Although summer is still several weeks away, many people have already booked and paid for their summer holiday. In fact, you probably even know people who started planning their summer holiday last year!
If you've not yet booked anything yet, don't worry - we've got some good news for you.
Although booking well in advance sounds like good advice to ensure you don't miss out completely and to allow yourself enough time to find the right deal, the best time to book flights may not always be as early as you may think.
The General Rule
Recently, Kayak analysed millions of flights to find out what the best time is to book flights as well as the best days to fly.
The results showed that purchasing flights three months ahead of departure is generally best. However, although three months is the general rule, there are some exceptions. For example, research shows that the best deal for flights to Asia and New Zealand is seven months ahead of departure date.
For South America and the Middle East, the best prices were found five months in advance. Another exception to the rule is current buzz destination Reykjavik for which five months in advance was found to be the best time to book.
If you're heading to the U.S., and specifically popular cities such as Miami, Los Angeles, or New York, you can find great deals just two months before departure.
Avoid These Mistakes
While it's OK to have preferred airlines, when it comes to saving money and finding the best deal, it's better important to be open.
One big mistake many people make when booking flights is going straight to their preferred airline's website and booking directly with the airline. Using flight aggregator websites are your best bet, and frequently have cheaper prices for a flight than the airline's own website.
Another mistake is booking your flight too early (yes, there is such thing) or too late. Instead, use the timeline mentioned above.
Lastly, another mistake is rushing to book your flight and not spending enough time shopping around. Look at flight aggregator websites, spend at least an hour or two exploring your options.
But Look For These Mistakes
Keep an eye open for mistake fares. Yes, there is such a thing, and anytime you see one, you should swoop on it. Every now and you will find a system error where fares at the wrong price and it may take an hour or two before they realise their mistake. Take advantage!
However, you should wait until you receive confirmation before you back your bags. In many cases, upon discovering the mistake, the airline refund you the money, however, as reported in The Independent, and according to Jack Sheldon, founder of travel site Jack’s Flight Club, “Around 60 per cent of fares are honoured”. Additionally, according to Sheldon, “The premium carriers are often more likely to honour their mistake fares than airlines at the more budget end.”
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