When Should I Book My Summer Airline Tickets?

Planning a summer vacation this year? Most Americans do – either by roadtripping or flying to a fun leisure destination for family and friends. CheapAir.com has once again crunched the numbers to help travelers choose the best time to buy their summer flights, and good news – summer’s looking sunny for budget travelers! Here’s what we’ve uncovered.

family on summer vacation

Bargains are Available – Start Your Search Now!
To start, summer 2019 has great bargains if you know where to look for them and you don’t wait until the last minute. Overall, airfares are a bit better than they were last year and even the traditionally pricey 4th of July and Labor Day weekends are more reasonably priced. More on that later.

Mid-week Flights are Best
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, it will not surprise you that we’re touting Tuesdays and Wednesdays as the best days to fly. Our data is clear. The best fares of the summer happen consistently mid-week, with the best fares concentrated on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sundays are Yuck!
On the other hand, if you want to pretty much assure you’ll be paying a premium on your flights, go ahead and book a flight on a Sunday. The two most expensive days of the summer both fall on Sundays (June 30 and July 7). On the other hand, if you really need to fly on a Sunday there are reasonably-priced Sundays available this summer (that’s not typical, so we recommend you hop on these bargain dates, stat!) The 3rd and 4th Sundays in August (August 18 and 25 respectively), while not the lowest prices of the month, fall well within reasonable ranges. And if you can tip your summer vacay into September, you’ll avoid all Sunday sticker shock. And this is partially because…

family at hotel

September is a Secret Steal!
If you can reimagine what “summer vacation” dates make sense for you and yours, September is a great travel value for flights and accommodation – even in typically expensive, beachy destinations. Sure, the school calendar somewhat dictates when it makes sense to plan a summer vacation. But hear us out! Here’s an example. July is a famously expensive time to book a beach vacation /Disneyland trip to southern California and yet people do it – tolerate the crazy crowds at Disneyland, the high-priced flights and the unpredictable weather at the beach. Here’s a pro tip: June “gloom” and well into July some years does not equate to ideal beach weather. The southern Cali beaches are often overcast until after noon in June and July. It’s August and September when primo beach weather comes out to play – right on time for lower cost flights and accommodations!

The Holidays are an Unusual Bargain So Far – But Don’t Wait Too Long!
Usually, Labor Day and Independence Day are crazy expensive. Not so, this year. The 4th of July is on a Thursday, which makes it a trickier proposition for some folks to take time off work. We’re not exactly sure what combination of factors are causing Labor Day to be a good deal, but we can assume that the closer we get to the end of the summer, the less choice you’ll have for the best itineraries on flights and the fares will climb. Holidays mean you generally pay a premium for airfare. Keep that in mind and don’t delay starting your flight search.

Keep checking back for ideas and tips on summer flights for families, roadtrippers, backpackers, you name it! You’ll be living in flip flops and a bikini before you know it. Happy travels!

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4 Comments

  1. Hi I have to fly to South Carolina November 7 to 11 for an event. When is the best time to book to get the best deals. Thanks

    1. Hi Nedd, early November is shoulder season for most destinations around the country. Unless there is a large number of events in your city in South Carolina you likely have both a lot of wiggle room in when to book, and a good chance of snagging a reasonable fare. You should read through our annual flight report to get a better idea of the prime booking window – the set of dates we suggest you use to find the most reasonable airfares: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/cheapair-coms-5th-annual-airfare-study-reveals-the-best-time-to-buy-airline-tickets/. Good luck to you! If you’d like more custom advice, we’d just need to know the city pairs (what city you are traveling from and to…)

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