For 2024 we analyzed more than 917 million airfares across every continent to help you book cheap international flights. Here’s what we learned so you can buy cheap flights at the best time for your trip. the best time to buy international flights

2024 International Airfare Study key takeaways

  • How far in advance you should book international flights to save the most money.
  • The most and least expensive months to travel internationally
  • How seasonality can affect international flight costs
  • Cheapest days of the week to travel internationally
  • How CheapAir.com determines the best time to buy international flights

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the best time to book international flights

The Best Time to Book International Airfare – Overview

This year, the best time to buy a cheap international flight to most regions is a mixed bag. Some destinations could benefit from shopping early, while others give the best value a lot closer to your travel dates. At the same time, quite a few regions of the world aren’t seeing a ton of volatility. Keep in mind people increasingly want to travel to international destinations, and supply to some destinations is still struggling to meet demand. But people seem to be willing to pay a little more to travel internationally.

For international trips, start monitoring flight prices early. We recommend starting seven to eight months prior to your trip. Sign us for FareTracker to track the fares for your flights/routes/destination. You’ll want to book international trips three to five months in advance, with some exceptions.

Reasons to book flights early

  • Best flight options available
  • Best seat selection
  • Personal events like family reunions or weddings when large numbers of guests may need to arrive on a specific day/timeline
  • Events in a city or region like the Olympic Games or the World Cup, local festivals
  • When using miles/points, airlines can award space onboard as soon as schedules open

Reasons to book last-minute

  • Occasional Airline Discounts – If a route is underperforming and not a lot of people are buying flights, airlines may discount fares
  • When using miles/points, airlines can award seats on a flight when space is available within 14 days of departure

When to book your flights is the single most important decision of your trip

The key to getting the cheapest international flights is to plan ahead and book during the “Prime Booking Window” to ensure you don’t overpay on airfare. Booking international flights too early in advance or waiting last-minute can cost you a lot more. While airfares fluctuate frequently, airfare is very unlikely to come down once you’re within 21 days of the departure. This is due to advance ticket rules. Let’s look at things region by region and find cheap international flights.

The CheapAir.com 2024 International Airfare Study analyzing when to buy international flights by region

The Best Time to Book Flights to Canada

the best time to buy flights to canada Canada flights aren’t terribly volatile, so if you prefer to wait you can get a well-priced flight all the way up to around a month before your travel dates.

  • Best Time to Buy Canada Flights: About 2.5 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Canada: About 1 to 6 months before your travel date
  • The average airfare: $517
  • Cheapest months to travel to Canada: January and February. The average airfare during the months of August and September is $509.
  • Most expensive months to travel to Canada: June and July. The average airfare during the summer months June and July is $539.
  • Seasonality for Canada flights: The most expensive season for Canada travel is typically summer, while the least expensive seasons are often late fall and early spring. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on multiple factors, including specific destinations within Canada, special events and holidays. Also, Canada is a winter sports destination, so while winter is overall a more affordable time to visit some locales, it can also be an expensive time to visit areas of the country popular with winter sports enthusiasts.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Canada: The cheapest flights to Canada are on Tuesdays, saving $53 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday

cheapair average airfare to canada by travel day

The Best Time to Book Flights to Mexico

the best time to buy flights to Mexico Mexico will be popular as it always is for international travelers from the U.S. In 2024, a trend seems to illustrate that deals can be available very close to travel dates. You can shop around 1.5 months out and still see reasonable cheap international flights depending on your specific plans.

  • Best Time to Buy Mexico Flights: About 2 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Mexico: 1.5 to 10 months before your travel date
  • The average airfare: $542
  • Cheapest months to travel to Mexico: January and February
  • Most expensive months to travel to Mexico: June and July
  • Seasonality for Mexico Flights: There isn’t a lot of seasonal differences for Mexico flights. Flights can be more expensive around the winter holidays, spring break, and summer. If you can visit Mexico after the Christmas holidays, but before spring break season kicks in, you can often score reasonable flights.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Mexico: The cheapest flights to Mexico are on Tuesdays, saving $53 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday.

cheapair average airfare to mexico by travel day

The Best Time to Book Caribbean Flights

the best time to buy caribbean flights The Caribbean is a good deal in 2024. With a little bit of advance planning, you can actually put together a relatively affordable last-minute international trip with very little hassle.

