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Air Travel

The Cheapest Time to Book Flights to Popular Destinations, According to Skyscanner Data

Skyscanner's Savings Generator feature uses airfare data to show the cheapest time to book specific routes.

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When you're about to book flights, it’s easy to have a moment of doubt. “Is this really the best time to buy a ticket? Should I wait? Or have I waited too long already?” These questions feel even more important now that the price of plane fares has risen substantially thanks to strong demand for travel once again.

Some international airfares, like those from the U.S. to Asia, have jumped by 50 percent this year compared to the same time in 2022, according to CNN. Domestic flights are about 20 percent more expensive than in 2022. 

Given all this, it's not surprising that travelers want to take advantage of any hacks that can cut costs when planning their holiday—and this is where Skyscanner comes in. The flight search engine platform has developed a tool that can help you find the best possible fare prices for your trip. Named the Savings Generator (which is still in beta mode), the tool could help travelers save big on flight tickets by identifying the optimal times to book and also by choosing the cheapest day of the week to travel—all based on previous data on flight prices.

When testing it for a route from New York to Athens, the Savings Generator advised that, on average, 30 weeks before departure was the best time to book flights, and the cheapest day of the week to travel is on a Monday.

But these are not the only factors the tool can take into account to save money. Prices not only change depending on the destination, but travelers will find different results for the same destination, depending on the month they travel. 

So, for example, if you depart from Atlanta, the cheapest day of the week to travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July is a Sunday, while from Boston to San Juan, it is a Tuesday. Similarly, the best time to book a flight from Dallas to Mexico City in July is 26 weeks in advance, while from Miami to Mexico City, you’ll ideally want to book your trip 34 weeks before departure.

“As we’re experiencing a cost-of-living crisis, price plays a big role,” says Jemma Porter of SkyScanner. “According to our research, 19 per cent of people think that the cost of flights is the most important consideration when booking a trip. So, we’re putting our data to good use by helping you find the best time to book.”

As the tool determines the average price for a route, you’ll know if you're paying a typical price for your ticket; the cheapest and the most expensive days of the week to fly on a selected route, in each month of the year, and how far in advance you should book, as based on historical average prices. With this new platform, it will be easier for many travelers to save money on their next trip.

A version of this article originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveler Spain.