Headed Overseas? New Study Finds the Best Times to Book Flights

A couple months ago, a study of airline prices claimed to have found the best booking window for booking domestic flights. Of course, when it comes to international travel, it’s a completely different story. As a result, CheapAir — the website that published the domestic study — has now released a separate study looking at the cheapest times for U.S.-based travelers to head overseas and the best time for them to buy their tickets.

Something that the newly-released report highlights is that different parts of the world have different off-seasons. This means that, while you may be able to book cheaper flights and accommodations for certain destinations at select times of the year, there may be a good reason why these periods are less popular. For example (and spoiler alert), the study found the cheapest time to visit was in November, which could still be considered typhoon season for some regions. Because of this, you’ll want to do some additional research on the locale you hope to travel to and determine whether the discounts are worth the potential disappointments.

With that disclaimer out of the way, what exactly did CheapAir’s study discover? For those looking to set off on a European excursion, the best time to book is apparently 160 days out, with the cheapest time to travel being in March. Meanwhile, with Canada located much closer to the United States than other countries and regions on the list, the advance booking window in also significantly shorter. CheapAir says that the best time to visit our neighbors to the north is in October and that you’re best off booking 66 days in advance. Similarly, for those visiting Mexico or Central America, you only need to worry about booking 70 days ahead of time and they say September is the cheapest time to go.

As mentioned earlier, the study recommended November for Asian travel, but they also note that booking 120 days before departure should net you the best price. Some of the other destinations the study looked at include Africa and the Middle East (book 199 days out, travel in February), the Caribbean (buy 207 days before, visit in January), South America (book 110 prior to departure, travel during February), and the South Pacific (buy 197 days before departure, visit during May).

Like with the domestic study, there are a couple of other notes to mention regarding the booking windows with this one. Among them, keep in mind that holidays, events, and other factors can have an effect on pricing and buck historical data trends. That said, CheapAir does maintain a cool widget that allows you to enter departure and destination locations in order to view average pricing data. This can then not only be used to determine what’s typically the best time to book but also help you build a budget for your ideal vacation. So, if you’ve been dreaming of your next big international trip and want to make it fit your budget, hopefully this latest study and additional tool can help your plans take off.


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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