It’s been a bumpy couple of years, but international travel is back in a huge way. The data experts at CheapAir.com find ourselves eager to share what we know about international travel for 2022. Even the most restrictive countries have eased travel restrictions (or plan to very soon).

This increased consumer demand for flights accompanied with a storm of unprecedented factors at play this year means smart buying decisions are as important as ever. The cost of oil, the airlines struggling to keep up with demand, the geopolitical landscape all mean you’re better off buying tickets on the early side.

How does CheapAir.com uncover the best time to buy international flights?

Like everything we do for travelers, we aim to make airfare intel 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.

Now let’s take a look at exactly what our International Airfare Study contains:

  • When to buy your international airline ticket to save the most money
  • The most and least expensive months to fly
  • How seasonality can affect flight costs
  • The volatility of 2022 airfare and what it might mean for international travelers
  • Cheapest days of the week to travel internationally

The Best Time to Buy International Airfare – Region by Region

The Best Time to Buy International Flights in 2022

The Best Time to Buy Flights to Canada

Like a lot of destinations this year, the best time to buy is going to be further out from your travel dates than in previous years. There’s quite a bit of volatility and uncertainty in the air travel market for 2022, so we don’t recommend waiting too long until you make that purchase to save on your Canada flights.

Prime Booking Window: 3.5 months to 300 days from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 205 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $363
Cheapest months to travel: February and March
Most expensive months to travel: August and December
Seasonality: You’ll find prices for travel in the spring and fall are slightly better than in the winter and summer months this year (about $25 less than summer and winter flights on average).

In order to get a good price, make sure you shop early for summer flights, when the best prices tend to be found almost 10 months in advance. Winter is also a “buy early” season for Canada. You’ll see the best prices for winter flights around 8 months out. You can wait a little longer to shop for fall (best prices are around 5 months out), and spring (6.5 months before travel).

When to Buy Flights for Mexico

Mexico is a great value this year so far, with average fares about $80 less per ticket than they were last year. Mexico has always been a popular destination for some U.S. travelers, but is seeing an uptick in visitors who might have traveled further afield in years past.

Prime Booking Window: 1 month to 4.5 months from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 70 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $459
Cheapest months to travel: There’s not a huge difference in fares for the bulk of the year, but January and February are the cheapest months to visit Mexico.
Most expensive months to travel: August and December
Seasonality: Don’t wait to buy your winter flights to Mexico. While you can afford to wait for the rest of the year, to get the best priced airline tickets for December, you’ll need to shop about 7 months before you plan to visit. This should be a consideration if you plan to spend the Christmas holidays south of the border.

The Best Time to Buy Caribbean Flights

The Caribbean looks like another great value destination this year. Average prices are about $75 less per ticket than they were last year, and you can actually plan a relatively affordable last-minute international trip with little hassle.

Prime Booking Window: 1.5 months to 5 months from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 75 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $513
Cheapest months to travel: September and October
Most expensive months to travel: July and December
Seasonality: In terms of snagging a nice price, the Caribbean remains an easy region to book, regardless of the season. If you do plan to travel in the winter (especially around Christmas), you will want to book about 5 months out, but the rest of the year you can afford to wait a little longer. In the summer months, it’s possible to get a good deal inside of 30 days!

The Best Time to Buy Flights to Central America

If Central America is calling you in 2022, you’ll be pleased to hear that the average airfare price to the region is down about $120 from last year. The region has about the same prime booking window as last year, which means you don’t have to book too far in advance. The best day to buy is slightly further out from your travel date, so keep in mind that the sweet spot for 2022 in terms of booking a reasonable price is about 3 months from your departure date.

Prime Booking Window: 2 months to 5 months from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 88 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $522
Cheapest months to travel: September and October
Most expensive months to travel: July and December (by a mile). December tickets will run you about $120 more on average than the next most expensive month (July).
Seasonality: Spring is the most affordable time to travel to Central America, with ticket prices running about $60 less than the other three seasons. It would be a good idea to book about 4 months out if you plan to travel in the popular summer and winter months to scoop up a possible deal. In spring and fall you get the best prices about 3 months out.

When to Buy Airline Tickets to South America

South American airline tickets are a bargain this year – almost $300 less on average than they were last year! Everything else is holding steady – with a pretty reasonable prime booking window, so you can wait to grab a nice price.

Prime Booking Window: 1.5 months to 4.5 months from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 79 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $707
Cheapest months to travel: September, October and May
Most expensive months to travel: July and December. December tickets will set you back $210 more on average than the next most expensive month (July).
Seasonality: Much like the neighboring Central American countries, spring is the most affordable time to travel. Spring air ticket prices to South American countries are about $50 less than summer, but in terms of when to buy – seasonality doesn’t seem to vary too much. For summer and fall, 2.5 months out seems to be the ideal time to book, spring comes in around 3 months, and winter at about 3.5 months from travel.

The Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets to Europe

Europe is a bit all over the place for 2022. You can get reasonable airfares as close as 1 month to your departure date, but we wouldn’t risk that, to be honest. The best day to buy is also a lot closer to potential travel dates – again, the volatility in the region could be a factor. We urge travelers to exercise caution, but look for those good deals, because they are out there. The good news is that airfare prices have come way down – on average airfares are $500 less than they were last year.

Prime Booking Window: 1 month to 6.5 months from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 79 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $992
Cheapest months to travel: October and November
Most expensive months to travel: May, June
Seasonality: Here’s what we know about Europe. If you want to score a deal, don’t go in the summertime. This year, the average price of an airline ticket from May to August is $1,102 while flights during the fall shoulder season average out about $200 less. Still, that might be a manageable amount – especially if you have to book your longer vacations in the summer months like a lot of Americans.

