Many seasoned travelers mistakenly believe that there is no way around inflated summer travel prices. While summer is when most solo travelers and families alike book trips, there are several windows to get cheaper flights during the season. Flights are typically the cheapest in early and late summer when there is less of a travel rush than during peak months like June, July, and mid-August.
Last year, we saw one of the most expensive summer travel seasons in recent years. Airfare has steadily increased by 5.4% between May 2019 and May 2023. With the steady rise in inflation, it stands to reason that this summer will bring pricier airfares, and recent data backs this up.
Skyscanner compiled data spanning millions of flight postings and searches and found that 90% of the searches are for flights during peak travel times. Most of these searches are for the first few weeks of summer break for students, and that’s the most expensive time to travel during the season.
This is the easiest time for many families to travel, but it also marks the beginning of airfare increases that continue through August. You can save 16% or more on airfare and hotel prices if you travel toward the end of summer, and a family of four could save nearly $300 on tickets alone.
According to Laura Lindsay from Skyscanner, “Over a third of Brits cut back elsewhere, including fewer meals out and less takeaways and coffees, in order to save for their summer holidays”. British people make up a huge part of the travelers in the world. Data shows that 1 in 12 international travelers in 2018 were British, but Skyscanner’s survey shows that many of them struggle to save on their trips.
Skyscanner’s massive survey showed that 84% of the participants would change their flight plans if they could get a better rate. This isn’t always possible as changing your flight plans at the last minute typically means that you’ll have to pay premium prices. That’s why it’s important to book your flight early, compare airlines, and avoid traveling at the beginning and middle of summer to get the best price.
You can also save money if you strategically plan your flight for less busy days. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest travel days throughout the week for domestic travel. It also helps to leave or return from your trip on a Sunday when airports aren’t too crowded, and you can get cheaper fares.
Travelers can save up to 15% on their fares when traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays. However, you cannot always depend on low rates on any given day of the week during the height of summer. For example, you are less likely to get low rates on slow travel days when flying to a popular destination, like Miami, Los Angeles, or New York City.
Popular travel destinations also come with higher airfare and hotel rates. Passenger demand is the biggest cost factor when it comes to ticket prices, and how soon you book your flight plays a big role as well. Ticket prices are the most expensive between 3 and 12 weeks of the flight.
Cheap Air’s data shows that you can get the best price on tickets 70 days before your departure. Depending on your destination, you could save up to 48% on the fare if you buy your tickets at that time. While 70 days is the sweet spot, travel experts typically recommend that you book your flight between 4 and 10 months before your flight. The airport that you depart from also affects how much your tickets will cost, so it’s important to compare them before you book your flight.
Ticket prices vary by up to $50 or more between airports depending on the demand, capacity, and layovers. For example, London Southend Airport typically has more expensive tickets than London Gatwick Airport despite their proximity. You could save up to $290 on four tickets to Spain from London Gatwick Airport in August compared to London Southend Airport.
Round-trip tickets to Orlando from Hartford cost as little as $156 through United Airlines, whereas flights from Boston Logan International Airport cost at least $217. Don’t hesitate to compare airlines, travel on quiet weekdays, and book your trip as early as possible to get cheaper flights this summer.