  • Best Time to Buy Caribbean Flights: About 1 month from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for the Caribbean: About 3 weeks to 2.5 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $591
  • Cheapest months to travel to the Caribbean: The summer and early fall are the least expensive time to travel to the Caribbean.
  • Most expensive months to travel to the Caribbean: December to April.
  • Seasonality for Caribbean Flights: High season runs from December to April, coinciding with the colder months in the U.S., and tends to be the most expensive time to travel to the Caribbean. Low season, (from May to November), is usually the least expensive time to travel to the Caribbean. This period includes the hurricane season, which can deter some travelers, leading to lower demand and subsequently lower airfare prices.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to the Caribbean: The cheapest flights to the Caribbean are on Wednesdays, saving $103 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday

cheapair average airfare to caribbean by travel day

The Best Time to Book Flights to Central America

the best time to buy flights to central america Central America is another relatively good value international travel destination for 2023, with average prices up about 10%. Once again, planning and shopping early will be the key to snagging a reasonable price on flights.

  • Best Time to Buy Central America Flights: About 1.5 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Central America: About 3 weeks to 2.5 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $616
  • Cheapest months to travel to Central America: January and February. The average airfare during the months of January and February is $557, a 9.57% decrease.
  • Most expensive months to travel to Central America: June and July. June tickets will run you about $142 more on average than in January. The average airfare during the the months of June and July is $663, a 7.63% increase.
  • Seasonality for Central America Flights: The winter holidays, spring break travel and summer can all be expensive times for travel to Central American destinations. The off-peak season after Christmas but just before spring break is usually a time to get solid flight deals.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Central America: The cheapest flights to Central America are on Wednesdays, saving $103 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday

cheapair average airfare to central america by travel day

The Best Time to Book Flights to South America

the best time to buy flights to south america South American airline tickets follow the trend of flights being more expensive than they were last year. You don’t have to book early for the best possible deals in 2024!

  • Best Day to Buy South America Flights: About 1.5 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for South America: 1 month all the way out to the publish date
  • The average airfare: $867
  • Cheapest months to travel to South America: December and May.
  • Most expensive months to travel to South America: June and July. The average airfare during these months is $1349, a 9.57% increase.
  • Seasonality for South America Flights: The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are often the most affordable times to travel to South America. North America’s winter is South America’s summer, so you can expect to find high season prices at that time. You will also see higher airfares in the summer months of June-August, when most Americans typically travel internationally.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to South America: The cheapest flights to South America are on Tuesdays, saving $82 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Saturday

cheapair average airfare to south america by travel day

The Best Time to Book Flights to Europe

the best time to buy flights to venice Demand is way up for travel to EU countries this year along with prices. So while airfares to Europe might be more than you expect, once you’re on the ground you’ll find your dollars go further. To get the best airfares you’ll want to avoid the summer months. And you’ll want to buy as early as you can.

  • Best Day to Buy Europe Flights: About 10.5 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Europe: There is no true prime booking window for Europe this year. Buy flights very early, as close to their publish date as you can in order to get the best value.
  • The average airfare: $1,112
  • Cheapest months to travel to Europe: December and February. The average airfare during the winter months of December and February is $844, a 24.10% decrease.
  • Most expensive months to travel to Europe: July and June. The average airfare during the summer months June and July is $1349, a 21.31% increase.
  • Seasonality for Europe Flights: Winter flights to Europe will save you a whopping $395 on average over taking a summer trip across the pond.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Europe: The cheapest flights to Europe are on Tuesdays, saving $145 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Saturday

cheapair average airfare to europe by travel day

The Best Time to Book Flights to Africa

the best time to buy flights to africa Fares to Africa tend to be higher than to other global destinations, so keep that in mind when timing your flight search.

