With every travel idea, the first question that pops in your head is, ‘How much would the tickets cost?’
Whether you are heading for a business trip to the States, a summer vacation to bask in the Asian sun or a family visit to the European countryside, air tickets are the greatest budget-benders for every traveler. So to maximize the utility of your sojourn, minimizing the costs becomes absolutely inevitable.
More often than not, people try to take inspiration and advice from acquainted travelers. Swapping theories on the appropriate time to book reasonable air tickets is more or less a ritual in our lives. But none of these ‘experienced’ nomads would give you one universal opinion on this issue. Ultimately, you are even more confused!
Airfares fluctuate so often that all your travel plans come down to dust in a few minutes! But today, plenteous websites are charting the pattern of air tickets throughout the year, so as to help you get the bang for your buck. You can get so much aid from the Internet that booking cheaper tickets will finally be a matter of skill than luck.
So let’s begin with the basics and try to find out the best time to buy airline tickets:
Airfare watchdog is pretty simple and amazing in how it works to find you cheap airline tickets.
All you do is search flight you want. Once you have your flight, sign up for airfare alerts. Airfare watchdog will send you an email if/when the price of the flight is decreased. It’s really as simple as that. So you don’t have to constantly search for flights.
Cheap Air is a popular ‘airfare shopping engine’ that helps you buy the cheapest tickets on the basis of past records and data. After a great deal of mindboggling analysis, this website has divided the various time zones for accurate travel planning. So here goes:
FirstDibs: Talking about the extreme planners who have some sort of Obssessive Compulsive Disorder w.r.t planning and organizing (Like Monika in Friends), this zone caters to bookings made 335-197 days from the day of departure. This category of travelers strictly believes in ‘Sooner the Better’ theorem and book a ticket as soon as the idea of a vacation pops in their head. Ultimately, they may end up paying $50 more from the best rates.
Peace of Mind: These are the slightly less-obsessed ones. People who book their tickets 196-113 days prior to the departure date fall in this category. Although the flight options are better around this time, but they may actually be paying $20 more than the optimal prices.
Prime Booking Window: This is the perfect time to plan your travel. This three month long span falls between 112-21 days from the departure date. Hence, you have enough time to look for options. Now don’t think that prices remain lowest throughout this session. Airfares may change every day, every hour. You just need to keep an eye on them and click ‘Book’ whenever you see a price too low to believe!
Push Your Luck: Now this one’s a tough play. Trying to get a good deal 20-14 days from the date of departure sounds stupid, but you might get lucky. Alternatively, you could end up eyeing your ideal flight being sold out! Nevertheless, if it’s an urgent travel, you’d have to pay a few bucks extra.
Hail Mary: Ok. You love to live on the edge and be spontaneous. Well you’ve got to be stinking rich for that! If you are planning your travel 13-0 days before departure, then getting a good price is next to impossible. In fact, this zone is the most extravagant as you could end up losing $75-$200 more than the Prime Booking Window.
What are the ideal Days of the Week to buy Airline Tickets?
You must have heard Tuesday to be the ideal day to book airline tickets, that too post 3pm. Well this is because airlines often announce their deals and discounts on Monday evenings. So by the next day afternoon, other airlines gear up to match the competition. Hence, the odds of getting great deals raise manifold on Tuesday afternoons.
Alternatively, CBS News suggests that the deal which didn’t get cleaned up on Tuesdays can be snagged up on Wednesdays, before 1 am.
Surprisingly a survey held by the Texas University A&M claimed Weekends to offer the best airfares, saving almost 5% of the ticket fare to your pocket. They justified it by further adding that airlines tend to attract leisure travelers on Saturdays and Sundays, as that’s when people find the time to plan. With busy weekdays, people are left with weekends to make arrangements.
An even newer study by the Wall Street Journal states that an average of $60 can be saved per ticket, if the bookings are made on Sundays instead of Tuesdays. It also claimed a rise in airfare on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
What are the ideal Days of the Week to fly?
Most of the surveys suggest that Tuesdays are the most reasonable to fly. You will find very few people flying on Tuesday, so your odds of getting better deals increase a lot. Parallel to this, Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive to plan a travel.
Even the time of the flight matters a lot. No one wishes to book a flight for 3 am. But you will be amazed at the cost differences. So if you can jeopardize your sleep for a few hours and save a few bucks instead, it won’t be a bad idea after all!
In fact, flights that coincide with the standard lunch and dinner time may cost lesser than usual.
Which are the Best Sites to help you choose Cheap Airline Tickets?
If you are not up for long hours of Internet searching to save a few bucks, try one of these amazing websites that would do the job for you.
To begin with, there is Google Flights. It allows you to pick your starting point and final destination. It then filters flights by length, date and price.
Then Kayak is another very popular website to help you find the cheapest flights. Using it is a breeze! You can have a thorough idea of How to use Kayak to find the perfect flight for you.
There are websites that help you get a refund even after you have already purchased the ticket. Yapta is one such site that keeps a watch on the prices for you. So if they fall below a certain limit, you can get a refund of the difference.
Saving money is a good thing but make sure you don’t go overboard in a battle to save just a few bucks. In the end, your vacation is supposed to be relaxing. Just try to avoid last minute rushes while planning. Try Washington Post for more travel advice. Safe Travels!