When to book to get the best flight deals

Although air travel is more accessible than ever, there are still many ways you can get an even better jet-setting deal.

From discovering the joy of off-season jaunts to knowing what the cheapest month to take a holiday is, travel expert Angus Kidman from Finder.com.au has you covered. Spend that extra money on another beachside massage and relax!

Pick your day

While there's a common belief that some days are better to book flights than others, Angus reveals that it’s not so for Australia.

“There aren’t any noticeable or consistent peaks and troughs on certain days like you might see in the US or European market,” he explains.

Instead, aim to check out flights on the airline’s dedicated sale days.

“Tiger Air have sales on Tuesdays and Saturdays, Jetstar has their Friday frenzy, and Virgin drop their prices on Thursdays,” he says.

Despite the day of the week bearing little influence, Angus says you can save loads by carefully selecting the day you fly. 

“If you’ve got a bit of flexibility it’s best to fly out and back on a Tuesday or Wednesday for the best prices. It will generally be more expensive if you’re trying to fly Friday or Sunday evening and Monday morning,” he explains.

Early bird gets the worm

Although there may not be a specific day to book, what about time of day? Angus says there’s not too much fluctuation in the Aussie market, but occasionally booking first thing in the morning can help.

“You might find new fares have been uploaded overnight,” he says. “It won’t make a massive difference but could certainly help.”

Plan ahead

Although waiting until the last minute might work well for getting great deals on hotels, it’s not the case for securing a cheap flight.

“The further ahead you can book, the better,” Angus says. “If you can get in 6-12 months ahead, then you’re usually going to get the best rate.”

Planning and booking ahead is even more worthwhile if your travel is limited to school holidays.

It’s sale time

When you’re trying wrangle a bargain flight don't forget that airlines hold big sales around the same times each year. 

“In the period right after Christmas there are always lots of travel deals that appear in line with Boxing Day sales,” he suggests. “Black Friday/Cyber Monday, in late-November, is also a great time to keep an eye out.”

The magical month

For some destinations, you can score low-priced flights during certain months of the year. For example, Angus reveals it’s super affordable to travel to Japan mid-June/July.

“These cheap seats are available at the start of the year and stay the same low price until around March,” he says.

Instead of trying to work out the “cheap seat” time for every destination, Angus reveals that May is the optimal money-saving month.

“Generally speaking, May is a great month to travel anywhere for less,” he says. “This is particularly the case for the northern hemisphere due to lower occupancy levels.”

Off season

It may seem obvious but if you try and take off to a destination that the rest of the world isn’t trying to get to, you can save big and avoid the crowds.

“If you can go somewhere in the off season and still get what you want out of it then do it!” Angus says.

For example, it’s cheap to go to Las Vegas in the US summer because it’s so hot in the Nevada desert. However, if you’re heading there to take in the glorious shows, nightclubs and casinos then you’re going to be in delightful air conditioning anyway.

Also, try to travel during shoulder season – the overlap between high and low. “If you travel in this period your chances of getting an upgrade on the plane or hotel are also much better,” he says.

Don’t forget

The thrill of securing a cheap flight is like no other but make sure you’ve weighed up whether the saving is worth it, Angus warns.

“If you have a 6am flight it means getting to the airport around 4am so you’ll most likely have to cab to the airport instead of taking public transport or getting a family member to drop you off,” he explains. “Consider the cost and convenience factor equally.”

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