  • Best Day to Buy Africa Flights: About 10.5 months from your travel date when fares are published
  • Prime Booking Window for Africa: There is no true prime booking window for Africa this year. Buy flights very early, as close to their publish date as you can in order to get the best value.
  • The average airfare: $1,429
  • Cheapest months to travel to Africa: February and March. The average airfare during the months of February and March is $1196, a 16.31% decrease.
  • Most expensive months to travel to Africa: July and August. The average airfare during the months of July and August is $1550, a 8.47% increase.
  • Seasonality for Africa Flights: The best time of year to get a deal on Africa flights is fall. You can save $112 an airline ticket if you plan a trip in autumn.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Africa: The cheapest flights to Africa are on Tuesdays, saving $100 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Fridays

cheapair average airfare to africa by travel day

South Pacific: The Best Time to Book Flights to Oceana

the best time to buy flights to oceania The South Pacific is one of the few destinations on our radar that is significantly less expensive than it was in 2023. In fact, you can see airfares that are almost ⅓ less than they were in 2022. That means you can expect savings of almost $1,000 on airfare purchased in 2023. You can even wait a while to buy to South Pacific destinations – with good deals appearing as close as 2.5 months ahead of your travel dates.

  • Best Day to Buy South Pacific Flights: 8 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for the South Pacific: 1.5 to 8 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $1,917
  • Cheapest months to travel to the South Pacific: February and March.
  • Most expensive months to travel to the South Pacific: July and June. The average airfare during the months of June and July is $1974, a 2.97% increase.
  • Seasonality for South Pacific Flights: The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are often the most affordable times to travel to the South Pacific. North America’s winter is Oceana’s summer, so you can expect to find high season prices at that time. You will also see higher airfares in the summer months of June-August, when most Americans typically travel internationally.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to the South Pacific: The cheapest flights to the South Pacific are on Tuesdays, saving $100 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Friday

cheapair average airfare to south pacific by travel day

The Best Time to Book Flights to Asia

the best time to buy flights to asia Asia flights are expensive in 2024. But it’s not critical to buy your flights early to get a good deal on cheap flights to Asia.

  • Best Day to Buy Asia Flights: About 2.5 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Asia: 1.5 to 4 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $2,293
  • Cheapest months to travel to Asia: December and November. The average airfare during the months of November and December is $1639, a 28.52% decrease.
  • Most expensive months to travel to Asia: August and September. The average airfare during the months of August and September is $3011, a 31.31% increase.
  • Seasonality for Asia Flights: Airfare prices in the summer months are around $444 more than flights for the other seasons, but there isn’t too much difference between the seasons on when you should buy. You can also wait a little while and still get cheap international flights to Asia.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Asia: The cheapest flights to Asia are on Wednesdays, saving $221 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Friday

cheapair average airfare to asia by travel day

The Best Time to Book Flights to the Middle East

the best time to buy flights to the middle east To get cheap international flights to Middle East destinations, book early.

  • Best Day to Buy Middle East Flights: About 8 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for the Middle East: 6 to 8 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $1,194
  • Cheapest months to travel to the Middle East: February and December. The average airfare during months of February and December is $1008, a 15.58% decrease.
  • Most expensive months to travel to the Middle East: July and August. The average airfare during the months of June and July is $1315, a 10.13% increase.
  • Seasonality for Middle East Flights: Traveling in spring, fall and winter will give you better fares than traveling in summer. Expect to pay about $200 more per ticket for summer flights to the Middle East.
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to the Middle East: The cheapest flights to the Middle East are on Tuesdays, saving $112 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday

cheapair average airfare to middle east by travel day

Cheapest days to travel internationally

When you’re choosing the days you’ll fly, be mindful of any holidays or big events, as that can really impact the costs for your trip. If you can be flexible with your travel dates, even by a few days, you can really save a ton of money and book your cheap international flights. We found that the day you book your flight doesn’t really impact the fares. In fact, the difference in price, on average, is just a few cents no matter the day you book. That’s not to say airfares won’t fluctuate. In fact, airfare fluctuations happen more often than you think. You should also pay attention to the days of the week you choose to travel. Mid-week flights (Tuesday and Wednesday departures) will usually be a better price point than any other days of the week.

