When you have that rare day off of work, you probably want to take advantage. Public holidays are the perfect time to enjoy a long weekend (or even a full vacation!) out of town, but unfortunately, you’re not the only one with that idea. Airlines hike their prices up as demand increases, so you’ll want to aim for the cheapest price possible.
There’s a science to figuring out the best time to buy. Get tickets too far in advance and airlines won’t have competitive prices yet, plus you risk losing money if your travel plans change, but wait too long to buy and you could be stuck with sky-high ticket prices.
Travel app Hopper pays close attention to the ups and downs of airfare and predicts price hikes before they happen. The company’s data team even used past data and current ticket prices to put together a handy dandy cheat sheet of “deadlines” to buy 2019 holiday plane tickets. You won’t be able to entirely avoid more expensive tickets for popular getaway dates like the Fourth of July, but you can keep the cost to a minimum. Just watch out for these signs you’re paying too much for airfare.
For any trip over a holiday—including long weekends like Memorial Day and Columbus Day—you’ll want to book at least four weeks ahead of time. But sometimes, the prime buying time comes even further ahead. Easter falls on April 21 this year, and you’ll want to book your flight six-plus weeks in advance, by March 10, according to Hopper’s data. For Christmas and New Year’s Eve getaways, demand is even higher, so you don’t have as much time to lock down travel plans for (relatively) cheap. You should book at least two months before leaving, which means you might want to figure out your Christmas plans even before buying Thanksgiving tickets. Don’t miss these 13 things you didn’t know about online travel booking sites.
Take a look at Hopper’s cheat sheet to find out when to buy your plane tickets for any holiday in 2019 and what you can expect from a round-trip early-bird domestic flight:
|Holiday||Date||When to Buy||Week to Book by||Good Deal|
|Martin Luther King Jr. Day||January 21||4+ weeks ahead||December 24, 2018||$255|
|President’s Day||February 18||5+ weeks ahead||January 14||$294|
|St. Patrick’s Day||March 17||5+ weeks ahead||February 10||$299|
|Easter||April 21||6+ weeks ahead||March 10||$326|
|Memorial Day||May 27||4+ weeks ahead||April 29||$318|
|Fourth of July||July 4||4+ weeks ahead||June 6||$327|
|Labor Day||September 2||5+ weeks ahead||July 29||$270|
|Columbus Day||October 14||4+ weeks ahead||September 16||$269|
|Thanksgiving||November 28||4+ weeks ahead||October 31||$321|
|Christmas||December 25||2+ months ahead||October 30||$323|
|New Year’s Eve||December 31||2+ months ahead||November 5||$350|
Next, read up on 16 more travel secrets for getting the best airfare possible.