If all you see outside your window is gray skies and even grayer snow, consider this your invitation to start dreaming about summer. Sure, your trip to the beach might feel eons away, but the time to start planning for it is now.
In fact, the best time to book a flight begins 70 days in advance if you’re flying within the continental U.S. — which, according to this reporter pulling up her iCal, puts us into the week after Memorial Day.
And booking anywhere from 121 to 21 days in advance of your travel date, on average, will get you within 5 percent of the lowest price. This comes from CheapAir.com’s 2018 Annual Airfare Study, which examined 917 million flights in more than 8,000 markets over a year.
It’s also important to note that the lowest fare for any one flight changed about 62 times during its lifespan on the market. The best day to book also fluctuates a little based on the season you’ll be flying. Here's the breakdown:
Summer: Buy that flight 47 days in advance. Some of the best prices can still be found at 14 days out — but with high supply and demand during summer months, you won’t want to wait too long. The difference between the best and worst priced days is $203.
Fall: Book 69 days out, or within 100 to 21 days before you travel. Thanksgiving is an exception — for the holiday weekend, you should try to book once you know your travel plans.
"Flying mid-week or over the weekend can save you an average of $76 per ticket."
Winter: Christmas, New Year’s and other holidays aside, winter has the shortest lead time to score a good deal — at 62 days in advance.
Spring: The window with the best prices is 90 days in advance, and the difference between the best and worst days can cost you $263.
One last thing: The data finds that the day of the week you book your flight doesn’t do much to sway the price in your favor. But you can save a decent chunk by flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and avoiding Sunday. Flying mid-week or over the weekend can save you an average of $76 per ticket. Now, get those vacation requests in!