The Best Time to Buy Plane Tickets for the Cheapest Flights

Are you traveling for spring break or planning a summer vacation? Or are you looking for flights to your dream destination? In either case, there are clever ways to circumvent them skyrocketing air fares and make travel cheaper. It starts long before you even get on that plane.

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The Google Flights team looked through five years of flight price data to find patterns in the cheapest days to fly and the best time to book your flights each season. Here are the cheapest days and times of the year to buy airline tickets.

When is the cheapest day to fly?

When looking to book a flight, you may be trying to find the cheapest option. According to Google, it is cheaper to fly in the middle of the week than at the weekend. Flights departing between Monday and Wednesday can be between 12% and 20% cheaper than weekend flights. Sundays are an expensive departure day, says Google.

You can also save about 20% by booking a flight with one stop instead of a non-stop flight if you don’t mind the extra time it takes to get to your destination.

Is there a specific day when you should buy your plane tickets?

You may have heard that it’s cheaper to book and pay for your plane tickets on a Tuesday than on a Saturday, but that’s not necessarily true. “There’s not much value in buying your tickets on a specific day of the week,” Google said.

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If you book flights between Tuesday and Thursday rather than at the weekend, prices have been just 1.9% cheaper on average over the past five years, the search engine giant said.

Airplane comes in for a landing in SFO

Look for flights that depart in the middle of the week.

James Martin/CNET

How far in advance should you book your flight?

It’s best to book your flight well in advance rather than waiting closer to your trip to avoid a possible price increase. Google says if you’re booking a domestic flight, prices are generally lowest between 21 and 60 days before travel. However, please note that this may not apply to your specific destination.

Google didn’t say how far in advance you should book an international flight.

The best time to book flights any time of the year

Here’s what Google says about the best time to book for upcoming holidays and vacation periods.

spring break: For domestic travel in March and April, prices were typically lowest between 23 and 59 days before departure and reached their lowest price after 38 days, according to Google.

summer vacation: The summer holidays are fast approaching, so it is ideal to start looking for flights now. For domestic trips beginning in July or August, prices were lower between 14 and 44 days before departure, with the lowest average prices being 21 days in advance.

Thanksgiving and Christmas: According to Google, the lowest fares around Thanksgiving were booked between 36 and 74 days in advance. At Christmas, start looking for flights 88 days in advance – lowest prices were 22 days before departure, but seats could sell out that close to departure.

Continue reading: After 500 flights, this travel expert shares his best savings secrets

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Use Google Flights to find out if you’re paying too much before you buy a plane ticket.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Other ways to find deals when using Google Flights

Compare airfares between today and the past few days to find out if you’re paying too much or getting the lowest price, Google advises. Simply search for your destination to see today’s price compared to the last 12 months for similar flights. Some searches also show whether the price is likely to change in the future.

Enable Google Flights price tracking. To do this, switch on track prices and enter your travel dates. Google will email you when prices change for those selected dates. If you don’t have a specific travel week planned, you can choose Any dates to receive an alert when the price of flights departing in the next three to six months goes down.

You can find more Google tips here Eight Google travel tips we found. Also here are three Google Maps features You will want to try it.

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