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As many longtime travelers know, it’s generally a good idea to start planning your trips ahead of time. But there is such a thing as planning too far in advance, particularly when it comes to getting airline tickets. Some people buy their tickets early in hopes of saving money and, while this is often what happens, it’s also possible to purchase your tickets too early.
If you buy your tickets in advance, you can get really good deals on flights, but if you’re not sure what’s going on with your travel plans, then buying in advance can be a waste of money. It’s also possible to spend more money on airline tickets if you buy them too early.
Ways To Save Money on Airline Tickets
Knowing the right time to purchase airline tickets is a big part of saving money on your trip, but there are several other methods to cut costs the next time you travel. Here are just a few:
- Set up travel alerts. “I buy [airline tickets] and then set a Google alert for that same flight,” said Colleen Kelly, host at PBS Family Travel with Colleen Kelly. “If the price goes down, I can call the airline and they will refund the difference. I’ve done this numerous times. I also use the Hopper app and enter my details of when I would like to fly. This is helpful, especially if you have flexibility, to find the best deals on all different airlines.”
- Stay flexible. “Some of the best ways to save money on booking airline tickets are to be flexible with your travel dates and buy during flight sales,” Middlestadt said. Sometimes, all you need to do is change your departure date by a day or two or switch to a nearby airport to save some money.
- Check out several airlines. A lot of airlines compete with each other on pricing, but that doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best deal. Shop around among different airlines to see whether you can find a better deal.
- Consider alternative transportation. Flying might be your only option for an international trip or if you’re going from one side of the country to the other. But if you’re staying closer to home, or if you’re visiting an area with excellent rail or metro transportation, consider these potentially cheaper options instead.
Best Time To Book Domestic Flights
Good news procrastinators: Studies show that you don’t need to book flights that far out to get a good deal. The Expedia study found that the sweet spot is 28 to 35 days before departure while the Google study found prices bottomed out 44 days before departure. However, both studies agree that you don’t want to wait until the last minute. Book at least 21 days before departure.
What Is The Best Day To Buy Airline Tickets?
Historically, travelers have been advised to book flights on Tuesdays to get the best flight deal. And there was a time when this was true. A decade ago, airlines generally launched new sales on Tuesdays, and airlines were generally quick to match each other’s prices. This could lead to cheap flight deals on Tuesdays. That is if an airline launched a new sale. However, this advice no longer holds true. Airlines don’t just release sales on Tuesdays, and airlines don’t always match their competitors’ sales. Now, the advice on what is the best day of the week to buy airline tickets depends on which study you read. According to a recent study by Expedia, the cheapest day to book flights is Sunday. When comparing Sunday flight prices to Friday, Expedia found that travelers save 5% on domestic flights and 15% on international flights. For the past four years, Sunday has been the best day of the week to book flights.
Sources: The Best Day To Book Flights – Forbes Advisor; GOBankingRates | Personal Finance Site To Help You Find More Ways To Save Money And Make Money