best time to book flight

CheapAir Reveals Best Time to Book International Flights

A 2023 study by CheapAir.com analyzed 917 million airfares across 10 global regions, uncovering the best times to book international flights. 

The report’s consumer insights include the most and least expensive months to travel, when to buy flights for the best deal, the cheapest days to travel, and the impact of seasonal variations. With global travel expected to increase by 30 percent this year, along with limited flight availability and ever-changing fuel costs, the key is to plan ahead and book early to obtain affordable airfare.

At the same time, quite a few regions of the world aren’t seeing a ton of volatility. So while the “best” price is found close to fare publication date, you can also usually get a “reasonable” fare a bit closer to your travel date.

Keep in mind people increasingly want to travel to international destinations, and the supply to some destinations is struggling to meet demand. In addition, fuel prices are high. Those factors are resulting in higher international airfares than we’ve seen in past years. So shopping early is the best way to get the lowest prices for many locations.

cheapair international when to buy in 2023

Best Time to Book Flights to Canada

When flights to Canada are published, they’re at their lowest price, on average. But Canada flights aren’t terribly volatile, so if you prefer to wait you can also get a well-priced flight all the way up to around 3 months before your travel dates. Airfares to Canada are about 25% more on average than they were in 2022.

  • Best Time to Buy Canada Flights: About 10 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Canada: About 3 to 10 months before your travel date
  • The average airfare: $455
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Canada: The cheapest flights to Canada are on Tuesdays, saving $47 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday
  • Cheapest months to travel to Canada: February and March
  • Most expensive months to travel to Canada: July and December
  • Seasonality for Canada flights: Prices for travel in the spring are where the bargains are seasonally. You can save almost $50 per ticket on average by traveling in the spring rather than the summer.

Best Time to Book Flights to Mexico

Mexico will be popular as it always is for international travelers from the U.S. In 2023, the best airfare prices pop up early when the fares are published. However, like a lot of international destinations this year, the fares aren’t fluctuating wildly. Buy on the early side to get the best deals, but you can shop around 1.5 months out and still see reasonable cheap international flights depending on your specific plans. Overall, airfares are trending about 10% higher this year over 2022.

  • Best Time to Buy Mexico Flights: About 10 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Mexico: 1.5 to 10 months before your travel date
  • The average airfare: $504
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Mexico: The cheapest flights to Mexico are on Wednesdays, saving $95 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday.
  • Cheapest months to travel to Mexico: Your biggest bargains this year will be in February and September. Traveling in February can save you more than $200 0n average than a December vacation.
  • Most expensive months to travel to Mexico: November and December
  • Seasonality for Mexico Flights: Thanksgiving or Christmas in Mexico are the most expensive times to vacation in Mexico. Don’t wait to shop for your holiday flights.

Best Time to Book Caribbean Flights

The Caribbean is a good deal in 2023. Prices are up, but have increased less than many other regions (about 7%). With a little bit of advance planning, you can actually put together a relatively affordable last-minute international trip with little hassle.

  • Best Time to Buy Caribbean Flights: About 10 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for the Caribbean: About 2 to 10 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $548
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to the Caribbean: The cheapest flights to the Caribbean are on Tuesdays, saving $79 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday
  • Cheapest months to travel to the Caribbean: January and February
  • Most expensive months to travel to the Caribbean: July and December
  • Seasonality for Caribbean Flights: In the spring, you can wait to buy your flights longer than the other seasons. In fact, the best fares can be found from 2 months to 5.5 months out.

Best Time to Book 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 10 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Central America: About 3 to 10 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $577
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Central America: The cheapest flights to Central America are on Wednesdays, saving $67 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday
  • Cheapest months to travel to Central America: February and May.
  • Most expensive months to travel to Central America: November and December. December tickets will run you about $200 more on average than in November, and more than double the least expensive month of February. Keep that in mind as you consider the month you choose to travel.
  • Seasonality for Central America Flights: Spring is the most affordable time to travel to Central America, with ticket prices running about $68 less than the average of the other 3 seasons. Book early to save.

