This Is When to Buy Flights for Every Holiday of the Year

If you want cheap plane tickets, you need this cheat sheet.

Airplanes on the early morning airport apronDushlik/Shutterstock

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:

HolidayDateWhen to BuyWeek to Book byGood Deal
Martin Luther King Jr. DayJanuary 214+ weeks aheadDecember 24, 2018$255
President’s DayFebruary 185+ weeks aheadJanuary 14$294
St. Patrick’s DayMarch 175+ weeks aheadFebruary 10$299
EasterApril 216+ weeks aheadMarch 10$326
Memorial DayMay 274+ weeks aheadApril 29$318
Fourth of JulyJuly 44+ weeks aheadJune 6$327
Labor DaySeptember 25+ weeks aheadJuly 29$270
Columbus DayOctober 144+ weeks aheadSeptember 16$269
ThanksgivingNovember 284+ weeks aheadOctober 31$321
ChristmasDecember 252+ months aheadOctober 30$323
New Year’s EveDecember 312+ months aheadNovember 5$350

Next, read up on 16 more travel secrets for getting the best airfare possible.

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.