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The Best Day to Book Flights for Your Next Getaway

Here are the tips and tricks for saving money on airline tickets.

There's a lot of stress involved with planning a trip, and that starts right at the beginning of the process as you're thinking about what day you should click purchase for your ticket. So, when is the best day to book flights?

Flights are historically expensive right now, thanks to a range of factors, including pilot shortages, expensive jet fuel, and an increase in demand. So it makes sense that travelers are looking for all sorts of ways to save on plane fares.

We spoke to six travel experts about the best day and time to book a flight. They gave us tips on flight deals and how to save when traveling by air.

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The Best Time to Book a Flight

Best day to book a flight

Domestic Flights

Best day of the week to buy airline tickets

Most travel experts agree that there's no time that's better than another when it comes to purchasing the tickets, but when you're planning what day to take off, there are a few days that will have cheaper airfare than others.

"The cheapest days of the week to fly are usually Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, as most business travel takes place on Monday and Friday," says Mercedes Zach, a travel expert at ASAP Tickets.

Fiala says that the best day of the week to travel essentially boils down to supply and demand. Because most business travelers are flying on Mondays and Fridays, that leads to higher costs when you want to book tickets on those days. As fewer people fly out during the middle of the week, the cheapest airfare will be available on those days.

"Flights tend to be cheaper on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, not when they're bought on a Tuesday, but flying out on a Tuesday," Fiala says. "Weekend days tend to be more expensive because the majority of people opt to fly somewhere on Fridays and Saturdays. So in essence, it's supply and demand."

Best time of day to buy airline tickets

There's no time that's better than any other for purchasing tickets, but there are better times to find cheap airline tickets, especially if you're an early bird.

Flights that take off at 9 a.m. or earlier tend to have cheaper fares, on average, according to The Points Guy. The earliest flights of the day, those that leave before 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., are approximately 15 percent cheaper than those that leave throughout the rest of the day.

"You can also usually save money on flights by booking ones that are either late at night or early in the morning," says Nathan Russo, director of operations at Florida Panhandle. "Peak travel times during the day are always going to be a little more expensive, so going for uncommon hours can help your wallet."

International Flights

Best day of the week to buy airline tickets

Just like domestic flights, experts say that there's no overall best day to book flights, it might be good to search for cheap deals on these days. Joel Speyers, the co-founder of Prep4Travel, says that these deals typically get launched on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

"Airlines frequently launch sales and promotional offers on specific days of the week, often on Tuesdays or Wednesdays," Speyers says. "Monitoring airline websites, signing up for newsletters, and following them on social media can help you stay informed about these deals."

Similarly to domestic flights, the cheapest days to take an international flight are typically during the middle of the week, on a Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Speyers.

"A midweek departure and return statistically are cheapest," Speyers says. "Flying on weekdays, particularly Tuesdays and Wednesdays, tends to offer better deals compared to weekends. This is because fewer people tend to travel on these days, resulting in lower demand and potentially lower prices."

Best time of day to buy airline tickets

There's no best time of the day to look at international airline ticket prices, and there's no specific time in which travelers can find the best deals. But there are better times of the day to take a flight, and that all depends upon where the flight's destination is.

Destination is the most important factor when choosing a time to fly internationally. Due to differences in time zones, many flights from the United States to Europe will leave later in the day, or during the night, so the plane can fly through the night and arrive at the destination in the morning. While you're likely to be jetlagged, you won't have to land in a foreign country in the middle of the night.

There are only a few destinations in Europe where passengers can book a daytime flight, according to Simple Flying, all of which leave from the East Coast or Chicago, including London, Istanbul, and Reykjavik. Similarly, West Coast flights leaving for Asia or Australia will also depart later in the evening.

For international destinations that are close to the United States, like Canada, Mexico, or countries in the Caribbean, there are flights that leave at all times of day. In those cases, it's best to follow Russo's advice to find the cheapest airfare: book flights that leave either very early in the morning or late at night.

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Why do people believe there's a best day to book a flight?

Cheap flights

For years, there's been a myth about airline booking: that there's a magic day when flights are typically cheaper. But, unfortunately, for hopeful bargain hunters, that's not true.

"There are no best days to book flights," says travel consultant Kelie Fiala at Vacations Planned. "Ever since online booking has really come into play, airlines have adopted dynamic pricing that changes regularly based on algorithms and purchase trends. Because of technology, these changes can be made almost immediately."

