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Best Time To Book Your Next International Flight: Tips and Strategies


happy traveler waiting for flight at airport, departure terminal, immigration concept.

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Whether you’re planning to country hop across Europe or embark on an African safari, there’s one important rule for any type of international travel – it pays to plan ahead. Around six months in advance is traditionally a good threshold to get the best deals, but for some places, like Asia and the Middle East, getting started around 10 months in advance is ideal, according to Travel + Leisure.

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This is especially true now that everyone wants to go abroad again. According to CNBC, 2023 will see a big rebound in international travel after the pandemic hampered many people’s travel plans over the past three years. According to Hopper, 62% of all searched flights with destination 2023 (as of December 2022) were international destinations.

To ensure you get the best deals, CheapAir.com has put together tips on ideal flight slots and important travel dates for 10 key destinations. To develop their suggestions, CheapAir.com scrutinized more than 917 million airfares from every continent. Here are her tips to save the most:

Canada

  • Flight booking schedule: Buy around 300 days in advance, but no less than 3.5 months before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Tuesdays (save up to $47 per ticket).
  • Best Travel Months: February and March (avoid July and December).
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Mexico

  • Flight Booking Schedule: Shop approximately 4.5 months in advance but no less than 1 month before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Wednesdays (save up to $95 per ticket).
  • Best Travel Months: February and September (avoid November and December).

The Caribbean

  • Flight Booking Schedule: Shop approximately 5 months in advance but no less than 1.5 months before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Tuesdays (save up to $79 per ticket).
  • Best Travel Months: January and February (avoid July and December).

Central America

  • Flight Booking Schedule: Shop approximately 5 months in advance but no less than 2 months before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Wednesdays (save up to $67 per ticket).
  • Best Travel Months: February and May (avoid November and December).

South America

  • Flight booking schedule: Shop approximately 4.5 months in advance, but no less than 1.5 months before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Tuesdays (save up to $75 per ticket).
  • Best months to travel: February, March and May (avoid July and December).

Europe

  • Flight Booking Schedule: Shop approximately 6.5 months in advance but no less than 1 month before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Tuesdays (save up to $121 per ticket).
  • Best travel months: February and March (avoid June-August).

Africa

  • Flight Booking Schedule: Shop approximately 10 months in advance but no less than 2 months before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Tuesdays (save up to $90 per ticket).
  • Best Travel Months: February and March (avoid July and December).

Oceania/South Pacific

  • Flight Booking Schedule: Shop approximately 10 months in advance, but no less than 1.5 months before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Tuesdays (save up to $141 per ticket).
  • Best Months to Travel: October and November (Avoid December and January).

Asia

  • Flight Booking Schedule: Shop approximately 10 months in advance, but no less than 4.5 months before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Wednesdays (save up to $286 per ticket).
  • Best Travel Months: February and March (avoid July and December).

middle East

  • Flight Booking Schedule: Shop approximately 10 months in advance but no less than 2 months before travel.
  • Best day of the week to fly: Tuesdays (save up to $96 per ticket).
  • Best Travel Months: February and March (avoid July and December).

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Experts from sites like Thrifty Traveler also offer some additional tips for finding the best international deals:

  1. Set up an airfare tracker. Google Flights is a great option that allows you to set an alert for the exact travel dates and destination/arrival ports. The app can continually monitor how prices are tracking to let you know when to buy.
  2. Search for flights, not dates. Select the “My dates are flexible” option when searching for airfares and you’ll see which are the best deals.
  3. Travel on Tuesday or Wednesday. As you can see above, choosing to travel these two days of the week can often (but not always) save you hundreds of dollars per plane ticket.
  4. Avoid the holidays and summer. Airlines know everyone wants to travel during the summer and winter breaks, so they raise prices. Instead, choose off-seasons like spring and fall to take advantage of savings.
  5. Book one-way trips. If you can’t find the ideal round-trip flight option with one airline, consider booking two one-way flights and explore other airlines to find more competitive deals.
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