, and perks.


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Elinor Rozenvasser is a content writer and editor with a knack for finance. She holds a Bachelor's in Communications and Business from Reichman University, and has been swimming alongside finance specialists for over a decade. She's not your typical financial writer, though. She's more likely to use witty puns and sarcasm than jargon and technical terms. But don't let that fool you. She's still a whiz when it comes to explaining complex financial concepts in a way that anyone can understand. If there's any writer who can make finance fun and engaging, Elinor is your girl. She's sure to leave you laughing (and learning) long after you've finished reading her work.