This blog post was updated on May 9, 2022.

Many travelers have speculated or done studies about the best days and times to book flights. After all, when you choose to book can greatly impact how much (or, hopefully, how little) you spend. But, we wondered, how far in advance should you book a flight? Well, that depends on what type of flight you’ll be booking. Will you be flying domestically or internationally? Are you book around the holidays? Are you going to be using your rewards points? So many questions and so little time! Don’t worry, we’ve narrowed all of it down so that you can decide when to book your trip. Get your calendars out and start planning!

If You’re Flying Domestically

How Far In Advance Should You Book a Flight for Domestic Trips

When it comes to domestic travel, some experts say that your best bet is to book around 64 days before the departure date. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you have to book airline tickets exactly 64 days before your flight, but sometime around then. You’ll also want to consider which season you’re booking in. If you’re booking flights in the summer, do so around 67 days before departure for the cheapest flight option. For spring, book around 84 days before your trip; for winter, book around 94 days prior to your flight. Others argue that booking 1-4 months ahead of time will get you the best results. But most people agree on one thing. This is because when tickets are first released, they tend to be more expensive. But as it gets closer to the travel date, you’ll most likely see those prices start to come down. Unless you’re looking to book around the holidays, the idea is to book close, but not too close.

Related: Looking to Book on the Least Busy Day to Fly? Here’s What You Need to Know!

When You’re Flying Internationally

How Far In Advance Should You Book a Flight for International

We recommend booking cheap flights at least six months before departure. But, you should also pay attention to the current trends and start thinking about where you want to travel around 10 months ahead of time. Keep doing research on your preferred destination, or sign up for fare alerts. If you notice prices going down, you may want to wait until the six-month period passes before you book. But, it also depends on where you’re traveling to. Trends show that some of the lowest fares on flights to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean occur around two months before departure. If you’re flying to the Middle East, we recommend booking between one to five months before your trip. Heading to Asia or Europe? Book around 120 days in advance. Whatever you do, just make sure you don’t wait until the month before because prices tend to rise around 30 days before departure.

If You’re Booking During the Holidays

How Far In Advance Should You Book a Flight for Holiday Trips (1)

When booking a seasonal trip, you should always book early. While it’s hard to determine the best day or time to get the best deal, one thing we know for sure is that the higher the demand for flights, the higher the price. If you’re planning a trip home to see your family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, make sure to book at least two months in advance. The same rule can be applied to popular destinations, during busy travel times. For example, if you’re looking to visit the beach or Europe in the summer, know that you’re definitely not the only one and keep an eye on prices.

If You’ll Be Using Rewards Points

All of this is fine and good if you’re booking the normal way, but what if you’re going to be using your rewards points? Does that change anything? Well, experts say that the best time to book is either when flight schedules are first released or at the last minute. You can expect most airlines to post their first round of award seats around a year before the flight, and then again right before the flight. So, if you miss the year-in-advance booking, your other option is to wait until a few weeks before the flight leaves to catch those unsold seats. Or, if you want to get a great deal, transfer your points to an international carrier for a better deal since many international and domestic airlines partner up. Just be aware that it’s better to book sooner rather than later, especially if you’re booking international flights or if you’re looking for premium seating as those seats fill up fast. The longer you wait, the more points you may have to spend.

How far in advance do you normally book? Give us your methods in the comments section below!

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About The Author

Gabby Teaman is a content writer who loves writing (of course!), editing, food, and the Oxford comma. When she’s not writing for Fareportal, she can be found Snapchatting videos of her puppy, blasting show tunes, or watching Netflix, all while trying to read everything in sight.