Getting a great deal on a flight is one of the best wins you can get as a traveler.
If only there was a way to achieve this dopamine hit more regularly… well, there just might be.
The latest Airfare Study from CheapAir.com has analyzed almost one billion flight prices across 8,000 different markets on domestic flights in the United States.
The outcome of the study has revealed some pretty interesting trends that could help you grab yourself a bargain in the coming year.
Before we get into this, it goes without saying that there is no magic formula that guarantees you cheap airfare every single time – if there was, we’d all be doing it.
Airfares are a strange enigma and are subject to a huge range of variables that are ever-changing.
Studies like this simply work out some averages and give us some general rules that may be able to help us secure cheaper fares some of the time, sadly there are no guarantees.
Choose Your Day Wisely
It’s a much-talked-about thing in travel: does flying on a specific day of the week save you money?
The answer is yes but with a pretty big asterisk next to it.
CheapAir.com’s study found that Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly, saving you on average just over $100 per fare compared to flying on the day it found to be most expensive, which is Sunday.
Looking at the study in more detail shows that midweek days are generally cheaper than flying at the weekend, which is a trend I think most of us knew already – people are working during the week, so demand is lower.
However, as already mentioned, a huge number of variables can affect this trend, so don’t assume you’re guaranteed a great deal simply by booking on a Wednesday.
Consider The Season Carefully
Another interesting nugget from this study was that the season in which you travel can make a big difference to the airfare.
Summer is the most expensive, as you would expect, but close behind is fall, which is probably due to shoulder season travel becoming more popular.
Winter is the cheapest time to travel on domestic U.S. flights – up to $100 cheaper than in the summer on average.
However, it was also revealed that November is the most expensive month to travel (thanks Thanksgiving), with July not far behind.
The cheapest months, on average, are January and February.
Get The Timing Right
One of the most interesting and useful parts of this study is its examination of the best time to buy airline tickets for domestic flights.
The data for 2024, and for most previous years, shows that the sweet spot to get the cheapest fares is booking between 21 and 74 days before your trip.
However, there is also a long period between 75 and 205 days before travel, where cheap fares are also pretty common.
Strangely enough, this data showed that you may end up paying a little more if you book more than 205 days in advance.
Don’t Do Last-Minute
While it’s possible to get last-minute deals on flights, in general, it’s a bad idea to wait it out.
On average, this study found that you are likely to pay up to 59% more for your flight if you book it within six days of departure.
I’m kind of a last-minute planner myself, so this makes me want to get more organized.
The average airfare in the United States will change price 49 times between going on sale and the plane actually leaving the runway, according to this study.
That means that keen bargain hunters need to have their fingers on the buzzer, regularly checking the price of their intended flight to make sure they don’t miss an unexpected dip in price.
Again, this is a commonsense travel trip, but one that’s worth getting reacquainted with – being proactive can save you money, so set up those alerts and bookmark those booking websites.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.