There are some things I’m very happy to spend money on when I travel, and other things I’d really rather save my pennies on.
In my book, cheap airfares mean more money for a special treat at my destination. It could be a special tour, an amazing dinner, a spa treatment or few champagne moments in a beautiful bar as I watch the sun go down.
While it’s fairly well known that the most expensive day to buy a flight is the on the actual day you want to travel, there are a few theories on when it’s the best time to find cheap airfares.
And I’ll have to confess that if you asked me before I wouldn’t have guessed 56 days before departure.
But apparently that’s the case.
According to Momondo’s Annual Flight Study, which takes into account 13 billion fares across their search engine’s top 100 routes, you can save up to 28% if you book 56 days before take off.
And just as I was about to get out my diary and do some counting backwards from a possible departure date in August, I discovered they have a 56 day calculator which lets you put in your potential holiday date, and then not only tells you how long it is before you should book, it also lets you set a reminder for the time.
Of course that’s all well and good if you’re planning a trip later in the year, but their study also reveals a few other tips for saving money on flights.
The Best Day and Time for Cheap Airfares
It turns out Tuesday is the cheapest day to fly, with savings of up to 11%, while not surprisingly Saturday is the most expensive.
The other upside of flying home on a Tuesday? If you have a Monday to Friday style job, that’s a nice short week as you try to cope with being back at work.
And if you’re happy to fly in the evening, that’s another way to save a few dollars, as flights between sunset and sunrise are about 5% cheaper than day flights.
Of course there are no guarantees when it comes to what prices may do, so if I’m planning a trip but am not at the Lock It In stage I always like to set a Fare Alert for my potential flights.
That way I’ll know if prices are starting to go up, or better yet, if there’s a sale on for the time and place I want to go.
Momondo is free to use, and their Fare Alerts include a weekly summary of every price change, along with notifications up to two times a week if there’s a noticeable change in the price.
Saving Money at Your Destination
While I have a very, very long list of places I want to go in the world, I also love the digital bargain hunting equivalent of spinning a globe and putting your finger on it, the Take Me Anywhere option.
If you’re not sure where you want to go but know when you could get holiday days, you can just put in your closest airport and dates and let Momondo’s search engine tell you where the cheapest flights are headed for that time.
If you are searching on a particular city, say looking for cheap airfares to Perth, they also have hints on the cheapest and most expensive months to fly there, as well as tips to help prepare you for what’s ahead, such as the way restaurant meals in Perth cost 25% more than Sydney. Meanwhile a search on flights to New York explains the different airports you could fly into, along with other city tips.
The site also compares prices on hotels and car hire to help you plan for what happens after you land.
Oh yes, with a little forward planning you can save a pretty penny or two on your holiday. And have a whole lot of fun spending it in much better ways.
This post has been brought to you by Momondo.