Whether you are a relative newcomer to the travel scene or an experienced jetsetter, one thing we all have in common is that we want to get the best deal. But when is the best time to book a cheap flight?

Point Hacks is generally focussed on getting the most out of your frequent flyer points. However, sometimes award tickets are just not available or perhaps you want to save your points for a specific dream trip.

So when is the best time to book a flight? KAYAK and Skyscanner have both released their findings on how to get the best deal on flights, so we’ve dug through both to draw some more conclusions.

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When is the best time to book domestic flights in Australia?

DestinationWeeks in advance
Gold Coast17
Other destinations13
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Headed to Cairns? The best time to book is three months before departure

The cheapest days to fly tend to be Wednesday (most common), and Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (tie).

When is the best time to book international flights from Australia?

DestinationWeeks in advance
Hong Kong15
New Zealand9
The Philippines11
United Kingdom15
United States8
United States domestic flights8
Other destinations8
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Singapore requires the most advance planning at 4+ months

The cheapest days to fly tend to be Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Tuesday (in that order).

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When is the best time to travel?

It depends on the destination but generally low (or shoulder) seasons run from February until May, and September to November. Note that school holidays during these periods prompt a spike in prices.

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When I’m planning a trip to a new place, I always look at the Climate section on that destination’s Wikipedia page. For example, I can see that the dry season in Cusco (the city closest to Machu Picchu) is May to September. However, that means it’s probably the most expensive, too.

But maybe the cheapest ticket is not the best ticket

The best time to book a flight should not be the only factor in making travel plans. You’ll also might want to take into account the:

  • total journey time
  • number of stops
  • points-earning potential
  • airline/s you prefer to fly with

In fact, Google Flights says 85% of its users select a suggested Best flight option over a cheaper one.

For example, let’s say you’re travelling from Brisbane to Copenhagen. You may choose the cheapest flight with Singapore Airlines and SWISS at $1,148 return. However, you’d have to make two stops to get there, in Singapore and Zurich. Do you really want to take three flights?

Google Flights Brisbane - Copenhagen result

Conversely, you could save 2½ hours and an extra flight for an extra $50.

Finally, if you wanted to spend a day exploring Singapore with an extended 18-hour layover, you could also pay an extra $50.


Summing up: when is the best time to book flights?

Basically, it literally pays to do your research. You can book the best itinerary by:

Do you have any other tips to score cheap flights? Share in the comments below!

When is the best time to book flights? [2020] was last modified: February 6th, 2020 by Matt Moffitt