Booking A Flight

Planning a trip can be stressful and booking an airline ticket is one of the worst tasks out of the bunch. Trying to ensure that you’re getting the best price can feel like a game of cat and mouse, and there’s nothing more frustrating than booking your tickets only to discover that a much better deal came along weeks later. The age-old question remains: how far in advance should you book your flight?

Factors to Consider

The price of airfare is affected by a huge range of factors – your chosen destination, what time and date you plan on traveling, and whether the flights that you’re booking are domestic or international. According to an annual airfare study conducted by CheapAir, a flight’s price changes an average of $33 (either up or down) every 4.5 days. 

Of course, this means that booking the least expensive flight possible is a game of timing – there are ramifications to being an early bird or booking last minute. 

Tips for Booking Flights

There are a few basic tips that you can use while booking a flight to try and get a better deal. Of course, there’s no magical formula for booking the least expensive flight possible, but there are certain things you can watch to try and save yourself some money.

Domestic flights should usually be booked between one and three months before departure – this is based on data gathered by the website FareCompare and Travel & Leisure magazine.

Preparing for an international trip takes a lot more preparation and forethought, but there’s good news – international airfare prices fluctuate much less than domestic flights do, and thus can (and should) be booked further in advance. Data suggests anywhere between five and a half and two months beforehand is usually the best time to book. 

While these numbers aren’t exact, most data suggests that it’s more costly to wait too long than to book too early. Airfare prices in the last week before your departure can shoot up as much as 25%, and you run the risk of encountering full flights.