When in the best time to book your flights?

How does a saving of 20% or more sound?Alas, we can no longer rely on ‘Cheap Tuesday’ to put the cheapest petrol in our cars, but we can save money on both domestic and international flights by being clever about when we fly, when we book, and how we book.

Last year, Skyscanner analysed three years of Australian price data for over 250 million flights to give us the ultimate insider guide to cheap flights. Here’s the low down…

When to fly

Unsurprisingly December is the most expensive month to travel, typically costing an extra 20%. What you may not know is that November is the cheapest month with an average saving of 12%, so if you can squeeze your trip in early, you could save 30% or more.

When to book

How far ahead you book can also make a huge difference. Overall the best time to book is 17 weeks before your trip, but the ideal advance booking period is anything from 4 weeks to 30 weeks depending on your destination.


Here’s the detail for DOMESTIC flights

Route

Advance booking

Average Saving

Sydney/Melbourne

4 weeks

25%

Melbourne/Perth

15 weeks

17%

Sydney/Brisbane

11 weeks

16%

Sydney/Perth

12 weeks

14%

Melbourne/Brisbane

5 weeks

13%


…and for our top ten INTERNATIONAL destinations

Destination

Advance booking

Average Saving

US

28 weeks

23%

China

30 weeks

18%

Japan

21 weeks

12%

Singapore

11 weeks

9%

Malaysia

10 weeks

8%

India

18 weeks

8%

NZ

6 weeks

6%

Indonesia

12 weeks

6%

UK

15 weeks

5%

Thailand

20 weeks

5%

How to book

Airfares are also affected by the day of the week (and month) and the time of day, so if you’re able to be flexible about when you fly, you can save even more.

If all this seems like a lot of work, then think about using an airfare comparison website to show you prices across a range of airlines and dates. Most comparison sites offer airfare price alerts too, so you can set up your trip details then sit back and wait for the deals to be sent to you.

Having found the best flight, consider making the actual booking direct with the airline. The biggest drawback with booking ahead is the lack of flexibility. Cheap flight deals often prohibit or limit your ability to change your flight if circumstances change, so remember to check the T&Cs! By booking direct, you may be able to secure more flexibility, even if it means paying a little more.