How Far In Advance Should You Book Airfare?

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Finding the cheapest airfare is a game of skill. Although there are times when you happen to find an awesome deal, you are more likely to hunt down that perfect flight by using a few strategic methods. Read my post about my favorite ways to find cheap flights here. One of these tactics is knowing when flights are statistically at their lowest price.

According to CheapAir the absolute cheapest day to buy a domestic flight is 54 days before departure. For 10 1/2 months they monitored over 4 million flights and came up with some extremely useful stats on when to buy your flight.


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The biggest misconception that people have is that if you wait until the last minute, airlines will try to get rid of any seats left and drastically reduce the price. In reality, that just does not happen and you will end up paying ALOT more! Start looking at flights early and keep an eye on the ones you are interested in. Starting at 104 days before departure, fares are usually within $10 of their lowest price. They bottom out at 54 days before departure and slowly start rising from there. Two weeks before departure, they start to skyrocket!


There is an exception to this stat and its during high-demand times like Florida for Spring Break, or travel around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Keep in mind these seasonal demands or events that could cause prices to go up. You will most likely need to book earlier than 54 days in advance for those circumstances.

Also, 54 days before departure only applies to domestic flights. That means only if you are flying within the U.S. If you are flying international, follow these guidelines published by CheapAir after studying over 1 million international flights:

Canada: 75 days

Mexico: 75 days

Caribbean: 320 days

Latin America: 70 days

Europe: 120 days

Africa: 215 days

Middle East: 215 days

Asia: 160 days

Australia/South East Asia/South Pacific: 320 days

While every travel itinerary is different, keeping this guideline in mind could help save you money.

The Takeaway

  1. For domestic flights, flights are statistically at their lowest 54 days before departure. International flights follow different guidelines.
  2. Start researching flights early so you can become familiar with the pricing. Be aware of seasonal demands or events that could cause prices to go up. In those cases, you might need to book earlier.
  3. Dont be afraid to pull the trigger. Stats show that people who bought earlier still pay less than people who waited until the last minute. Also, I am a huge fan of the “peace-of-mind factor” where I have everything booked and dont have to worry anymore!

When is the earliest or latest you have booked a flight? Have you ever found an insane deal by chance? Share in the comments or send me a message!

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