For the love of god, please stop clicking on posts that say there is a magic day for buying airline tickets at the lowest price. There’s not. Trust me, I’d know about it and so would you. If there was, we’d all log on the same day, same time, pay the lowest price every time, and travel would be a cheap and easy breeze. As if. In an effort to shut down those posts forever, here is all you need to know to get the best deal on your flight, every time, no matter where you’re going…

a close up of a ticket

There Is No Magic Day, But There Is Generally A Range

Studies love to cite one perfect day for buying flights. They say the optimal times for the lowest fares are 54 days for domestic and 112 days for international tickets. That’s fine, they’re not entirely wrong, but they are not right. The answer is that really, any time from 200 days to 21 days could be the lowest, with international tickets often best in the 80-120 range and domestic tickets, best within the 121-21 range. 54 is a fine number to shoot for, but it’s not about calendars, it’s about knowledge of pricing for your route, knowing a great price when you see it. Booking late is often the only time you get truly screwed, as close in booking fees appear and your ability to score advanced purchase fares disappears.

a close-up of a blue and white ticket

Know What’s Fair In Peak and Off Peak Seasons

This is the unfortunate real reason why everyone taps into clickbait “perfect day” posts. The best way to know a great price, and when to book, is to know the going rates and what constitutes a great deal. I look at travel fares every day. I know that during the winter, a ticket from New York to London can be as low as $500 bucks in a sale, whereas in the summer, you’ll hardly ever find a flight for less than $1200. It applies all around the world for whatever peak and off peak entails for each destination. Hint, if it’s a tropical destination, it’s going to be peak when the weather is nice. By shopping around continuously for an extended period, I know when I see good value, I know when I don’t.

a passport and money on a table

Don’t ALWAYS Buy Into Airline “Sale” Emails…

Put it this way, if there’s a sale I’m interested in, it’s generally not being blasted to my email inbox by any airline. If it is, it’s a 24-48 hour flash sale. Of course there are exceptions, but generally you should be wary of those emails. Click, look and based off of your knowledge from previous searches go from there. If it’s a great deal, which is possible, go ahead, but don’t just buy because someone says SALE. It’s the oldest trick in the book.

a credit card and a card with a red graph

Use A Price Tracker

Many top search engines will allow you to create price alerts for any flight around the world. Why not take advantage? AirFareWatchDog, Kayak and others allow you to input your ideal flight dates and a strike price, a price at which you’d be a buyer. There’s no commitment, but if the price hits your number, they’ll let you know, allowing you to take advantage at what you believe is a great rate before it sells out. 

a pile of money on a table

Even If You Over Pay, You May Get Money Back!

There are some cool new apps and companies out there looking to stick it to the man for overcharging you. I’m cool with that. Yapta and FairFly are two apps which track your fare and price paid, and if fluctuations occur over certain amounts, that may trigger the need for a refund. Some airlines will refund anything over the “lowest fare guarantee”, while others will refund anything more than a $50, or $100 price drop. They’ll even do everything to get your refund processed.

a bed with a blanket and a blanket on the side of a seat

Deal Sites Are Almost Priceless

We’re all busy people. Thankfully, there are sites like AirFareWatchDog, TheFlightDeal, SecretFlying, of course GodSaveThePoints, which show off record low fares every day, from all over the world. I get notifications on Facebook whenever a new deal is posted, and some are truly “drop everything and book” shocking. Sometimes you’ll even find business class for less than you were willing to pay for coach. Jump on it!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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