Friday, August 19, 2016

Best time to book a flight

Today we have a guest post from , a website that aims to help young adults choose financial products wisely (good advice for any age, really).
The price of a particular plane ticket will vary wildly depending on the day of the week, the month of the year, and the length of time between purchase and takeoff. When you buy your plane ticket can affect the cost.

Plane tickets can be a major expense for any getaway, often costing more than your hotel accommodations and excursions combined. Still, you can find great deals and the best rates if you plan ahead.
When to fly

In general, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays tend to be the least popular days to fly, so tickets are often less expensive. Fridays and Sundays are the most desirable days, so they will be pricier.
Be flexible: Get the lowest rates by opting for flights other people don’t want. Six a.m. departures, overnight flights, or trips with a layover can get you significant savings.

Stretch your reach: Instead of flying out of the smaller airport near your home, try looking for flights at a central hub that may be further away. Major international airports often have more options and more competitive rates. If you have multiple major airports within a two hours’ drive from you, check out fares from each location. Flights can be hundreds less just one city over.
Plan ahead. Last minute trips are exciting, but you’ll pay a premium for your spontaneity. If you book a flight less than two weeks in advance, airlines assume you’re a business traveler with a company footing the bill and charge higher rates.

Avoid holidays: Flights around the holidays tend to be the most expensive; the average domestic airfare around Thanksgiving is a staggering $408 while Christmas flights average $485. If you’re planning to travel, try to leave a few days early or on the holiday itself for lower rates.
When to buy

Be alert: Set up airline fare alerts with apps like FareCompare—you’ll get text or email notifications letting you know when prices drop or a sale is announced, giving you the opportunity to snag limited deals.

Use tools wisely: AirFareWatchDog provides advice on getting the lowest rate at your chosen destination, from telling you what airlines have sales to that particular location as well as which carriers charge baggage fees. Kayak’s Hacker tool helps locate one-way flights for every part of your journey that are cheaper than booking a round-trip flight yourself.

Time it right: According to FareCompare, the best time to book your tickets is on Tuesdays, ideally early in the morning. Many airlines launch sales late Monday night, so new fares will be available and other carriers drop their rates to match the competition.
Book early (but not too early): You might think booking in advance will get you the best prices. But that’s not always the case. Prices can fluctuate over time, so a fare bought months in advance might be more expensive than if you waited until closer to your departure date. Last year, a study was done that analyzed over 4 million trips to record the lowest airfares and when the tickets were purchased; they found that booking a flight 47 days in advance was the ideal time to get the lowest rates.

Check your flight: Before buying your tickets, check out how full the flight is. If you’re flying out at an unusual time and there are plenty of seats open, prices may drop to attract more customers.
Where to shop

Look around: It’s good to be loyal, but compare rates. No single airline has the best prices all the time. One airline might be cheaper on the way to your destination and another on the way back. Research multiple airlines for every leg of your trip to save money. Sometimes two one-way tickets may be cheaper than round trip.
Check around: Besides looking up rates with the airline directly, also view sites like Kayak or Priceline. They sometimes can find deals you wouldn’t otherwise find on your own.


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