Itching for a vacation? This might just be the best time ever to take one. In partnership with Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), Expedia, Inc. recently released its worldwide study of air travel trends, and (spoiler alert) things are looking good for your wallet. That said, when you book and travel can affect the cost considerably. Here’s what you need to know:
When to book for cheapest flights
One particularly useful piece of their data was the best day to buy airline tickets. You might have heard Tuesday was the official ticket-buying day, but not anymore. Since more business travelers are booking their flights during the week, the best day to buy those tickets to Miami is Sunday.
“We saw that flights booked during the weekend yielded a savings of about 20 percent or more, and Sunday has emerged as the optimal day to book flights for the last two years,” says Christie Hudson, senior communications manager for Expedia North America.
To save even more money, try to book on a Sunday that’s more than 21 days in advance of your trip, the report also suggests. (We’ll wait for you to mark your calendars accordingly.)
“It’s almost never the case that airfare gets cheaper as the day of your travel gets closer,” Hudson says. “Our data suggests you’re going to want to book at least 30 days out to avoid those last-minute premiums.”
So what days should you avoid arranging your flights? The most expensive tickets tend to be booked on Thursdays and Fridays, according to the report. Here are more secrets to getting the best airfare possible.
Is the Tuesday theory ever true?
Lots of factors go into airfares, including the popularity of the destination and the time of year. The idea that Tuesday was the best day to buy airline tickets your flights is thought to date back to the days when airlines would load in their new fares on Tuesdays.
“But that was a long time ago,” Hudson says. “Certainly for our data, it doesn’t hold any truth for the last couple of years.” Don’t miss these signs you’re paying too much for airfare.
When should you travel for the cheapest flights?
In addition to knowing the best day to buy airline tickets, you should avoid starting your vacation on a Sunday. Economy and premium fares are the lowest when you fly out on a Thursday or Friday. Choosing to fly on those days can save travelers around 10 percent, according to the report.
Another tip? If you start a trip mid-week, stay over Saturday night and fly out Sunday instead of Friday or Saturday night.
“A lot of business travel happens between Monday and Friday, so if you add a weekend day or two into your trip, you’ll probably see some savings,” Hudson says. The extra Saturday night could save you around 25 percent over a weekday-only return fare, according to the data. First, though, learn the 13 things you didn’t know about online travel sites.
Finally, consider Basic Economy. Most airlines now offer the less expensive, no-frills option that doesn’t include free checked bags or allow you to pick your seat. Just be aware that it might work better for you in certain situations over others.
“I sometimes book Basic Economy if I’m traveling alone and it’s a short flight and I’m just carrying on,” Hudson says. “But if it’s a longer haul flight or you’re traveling with your family and you want to make sure you sit together, it might not be the best option.”
So cozy up with a cup of coffee on a Sunday afternoon, and plan your next well-deserved getaway. Wherever you want to go, now’s the time to book—just make sure to avoid these vacation mistakes when you arrive at your destination.
Here’s another air travel secret: planes are forbidden from flying over these locales.