Why right now is the best time to score cheap holiday flights

Banu Ibrahim
Updated 4th January 2018

Story highlights

  • Finding cheap holiday flights is all about how early in advance you end up booking. Expedia claims that this timeframe is the best time to book.

Scoring a cheap flight is an art form. The thought is that certain days are better for booking than others and specific timeframes can yield the cheapest results. If you're not cognizant of the exact day and time you're browsing flights, you could miss out on massive markdowns.

Take for instance the booking timeframe. Chancing your flights to the last minute could leave prices skyrocketing or even sold out. Too early means you could be dishing out too much money instead of waiting for a deal to come around. In true "Goldilocks" form, there is a time that is just right.

According to a recent study from Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), to get the best bang for your buck, shop for your flights at least 21 days or more in advance. The study claims that this timeframe offers the best discounts (as much as 30 percent for trips within the U.S. and Europe). And yes, if you were checking your calendar, that means you'll want to buy your Christmas and New Year's flights right now.

Some affordable flights within the U.S. we've scouted are as low as 80 bucks on CheapFlights. Expedia also has daily deals on both flights and hotels, which restart every 24 hours. When we were scouring the site, we noticed hotel stays in Las Vegas for under $30 a night, as well as international flights to London for just over $400 round trip.

If you're ready to peruse some of the holiday savings, we recommend CheapTickets, Expedia, TripAdvisor and CheapAir as solid places to start.

The study, which pulled together over a billion data points to analyze the trends, provided other useful nuggets of information. For example, the best day to book is on Sundays (so clear your calendars), and try and book your flights and hotels simultaneously since industry pricing rules allow for package bookings to be offered at an even steeper discount.

And with all the money you could end up saving on your flight home, you might have enough in the bank to plan more than one vacation before 2018 arrives. Because two long weekends are always better than one.

Note: The prices reflect the listed retailer's price on the date this article was published.