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What Are the Cheapest Days to Fly?

February 18, 2020 · 5 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

What Are the Cheapest Days to Fly?

Setting off into the sunset on your well-earned vacation is glorious. Maybe there are leisurely beach days, envy-worthy wine tastings, and five-star dinners filled with decadence.

Or maybe you prefer a more laid-back approach, spending days hiking and adventuring outdoors. Whatever your dream vacation involves, there’s one thing that can drag down the jubilation—overpaying for airfare.

Transportation costs typically account for 44% of vacation spending for American families, according to ValuePenguin , based on analysis of recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With transportation taking up such a large chunk of travel funds, it’s no wonder people spend time combing the internet for the latest airfare deals.

One thing that could make future booking even easier is knowing what is the cheapest day to fly. Thankfully, CheapAir has done some of the research to simplify your booking process. Their 2019 Airfare Study digs into the nitty gritty of determining the cheapest days to fly.

When Are the Cheapest Days of the Week to Fly?

If you’re planning a trip, consider booking your travel for midweek. On average it’s $85 cheaper to fly on a Tuesday than on a Sunday, which, according to CheapAir’s research, is the most expensive day of the week to fly. You may be able to find decent airfare deals on Wednesdays, too.

When Are the Cheapest Days to Book Flights?

When booking a flight, some sites suggest that certain days may be better than others. While CheapAir.com found a negligible difference when it came to booking on different days of the week, the 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook published by both Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation suggests otherwise.

According to their research, booking over the weekend garners the best deals. For some, booking on a Sunday could save between 20% to 36%.

Booking in Advance: How Far is too Far?

If you can’t plan your travel based on those specific days of the week, CheapAir has determined booking windows to help guide you toward the best deal. The “prime booking window,” according to CheapAir, is anywhere between four months and three weeks prior to your estimated departure date.

This is when buyers can expect to find the best deals on flights as fares within this time frame are typically within 5% of their lowest price point. Expedia & ARC’s Travel Outlook also suggest booking at least three weeks in advance, as average ticket prices tend to climb as the departure date gets closer.

Seasonal Factors May Impact Pricing

Each season brings not only variety in weather, but also in airfare pricing, according to CheapAir’s study. Demand in different locations changes based on the season and some travel holidays can increase the cost of buying a plane ticket.

When planning winter travel, on average it’s best to book your flight 70 days in advance. Traveling during the week of Christmas can be pricey, as can taking a trip to popular ski destinations. Winter is usually the most expensive time to travel within the United States, with the average airfare coming in at $433.

The best day to book spring travel is 84 days before your trip. March and April travel may be pricier, as college students and families travel for spring break. The average domestic airfare in the spring is $354.

Peak summer travel dates are June 15 through Aug. 15. CheapAir recommends booking 99 days in advance for summer travel and notes you may have a better chance of scoring a deal if you book for later in the season. Domestic summer fights average $365.

Fall can be one of the best seasons for travelers looking to find a good deal on airfare, barring Thanksgiving week when prices skyrocket (so you may want to book any Turkey Day travel early). For the best fall travel deals, consider booking 69 days in advance. The average price for a domestic flight in the fall is $342.

Your desired destination can also impact the price of airfare and the best time to buy. For example, Hawaii is an in-demand tourist destination virtually year round, making it an outlier for the listed booking estimates. When booking travel for this destination keep a close eye on prices and plan to book about two to four months in advance.

Finding Flight Deals

Even with all of these guidelines and tricks of the trade finding a good flight deal can take a bit of legwork. And then there are instances in which the rules frankly don’t apply and you score a killer flight deal on a Thursday, or outside of the said prime booking window.

Here are some of SoFi’s tried and true tips for finding great flight deals so you don’t bust your budget before your trip even takes off.

Travel Apps

These days, there really is a travel app for everything. If you are an airline loyalist, sign up for price alerts with your preferred airline. If you’re flexible, apps like Hopper will send you price updates and fare alerts for your flights after you input your destination and travel dates.

Subscribing to Fare Newsletters

Subscribing to fare newsletters could help you find a deal, with a little less effort. Websites like NextVacay will send you fare deals for your preferred destinations. At TravelZoo you can opt in to receive an email roundup with deals on flights, vacation packages, cruises, and more.

Flexibility

Having flexible travel dates could help you find a deal. Being able to adjust your flight by a couple of days could be the difference between paying for a peak travel price or saving some bucks.

Instead of committing to a specific destination, do a bit of browsing to see if there are any places you haven’t considered that might have more reasonable airfare. With Kayak Explore , you can input your departure airport and travel dates to see what flight deals might be available that fit your budget.

Traveling in the Shoulder Season

This is travel lingo for off-season. Shoulder season will vary based on destination, so do your research to determine when that is for where you want to travel.

For example, for European locales, shoulder season is typically fall and spring. In addition to cheaper flights, you could also find better deals on hotels and get to experience the touristy hot spots without fighting peak-season crowds.

Layovers

Layovers can mean longer travel times, but they may also mean a better flight deal. And if you have a particularly long layover, you could have enough time to pop into town to explore another city while you are in transit.

Travel with SoFi Money®

Booking airfare for your next great escape is just one piece of the vacation jigsaw. Lodging, excursions, food, and more will all factor into your travel budget. Having an account that allows you to access your travel fund anywhere in the world can give you some peace of mind as you hop on your next flight.

As you financially prepare for your next trip, you may want to consider SoFi Money®. With SoFi Money®, there are no account fees, including foreign transaction fees, so you can spend your money on the important things in life, like your next solo trip or family vacation.

Already found your next flight deal? Learn more about how SoFi Money is the perfect financial travel partner.


External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.

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