Best Time to Book Flights to South America

South American airline tickets follow the trend of flights being more expensive than they were last year. Fares are about 13% more expensive than in 2022. Book early for the best possible deals, book 2.5+ months before travel to get a “reasonable” deal, or book a flight in South America’s rainy season (February and March) to get a lower airfare.

  • Best Day to Buy South America Flights: About 10 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for South America: 2.5 to 10 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $798
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to South America: The cheapest flights to South America are on Tuesdays, saving $75 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Saturday
  • Cheapest months to travel to South America: February, March and May.
  • Most expensive months to travel to South America: July and December. December tickets will set you back $227 more on average than the next most expensive month (July).
  • Seasonality for South America Flights: Spring is the most affordable time to travel to South America, mainly because it’s the rainy season for a number of South American countries. Spring air ticket prices to South American countries are about $110 less than winter tickets, which is the high season in the southern hemisphere. For all seasons, you’ll want to book as early as you can to get the lowest airfare prices.

Best Time to Book Flights to Europe

Demand is way up for travel to EU countries this year – mainly because of the dollar’s strength against the Euro. 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. Are you sensing a theme for cheap international flights this year?

  • Best Day to Buy Europe Flights: About 10 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Europe: 1.5 to 10 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $986
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Europe: The cheapest flights to Europe are on Tuesdays, saving $121 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Saturday
  • Cheapest months to travel to Europe: February and March
  • Most expensive months to travel to Europe: June, July and August
  • Seasonality for Europe Flights: This year, the average price of an airline ticket to Europe between May andAugust is $1,247, while flights to Europe during the fall shoulder season average almost $334 less. Even better – winter flights to Europe will save you a whopping $404 on average over taking a summer trip across the pond.

Best Time to Book Flights to Africa

Airfare to Africa appears stable in 2023. There’s no discernable difference in flight price from 2022 to 2023. 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 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Africa: 2.5 to 10 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $1,287
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Africa: The cheapest flights to Africa are on Tuesdays, saving $90 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Saturday
  • Cheapest months to travel to Africa: February and March
  • Most expensive months to travel to Africa: July and December
  • Seasonality for Africa Flights: For most of the year, you’ll want to book flights to African countries as early as you can. Spring is one exception, where you can find the best deals quite a bit closer to your travel dates. You can book about 3 months in advance and still get a good price, on average.

South Pacific: Best Time to Book Flights to Oceana

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: 10 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for the South Pacific: 1.5 to 10 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $1,977
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to the South Pacific: The cheapest flights to the South Pacific are on Tuesdays, saving $141 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Wednesday
  • Cheapest months to travel to the South Pacific: October and November
  • Most expensive months to travel to the South Pacific: December and January
  • Seasonality for South Pacific Flights: Your best cheap international flights to South Pacific destinations can be found in Fall, when you’ll pay nearly $300 less than in the winter months (which is high season/summer in the southern hemisphere).

Best Time to Book Flights to Asia

Asia flights are expensive in 2023. In fact, they’re up about 33% over 2022 airfare. The best advice we can give in this situation is to buy flights to Asia as early as you can, when you’ll get the best prices available.

  • Best Day to Buy Asia Flights: About 10 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for Asia: 4.5 to 10 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $2,046
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to Asia: The cheapest flights to Asia are on Wednesdays, saving $286 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Saturday
  • Cheapest months to travel to Asia: February and March
  • Most expensive months to travel to Asia: December and July
  • Seasonality for Asia Flights: Airfare prices in the summer months are around $300 more than flights for the other seasons, but there isn’t too much difference between the seasons on when you should buy. Just book early to get the best prices in 2023.

Best Time to Book Flights to the Middle East

The Middle East sees a small increase in price this year – up about 8% over 2022. In these inflationary times, that’s not so bad! Book early for the best cheap international flights across the board – no matter the season.

  • Best Day to Buy Middle East Flights: About 10 months from your travel date
  • Prime Booking Window for the Middle East: 2.5 to 10 months from your travel date
  • The average airfare: $1085
  • Cheapest Days to Fly to the Middle East: The cheapest flights to the Middle East are on Tuesdays, saving $96 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday
  • Cheapest months to travel to the Middle East: February and March
  • Most expensive months to travel to the Middle East: December and July
  • 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 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.

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.

best days to book in 2023

 

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