In the internet's early days, airlines would manually update their prices on the same day each week, according to travel site Going, leading some to believe that the day the prices were updated was the cheapest day to buy plane tickets. While some prices would be lower on those days, that wasn't the case for every flight and led travelers to incorrectly assume that the only possibility of obtaining a cheap ticket would be on the day the prices were updated.

Now, these changes happen almost instantaneously through algorithms, and travelers should regularly be on the lookout for travel deals that can pop up any day of the week. Still, there are tips and tricks travelers can keep in mind for booking cheaper flights.

Other Factors Affecting Flight Prices

In early 2022, flight prices hit a record high, and while they have gone down a bit in the past year, they're still relatively steep. That's due to a number of factors, including a spike in jet fuel costs.

"One of the main reasons linked directly to the increased airfare fees is of course the fuel price that has gone up by 20 percent to 35 percent," Zach says.

Another reason that airfare prices seem to be higher is because demand has drastically increased in the past few years. Since many countries dropped COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2021 and 2022, travel has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels in many places, according to the World Economic Forum. With an increased demand for travel, flight prices are bound to increase.

While there is an increased demand for travel, there are fewer crews to work on airlines. The travel industry was one of the hardest hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, with most travel coming to a complete standstill. Throughout the pandemic, airlines in the United States lost more than 400,000 employees, according to Forbes. The staff shortage has contributed to airlines canceling and delaying thousands of flights and has also contributed to more expensive flight prices because there are fewer routes.

What Tools Are Available to Help Me Find Cheap Flights?

The most convenient way to know if you're purchasing a cheap flight is by comparing it to other flights on different airlines. There are a few websites that can easily compare flights on the same day, like Kayak or Google Flights, which not only show the price of different flights on a particular day, but also tell you if they believe the price will increase or decrease over time.

"There are many tools to help you find cheap flights," says Hans Mast, a travel expert at Golden Rule Travel. "Websites like Skyscanner, Finty, Google Flights, and Kayak allow you to compare prices across various airlines. Hopper is a mobile app that predicts flight prices with 95 percent accuracy up to one year in advance."


Best day to book a flight
Eva Darron/Unsplash

How far in advance should you book airline tickets?

When it comes to booking travel, the amount of time you should give yourself when booking a ticket differs based on whether you're intending to fly domestically or internationally. When you're booking a domestic trip, Speyers recommends booking six to eight weeks in advance of flying.

He says that booking too far in advance, more than six months before a trip, or too close to a flight, within two weeks of departing, can result in higher fares. For international flights, the time is even longer because more planning is required for the trip.

"It's often advised to book international flights around three to six months in advance, especially for popular destinations or peak travel seasons," Speyers says. "However, keep an eye on fare trends and consider booking during airline sales or when special deals are available."

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When is the best time of day to travel?

It's said that the early bird gets the worm, but that's not all. The early bird also gets the best flight deals of the day, according to Ashley Les, a luxury travel agent. The travel agent recommends the first flight of the day that's going to your destination as the best time to travel.

"I always suggest traveling on the first flight of the day as it's less likely for a flight to be delayed as the aircraft is normally already there at the airport," Les says.

When is the worst time to fly?

The worst time to fly is dependent on your destination, as time zones in the destination and flight times should be taken into consideration. But, for the most part, Les says that the worst time to fly is late at night, or the last flight of the day to your destination.

"I don't suggest flying on the last flight of the day to your destination in case of unexpected delays or cancellations," Les says.

If you've booked the last flight of the day and there are any cancellations, there are no other options for travel until the following day, leaving you either stranded at an airport or missing a day of your planned trip.



Although flights are pretty expensive right now, it's still possible to find cheap flights, if you're flexible with your time and open to searching online for the best travel deals.

"You can explore less traditional travel combinations to save money," Zach says. "If a direct flight is too expensive, look into connecting flights. Where possible, check out pricing for flights to secondary airports. If it means traveling more efficiently, don't be afraid to book open-jaw tickets. You may even combine multiple airlines or different modes of transportation."

The bottom line: There is no best day to book flights. But, while you can purchase your tickets at any time, it helps if you can fly out on an early flight in the middle of the week to domestic destinations. And look to book your flight three to six months in advance.

Erin Yarnall
Erin Yarnall is a freelance reporter from the Chicago area. Read more
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