Region Least Expensive Day(s) to Travel Most Expensive Day to Travel Average Savings Booking Least Expensive vs. the Most Expensive Day of the Week
Canada Tues, Wed Sun $53/ticket
Mexico Tues, Wed Sun $100/ticket
Caribbean Wed, Tues Sun $103/ticket
Central America Wed, Tues Sun $84/ticket
South America Tues, Wed Sat $82/ticket
Europe Tues, Wed Sat $145/ticket
Africa Tues, Mon Fri $100/ticket
South Pacific Tues, Sat Wed $239/ticket
Asia Wed, Mon Fri $221/ticket
Middle East Tues, Wed Sun $112/ticket

What does CheapAir.com do to help make international flight shopping easy?

We keep our advice customer-focused. When you shop for cheap international flights, all the flight and fare information is straightforward with a unique, simple display that easily compares apples to apples between flights and classes of service. We share everything – the good, the bad, and the challenging – so you can see exactly what you’re paying for with every ticket. You’ll never have to deal with any unplanned surprises at the airport or extra fees when you book with us. That’s our commitment to you. Once you’ve booked, we offer U.S.-based travel advisors who are available for any of your post-purchase concerns or questions. And should the price of your ticket go down after you book, we offer Price Drop Payback protection so you don’t miss out on a better deal. We’re here to help! Finally, we offer payment flexibility. You can book travel with Bitcoin (something we’ve been doing since 2013), and we now have a roster of curated coins you can use to pay for flights and hotels. We also offer a way for you to book international flights now, and pay later. Our intent is to always give you the best options across the board – from shopping for cheap international flights to purchasing, to traveling. That covers how we operate. We love to share airfare insights so you can be confident you purchased the right ticket for your next trip.

What’s the methodology that gives CheapAir.com an edge with cheap international flights?

Like everything we do for travelers, we aim to make airfare intelligence simple and transparent. We examine close to a billion airfares across thousands of markets in every region on the globe – so you have up-to-date, accurate data. We want to help you with international travel planning and purchasing your next international flight. If you have specific destinations in mind, leverage this helpful “when to buy” tool. It will provide accurate flight information for your itinerary. Finally, some people will want to stick closer to home in 2024. If you’re planning on a stateside vacation, make sure you reference our Best Time to Buy Domestic Flights for the 2024 report. It’s an invaluable tool to help you make better air travel decisions. To learn some helpful shortcuts for booking a deal, check out our post on the Top Tips for Booking Cheap International Flights.

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45 Comments

  1. looking for the flight CLE to IST with 1 stop for 0ct 5 , 2024 (1stchoice ) , also SFO to IST on October 5 , 2024

    Missed the dates when it was cheaper .

    please advise

    • Hi Rani,

      Looking into your flights and we’re seeing one-way prices from Cleveland for 1-stop flights starting at just under $1100, per person. There are not many flight options when you limit the number of stops so we’d recommend booking sooner than later or if you can be more flexible with your flight filters, that can help on the costs. You can view flights here: https://tinyurl.com/524h3r4e. For one-way flights from San Francisco to Istanbul, we are finding non-stop flights available and starting from about $778. You can view flights here: https://tinyurl.com/5bn5t89z That’s not a bad price for a non-stop flight. Keep in mind with non-stop flights there are only a couple available so depending on the demand you might want to consider booking it sooner than later. Keep in mind when booking on CheapAir.com, if the price for your booked itinerary goes down any time before your trip, we will pay you back the difference in the form of a travel voucher for up to $100 per ticket.

    • Hi Steve,

      That’s a great question. When looking to book flights with points, you’ll want to be as flexible as you can be. Booking those reward flights can be very complex and it’s recommended you’ll want to start to check your options early and for award availability that’s about 10 to 11 months in advance. It’s strongly suggested to check regularly too. There’s a lot of great travel sites that are dedicated to strategies on how to use points and provide great tips as well. You will have to book directly through the loyalty program you’re in, but do keep in mind that you can always provide frequent flyer and airline loyalty details when you do book on CheapAir.com. The other huge factor in determining when to buy your flights is when during the year you’re interested in traveling. For example, visiting Europe during the summer season is a peak time to travel, so we actually have a helpful resource to guide travelers who are traveling to Europe for the summer and want to know when are the most and least expensive days to fly. Let us know if you have any other questions.

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