The best time to book a flight for domestic, international and holiday travel

There are only two unbreakable rules: Flights go on sale about a year in advance, and costs change dramatically between then and departure. As a general rule, purchase your plane tickets far in advance of your vacation, as prices increase in the days leading up to departure, preying on any last-minute travellers who have no choice but to pay.

However, numerous factors influence the dynamic pricing patterns of plane tickets, such as the destination and time of year. In some circumstances, you can plan just a few weeks ahead of time, while in others, you should book months ahead of time, such as a trip around a major vacation holiday when demand is strong.

The average price of a ticket varies by roughly four dollars depending on the day of the week. Instead, finding a decent price is all about long-term planning, hunting for offers across weeks or even months.

In the end, finding the best flight deals can be difficult. Our first piece of advice is to start tracking flight rates as soon as possible so that you can keep an eye on pricing changes. To receive price change notifications for your tracked flights, use Google Flights or Hopper.

When Should You Book Domestic Flights?

According to a 2019 poll conducted by, the optimum day to buy plane tickets for a domestic journey is 76 days before departure. When you break down the year, though, it becomes clear that seasonality makes a significant difference. The cheapest flights are available 99 days prior to a summer vacation, 94 days prior to a winter trip, 84 days prior to a spring trip, and 69 days prior to an autumn trip.

However, because these figures are averages, you should expect some variation for your specific journey. As a result, while deciding when to buy aircraft tickets, it’s best to follow the general patterns. When tickets for domestic flights are first issued, around a year before the flight, the price is higher. Those costs will gradually decline until they reach their lowest point between 115 and 21 days approximately four months to three weeks before the flight, after which you’ll likely see a last-minute price increase.

When it comes to a different type of currency, such as points or miles, your approach should be slightly different. While many people save their points and miles for international travel, using your rewards for domestic travel gives you the most freedom. You may book domestic travel with points and miles and still get a good value if you book no later than two weeks before your intended departure date. If you want to fly transcontinentally in business, book early because capacity is limited.

In the end, you should schedule domestic award travel between six months and two weeks ahead of time. Yes, that’s a huge window, but award prices might fluctuate a lot or stay the same for a long time.

When Should You Book International Flights?

International flight pricing differs from domestic flight pricing in that the earlier you book, the better; rates don’t drop all that much once the flight schedule is released around a year before departure.

However, depending on your destination, there may be some differences. The lowest fares to Central America were available just 78 days before travel, while the lowest fares to Europe were available 200 days before departure. However, waiting for international flight rates to drop is unlikely to save you any money; you should feel confident booking as soon as you locate a decent fare.

Award travel for foreign flights follows similar pricing patterns; book early. “In general, reserving international award travel roughly a month in advance guarantees the best deals. International travel can be scheduled as soon as airline schedules are made available. If you find a reasonable award price, book it as soon as possible, just like you would for domestic flights. 

When Should You Book Your Holiday Flights?

Here are the golden spots:

-Spring Break – six weeks out

-Memorial Day – 7-8 weeks out

-The Fourth of July – six weeks out

-August Travel time- 4 to 5 weeks out

-Labor Day – 7 weeks out

-Thanksgiving – 2 weeks out

-Christmas – 4 weeks out

Now, if you’re booking award tickets for the holidays, there’s only one rule: book as soon as possible, at least two months ahead of time. Keep in mind that you won’t always receive the best value for your points and miles when booking holiday travel. However, if you’ve accumulated a big amount of points and miles during the last nine months, it might not be a terrible idea to use them up.

There are more than 26 million individuals over Thanksgiving week, making it one of the busiest travel holidays. As a result, it’s one of the priciest times to fly. Because demand is always high, we believe that airfare fares will remain rather stable for Thanksgiving travel.

Flight Reservations during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Everything we’ve said thus far has been true in previous years, but 2020 will be different. The optimum time to plan flights has changed significantly due to constrained timetables, fewer routes, and the general public’s concern about catching COVID-19. Travelers may now take advantage of significantly better last-minute or near-last-minute deals.

In 2020, the best time to schedule a flight is three weeks for domestic flights and five weeks for foreign flights,” according to. “Avoid reserving a flight within two weeks of the departure date, as costs will continue to rise as the departure date approaches. Keep in mind that, on average, flight rates are 11% lower in 2020 than in 2019, so there are lots of amazing discounts to most destinations.

However, for international travel in 2020, it is recommended that you book up to two weeks before your departure. Booking that late in advance of a pandemic would normally be prohibitively expensive.

When it comes to award travel, what should you do? This has also swung in favor of last-minute travel, which is fantastic news for foreign travel. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the epidemic, it’s that planning for the future may be futile. We don’t know how the airline sector will look a year from now, so there’s no use in booking award travel right now. In fact, due to the epidemic, there is less of a rush to book months in advance, making booking with points and miles more flexible. Between a few weeks and a few months seems to be the new sweet spot for reward travel.

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