I waited too late to book my summer travel plans. Can I still get good prices for my flights?

Summer came up on us quickly this year, and it’s going to be a busy one. With travel insiders predicting record-breaking leisure travel numbers this year, it’s only natural that the procrastinators among us might be worrying – did I miss my window of opportunity to nab the best fares?

For the third year in a row, CheapAir has compiled the endlessly useful Summer Flight Trends Report that will take the guesswork right out of your vacation-planning process and help you choose the best summer flight deals for you and your family at the right time!

family summer vacation

How do we do this? Is it airfare intelligence magic? No, it’s nothing that cryptic. We simply track 11,000 airfares for flights each day between June 21 and September 22, 2014. This process uncovers the best days to fly. The rest is easy – we simply pass along this intel to you, the consumer, who can then make a much more informed decision. You might think it’s too late to get the best deals, but that’s simply not the case! Follow our advice to score the best deals for airfare this summer.

The Best Days of the Week to Fly
One simple way to capture some savings right off the bat is to avoid the weekend. During the summer months, vacation planning often includes a Sunday return to ensure the most time off (Saturdays and Sundays being the traditional weekend for most work schedules). Airlines know this and generally increase the cost of flights on those days. Not to mention, the impact of business travel on fare inflation is a factor. Those of you traveling for work who need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed on Monday morning often prefer to travel on a Sunday. The airlines have a pricing structure in place that sells the same seat at a wide variety of fares. Flexibility in your dates is often the best predictor of whether or not you will get the cheapest fare. If rock-bottom pricing is not your biggest concern, then you can ignore this tip (but if you’re reading our blog, we think price might be a factor).

On average, our summer flight data indicates that flying on a Wednesday is $74 cheaper than flying on a Sunday. That may not seem significant until you start examining the typical family vacation. A family of four will save nearly $300 on average for their summer vacation flights just by flying on a Wednesday. If you can swing a midweek departure and return, it’s almost too easy! Imagine what else you could do with the extra cash you’re saving!

Late Summer Gets Biggest Bang for the Buck
The best fares for Summer 2015 can definitely be found in August. And July is going to be the most expensive. As you might imagine, the most inexpensive rates tend to relate to how far in advance tickets get purchased, and the data bears this out. Generally, we advise travelers to purchase their tickets around 47 days in advance. This is just a guideline, however, not a hard-and-fast rule. In the summer, most people are traveling to popular warm-weather and/or family-friendly destinations. And that’s when you have to break the rules and just book early!

August travel calendar

Make “Flexibility” Your Mantra
Whether it’s having a bit of leeway with your travel dates, willingness to split your ticket onto two airlines, flying into an alternative airport (sometimes the smaller, regional airports have better deals), or forgoing the Fourth of July festivities in favor of a less-popular weekend – simply adopting a flexible attitude will return savings. Say it again. Flexibility. That’s the magic word. Then, once you find a good fare and snap it up you can avoid the worry post-purchase. If you buy a ticket with CheapAir.com, we have a feature called Price Drop Payback that protects your ticket up to $100 should the price drop after you purchase it. Now, that’s peace of mind!

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