Is today the best day of the year to buy a Thanksgiving or Christmas flight?

We know it seems crazy early to be talking about flights for the holidays — many of you haven’t even booked your summer trip yet. But it’s worth pointing out that today, June 2, was the least expensive day (on average) to buy flights for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years in 2013.

When to book holidays flights 2014

We’re betting you didn’t know that!

Of course, it isn’t likely that history will repeat itself. In all likelihood a date other than June 2nd will ultimately be crowned the best day to buy flights for the 2014 holidays. But it is still a useful occasion to remind you that, although we found that the best day to buy domestic flights in 2013 was 54 days in advance on average, for holiday travel all bets are off.

When you’re booking Christmas or Thanksgiving travel, sooner really is better — almost always. It’s not just that prices go up over time (although they generally do). It’s also that choices get worse. Whereas today there might be 10 flights available to your destination at the lowest fare, 3 months from now there might only be 2 — and they might both have long layovers in Cleveland!

We’re not trying to be alarmist about it. We know that most of you aren’t going to be buying your holiday flights any time soon. Heck, those of us here who study these things and know airfares inside and out can never seem to get it together enough to book early for the holidays — even when we constantly pour through data that tells us that we should. But if you’re reading this and you do know exactly where you’re going and when this holiday season, and you don’t mind committing to a non-refundable ticket, you can probably save yourself some future stress (and money) by securing your seats sooner-rather-than-later.

As for the rest of you, for whom booking flights for the holiday 6 months in advance is in the “aint-never-gonna-happen” category, enjoy your summer…but maybe still keep an occasional eye on the CheapAir Holiday Flight Index?

Find Cheap Flights for the Holidays

8 Comments

  1. I never see advice for buying tickets for those who travel in the “off seasons” — for example If I want to travel roundtrip from USA to Europe after the holidays are over, after Jan. 1st for example, are there any tips about how far in advance to wait before hitting the “buy” button?
    Thanks if the bloggers can enlighten me.

    • Hi Michel,

      Booking flights for the off season is a great strategy for saving money. In Europe, the low season is from November to March. For flights to Europe, it is best to book well in advance depending on where you’re traveling within Europe. For example, cities like London, Paris, and Rome are always big draws for tourists so I’d be mindful of where you’re heading in Europe. With that said, it would be good to start checking fares early on and continuing to monitor them periodically. I’d recommend booking about 3 to 5 months prior to your departure. Please let us know if you need any help with finding flights.

  2. Hello , I am planning a trip for Orlando, florida on the 21st of November, I found a fare plane price, but I am not sure if it will go down towards the end of June or the beginning of July 2014 or should I just buy them now???

    • Hi Maria, You probably have a bit of time to watch the fare. To give you much more detailed assistance I would need to know your return date. November 21 is getting close to Thanksgiving, so the odds are that the ticket prices will not go down much (if at all). One other piece of information you might find useful–if you book with CheapAir, we have the “Price Drop Payback” feature. Should you find the price of your tickets drops post purchase, we will refund you the change in price up to $100 per ticket. Hope this helps!

  3. My family and I are planning on flying from Minneapolis to Orlando this winter. We are leaving December 27 and coming back January 3. Right now prices for the times I want are $560, a month ago they were $480. I am wondering if I should book now or will the prices go down? Thanks!

    • Hi Laurie,

      Since you’ll be traveling during the peak holiday season, I would recommend purchasing your flights sooner than later to avoid the fares from increasing any further. To view flight schedules and book, you can use this link: http://bit.ly/1oeosYx Keep in mind we also offer Price Drop Payback, where if the price for the same itinerary goes down any time before your trip, we’ll pay you the difference in the form of a travel credit, up to $100 per ticket! Please let us know if you need any help with finding flights. Please let us know if you need any help with finding flights.

  4. Hi, my family and I are looking for international tickets for the holiday season to Ecuador and much information seems to be based on domestic flights. Are the ideal times to buy international tickets for the holiday season the same as domestic flights? Any tips on when to buy international flights for the holiday season?

    • Hi Luna,

      When purchasing flights for the holiday season, you’ll always want to book as early as possible. That goes for both domestic and international flights. The holiday season is a peak time to travel, so booking early is always the best way to go. I’d suggest booking now or as soon as you can. Please let us know if you need any assistance with finding flights.

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