This year, the calendar is telling us that you can wait to buy your summer flights to Europe just about a month before you plan to travel and still find good prices. For winter, you might be able to get a good price just under a month out. Landing in the middle are spring and fall – for spring you’ll want to book about 2 months out to have a chance at a good fare, and fall at about 3.5 months out. And check out our Europe Summer Flights page for all the tips you need to know before you go.

The Best Time to Purchase Airfare to Africa

Africa is also quite volatile in 2022. You can get reasonable airfares as close as 2.5 months to your departure date, but again, it would not be our recommendation to wait. Average airfare to Africa has come down since last year by about $300.

Prime Booking Window: 2 months to 10 months from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 213 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,244
Cheapest months to travel: October and November
Most expensive months to travel: July and December
Seasonality: If you’re traveling to Africa in the fall, plan to book about 7.5 months out to get the best prices. Traveling in summer or winter? You’ll want to book about 2.5 months in advance. We do urge you to exercise a bit of care – once those lower fares are gone, they’re gone for good!

South Pacific: The Best Time to Buy Flights to Oceana

The South Pacific is much more expensive than it was last year and in order to get any kind of savings, you better be booking early. Average ticket prices went up almost $700 and the deals (if you can call them that) are out at nearly the 10 month mark. We think the travel restrictions to this part of the world could be causing such steep fares. Luckily, Australia has relaxed its restrictions recently, and New Zealand is on schedule to do the same by the summer.

Prime Booking Window: 9.5 months to 10 months from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 309 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $2,898
Cheapest months to travel: January and April
Most expensive months to travel: October and November
Seasonality: Traveling in spring and fall? You can wait a little bit longer to book your flights – but it’s just a slight difference. You’ll still need to book those flights about 8 months out to see much savings.

When to Buy Flights to Asia

Asia looks a lot like the South Pacific in terms of when you should buy – which is the earlier the better. On the positive side, Asia’s flight costs have come down by about $100 on average overall.

Prime Booking Window: 10 months from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 314 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,514
Cheapest months to travel: January and April
Most expensive months to travel: December and August
Seasonality: Traveling in spring and fall means you can book flights slightly earlier – about 8 months out should still get you reasonable airfare.

Middle East: When to Buy Flights for the Best Prices

The Middle East and Africa share some similarities this year. There’s potential to get reasonable airfares as close as 2 months to your departure date, but a good strategy would probably be to book on the early side since some of the best fares are available at 10 months out from departure.Average airfares to the Middle East have come down since last year by about $300.

Prime Booking Window: Just under 2 months to 10 months from departure
Best Day to Buy: About 94 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,002
Cheapest months to travel: October and November
Most expensive months to travel: December and July
Seasonality: Traveling in spring and fall means you can book flights slightly earlier than winter and summer – about 8 months out will often give you reasonable prices.

What does CheapAir.com do to help make international flight shopping simple and transparent?

When you shop for flights, we keep information straightforward with a unique, simple display that easily compares apples to apples between flights and classes of service. We put it all out there so you can see exactly what you’re paying for with every ticket – no nasty surprises at the airport or extra fees with us – ever.

Next, we have friendly, stateside travel advisors available for troubleshooting any of your post-purchase concerns or questions. 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 monthly payments, if you’re interested in exploring that avenue.

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.

Cheapest days to travel internationally

Mid-week flights (Tuesday and Wednesday departures) will usually be a better price point than any other days of the week.

Cheapair International Study Cheapest day p fly by day of week infographic

What else do you need to know about international travel in 2022?

We urge you to plan ahead this year. There are many factors cited in this study that will impact international travel flight pricing, so our best advice is to shop early in the CheapAir.com “Prime Booking Window” to make sure you lock in the best price for your international trip. One byproduct that came out of the pandemic are the most flexible change policies that airlines have ever offered. Most plan to retain those permanently, which means travelers have more flexibility than ever before should you need to change or cancel a flight. 

Finally, we want to give a shout out to domestic vacations. If you find yourself in need of a trip closer to home, check out the Best Time to Buy Domestic Flights for 2022.

6 Comments

  1. I won’t to go to Jacksonville Florida at the ended of the month it to Detroit mi to Jacksonville Florida i need a chaper flight it $475 may 28 may 29 or may 27 to may 29 thank you

    • Hi Monifa, are you just looking into a one-way flight from Detroit to Jacksonville? Because you are flying into a popular vacation spot on Memorial Day weekend, Sunday is actually the cheapest day to fly into Jacksonville, however, it is a pricey day to fly back to Detroit. To get a cheaper rate to return to Detroit, you would need to be flexible, perhaps return on Tuesday. You can search dates on CheapAir.com or email us at help@CheapAir.com for further assistance. We do recommend you lock in your flights soon as travel is approaching and that is a popular travel weekend. Thanks

  2. Looking for cheap flight in November 2022 fro
    Raleigh-Durham, MC to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    • Hi Rachel, if you are buying for early November you probably want to get those flights about 2 to 3 months before your trip. However, if you are planning to go to San Juan around Thanksgiving we recommend buying much earlier. Start monitoring rates now. You can track your searches on CheapAir.com. When you see a low rate jump on it. If you purchase on CheapAir.com, we do have a price drop guarantee to help you buy with ease. Let us know if you need assistance by emailing help@CheapAir.com. Thanks

    • Hi Peggy-Ann, to the Caribbean we recommend buying around 75 days prior to departure. However, if you traveling during Thanksgiving time we recommend buying much sooner. Airfares increase with demand and more people travel for the holiday. Start tracking your fares now. If you see an airfare you like jump on it. You can track your flights on CheapAir.com. It is generally better to purchase sooner than later. We have our Price Drop Guarantee, if the airfare drops on our site after purchase on CheapAir.com you can get a travel voucher for up to $100. Thanks

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