Planning a long-overdue vacay for this summer? We’ve rounded up our best tips and advice for the best time to book flights for 2021 so you can make sure you get a good deal.
If you’re planning an early summer trip:
If you’re looking for a flight in May or June, the best time to book flights is by the end of April. As more people get vaccinated, travel demand will continue to increase—and the more demand there is for travel, the higher flight prices will become. Early summer (May and early June) also tend to be the cheapest summer tickets in general, so booking an early trip will make it easier to find cheaper fares.
Currently, there’s still TONS of great deals for summer flights, however, we expect that prices will start to rise more steeply in May, and throughout the summer as travel becomes safer and easier. As a result, if you want to lock in your cheap fares, now is the best time to book flights!
If you’re planning a trip for later this summer:
Even if you’re planning on traveling much later in the summer (July/August), it’s a good idea to still book your trip by the end of April, if you know when and where you want to go. Prices are already beginning to rise as more and more people get vaccinated (or look forward to getting vaccinated), so we expect that trend to continue throughout the summer.
In short: if you want to lock in a super-cheap flight with some of the rock-bottom fares we’ve been seeing, now is the time to book. Once airfare starts rising for summer demand, it’s unlikely to drop quite this low again (for awhile at least).
It makes sense that you might feel hesitant to book a trip now for later this summer, given all the changing travel requirements and uncertainty over the past year, but you can actually confidently book your flight early on an airline that has waived change fees! United, American, Delta and other airlines have all waived change fees permanently, making it easier (and cheaper) than ever to book a flight long in advance.
If you end up needing to change your flight later, you’ll won’t have any fees (you will have to pay any fare differences). Best case scenario: you lock in a super cheap flight and don’t have to deal with any changes. Worst case scenario: your plans change and you have to call to make a change, plus pay for any fare differences (but at least you locked in your ticket, so you don’t have trouble finding an itinerary that works for you); or you have to cancel your trip and get a credit to use in the future on that airline.
If you’re planning a trip for fall:
If your trip isn’t on the calendar until fall, you can wait a bit longer to buy your flights. After all, you’ve got some time—and it’s unlikely that seats on fall flights will start selling out by now.
Our prediction, though, is that travel demand will be high by the time fall rolls around, and that airfare will likely be higher than normal in response. If you want to get the best deal on fall flights, definitely book early—the best time to book flights for fall will be 2-3 months in advance (or more, if you see a good deal).
What’s the cheapest day of the week to buy flights?
It’s an urban legend that the cheapest day to buy flights is on Tuesdays (or any other day, really). We’ve searched through several years of data from our site and it turns out that you can find a great deal any day of the week. If you want to know the cheapest day to book your flights, it’s any day we launch a new sale. And when exactly is that, you may ask? Just sign up for our emails and we’ll let you know every time we drop new promo codes.
What’s the cheapest day to travel?
Contrary to popular belief, the day of the week that you’re actually traveling on matters much more for price than the day of the week that you buy the ticket. Tickets are typically cheaper if you fly on a weekday (particularly Tuesdays and Wednesdays) than on weekends. Of course, early morning flights or “red-eye” flights (overnight flights) are usually a lot cheaper as well.
How far in advance should I book my tickets?
Generally, for domestic tickets, the best time to book is at least 2 weeks in advance, or up to 3 months in advance. For international tickets, you typically want to book at least 60-90 days in advance, or earlier if you can. That’s especially true for summer. Since it’s the most popular time of the year to travel, cheap flights can sell out further in advance than for travel during other times of the year. As a result, if you’re looking to find the cheapest options, start looking early! And be ready to book when you see a good deal.
Where are you hoping to travel this summer? Find your cheap summer flights now and snag a deal before prices go up!