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Some of us can just be spontaneous – going away last minute, booking a flight without giving it a second thought, even doing next-to-no research on the destination prior to swiping out the good old credit card and booking our trip.
And whilst we all like a bit of spontaneity, for most of us when it comes to holidays, it is not always that simple. Whether it is booking up a flight when there is a sale, or being organised and sorting it out a year ahead, or perhaps booking the flights once you have secured the accommodation – we do what works best for us (or at least what we think does).
However, there are certain times which are best to book a flight. So, whether you want to save a bit of money or just get the best picks of flight times and seats, then you may want to read on:
Book in advance: Whilst it is great to be organised and prepared, if you book too far in advance, thinking that will help you save some money, you may be wrong. According to SkyScanner, you should book any domestic trip around 2-3 weeks in advance and if you want the best deal and for an international journey look to book around 5-6 months prior.
Get your timing right: If you want to ensure you are getting the best deal available, then 5am is apparently the best time to snap up a plane ticket. This does mean setting your alarm early, but it’s worth it for the saving you might get.
The times to avoid booking a flight is said to be between 7-10pm. Maybe that’s because more people are browsing for plane tickets at that time, who knows- just try and book your ticket nice and early.
Book mid-week: The best day to book a flight is mid-week. This is because airlines see a drop in the number of tickets sold during this time, so they have somewhat of a mini-sale. They often announce it Monday evening and then Tuesdays and sometimes Wednesdays are sale days. This is when you should get the best saving on domestic and international flights. What’s more, once one airline decides to have a sale, a lot of other major airlines join in, in a bid to rival the others. This competition gives you more options to pick from and who knows, you could save more than you even anticipated and get a better deal.
Flight sales: Flights, accommodation and package deals are often on sale throughout the year. However, there are months when they host major sales, normally January, February and August.
If you are looking to arrange a holiday for some point throughout the year then booking a flight in January is probably your best bet. According to a study done by Opodo, the cheapest time to book a flight is on any Sunday in January. Their data shows that in January the average flight price is around £241 for trips leaving from the UK, compared to July when the price increases to around £288. Do bear in mind there are more factors to consider such as destination, flight duration, seasonality and weather, however the overall trend identifies January as the best month if you are after the best deal.
Understandably the August sale may not be for everyone. You may not want to leave it till a week or two before you are due to fly off on your summer holiday to sort your plane tickets, especially if you have kids – they’re stressful enough! However, if you are looking for a quick couple’s getaway, then you may be in a fortunate position whereby you can go away with little notice and therefore take advantage of the sale providing you can be flexible with departure and return dates.
Consider which month to book: Besides from sales, there is research to show depending on the type of holiday and destination you’re after, some months may be better than others to book a flight. Opodo’s study shows that for domestic flights, September is the best month to book, where the average price is around £145, considerably lower than months such as July. For long-distance travel, for example Europe, January and February definitely have the lowest fares. However, if you want to visit America then September is the month to snap up a bargain. As for exotic destinations, January seems the best time to book and July the worst time, as prices skyrocket. This is not the same for all exotic destinations, for example if you fancy Eastern Asia then September tends to offer great discounts.
It can all get a bit complicated, so the best thing to do is once you have picked your destination then do some further research and find out when the discounts are anticipated to be at their best.
Do keep in mind that with the current Covid-19 pandemic, some holidays and flights may be discounted heavily as the market tries to make up for financial losses. Do your research before you book, look at whether you have to self-isolate on your return and the number of coronavirus cases – just be aware. Booking a flight right now does come with an element of risk, so ensure you have a travel insurance that provides the right cover. At Holidaysafe, we offer coronavirus cover which is on every Single Trip or Multi-Trip policy. This includes cover for the following:
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