The Best time to buy a plane ticket


If you’re a regular traveler, then you probably already know that buying a plane ticket is an art form. It requires perfect timing, steadfast patience, and help from at least a few discount airfare websites. Although buying a plane ticket isn’t an exact science, there is some rhyme and reason to the process. For instance, when you purchase a ticket can have a big impact on price, both in terms of how far it is from your travel date and even the day of the week that you click “purchase.” Follow these tips to snag the lowest price on your plane ticket:

  • General rule of thumb: one to four months ahead of take off – Many discount airfare websites conduct yearly studies on the best time to buy and, for the most part, they agree on a loose window. You should look to purchase your plane ticket starting four months before your trip and no later than one month before you’ll head to the airport. Keep in mind, however, that this window changes a little bit depending on whether you’re flying domestically or internationally.
  • International: six weeks and five and a half months – If you’ll be leaving the country, then you want to start shopping a little bit earlier. Begin the hunt at five and a half months before you’ll take flight. Keep checking out prices until six weeks before your adventure. Don’t feel like you have to wait for the very biggest discount, either. When you see a good deal, snag it. A few dollars isn’t going to make much a difference when you’re spending a couple hundred on a ticket, and waiting could mean that you miss a deal altogether.
  • Domestic: 30 days and three months (47 days is the sweet spot) – When you’re flying within the country, you don’t need to spend quite as much time seeking out the cheapest ticket. If you begin looking for a flight three months ahead of time, you’ll certainly come across a discount or deal at some point. When you’re 30 days out, pull the trigger. Prices aren’t going to get any lower. The myth that you should wait for last-minute deals is just that, a myth. According to CheapAir, 47 days in advance is really the sweet spot.
  • Try a Tuesday – No matter how far out you are from your trip, experts generally agree that buying on a Tuesday is your best bet. Airlines tend to roll out deals on Monday nights, which means their competitors move in to match them on Tuesdays. This trick might not work every single time, but Tuesdays are a good place to start the search for your plane ticket.
  • Consider your destination – Depending on where you’ll be flying, waiting until the last minute to buy a plane ticket might actually work. We know, this airfare game is confusing—but it’ll all be worth it when you snag a ticket for $100 less than expected. Destinations like Hawaii and Mexico, for instance, don’t typically offer bigger discounts when you book more than three weeks ahead, so it won’t make much of a difference if you book last-minute. Locales like Atlanta and New York, however, are much cheaper to get to when you book at least three weeks out, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on Kayak and Expedia well in advance if you’re traveling to either.

When to buy airline tickets—Based on 1.5 Billion Airfares [CheapAir]

Here’s the best time to buy airline tickets in 2015 [Quartz]

Cheapest Days to Fly and Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets [Fare Compare]

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