Cheap Flight Day is August 23, a day when flights are supposed to be the best price all year. It’s now become a little like Black Friday for air travel.
But is this day really the best time to find the best deal?
Read more: The #1 rule of cheap travel
Clark talked on his radio show about how travel after Labor Day was traditionally a better deal because that’s when all the kids went back to school. But since kids go back earlier, the big time for cheap fall travel now begins after August 23. August used to be a peak month for family travel right before back-to-school, but not anymore: You’ll generally find the best deals in late-August as airline companies try to encourage people to fly as volume tapers off. Fares can drop anywhere from 10-20%!
Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare, agrees. He says, ‘August 23 marks the start of the fall travel season because a lot of kids are back in school and demand for leisure travel drops significantly. The airlines know when we want to fly (and when we don’t) and price fares accordingly.’
8 ways to save even more on flights
If you want to take advantage of some of these deals, here are 8 ways to save even more!
1. Use Google Flights.
Clark’s favorite tool to save on flights right now is Google Flights. You can search your destination and see the prices for every date in a particular week or month. For example, a search on Google Flights for domestic travel shows $197 round-trip flights from Atlanta to Los Angeles for dates in August, September and October. This is a much lower price that the rest of the year, and Google Flights automatically find the best fares and sorts them by lowest price.
Another cheap flight website is Momondo. Plug in your departure city and destination city, and Momondo will go to work for you to locate the best deal.
2. Fly on the cheapest days of the week.
Airlines definitely price fares differently on different days of the week. According to Fare Compare, the cheapest days of the week to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. But, you’ll want to avoid flying on Fridays and Sundays, as those are the most expensive days.
3. Choose inconvenience.
It might not be the most fun time to wake up, but generally, red-eye flights are a much better price than mid morning, as are late night flights.
Another perhaps inconvenient option is to use is called ‘hidden city ticketing.’ With this strategy, you bypass the routes that are most expensive. Clark calls it ‘a technique that’s been used by savvy travelers to fly on the cheap.’
4. Book about 8 weeks out.
The Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) found that the cheapest time to buy a ticket is 8 weeks before your trip.
5. Avoid checking baggage.
Unless you’re flying on Southwest where you get two checked bags for free, flying at the cheapest price may mean you give up checked baggage and just taking a carry-on. But, this is a good option for people who aren’t taking long flights, and you’re sure to avoid the snag of loosing your bags!
6. Get email alerts and book during a sale.
If there’s a particular airline you enjoy traveling with or you get points on a credit card you can apply toward an airline purchase, it might be worth it to sign up for email alerts to be notified whenever there’s a fare sale.
7. Choose cheap carriers.
Generally speaking, you’ll find the best deals on airlines such as Frontier, Spirit and JetBlue. These low cost carriers can save you the most on flights without all the bells and whistles, such as in-flight snacks and checked baggage. Frontier sometimes has fares as low as $19! If you really want to save the most, these carriers may be the overall best deal.
8. If traveling internationally, check out this website.
Clark has talked about this website before on the air that can save you hundreds on international travel. The catch? You have to be extremely flexible and book when the deals are. The site is called Scott’s Cheap Flights, and you can find some fantastic deals by signing up for Scott’s newsletter. He also has a paid version where he will send you even more of the best deals. Last week Scott found round-trip fares to Finland or Norway for $388 round-trip!
Bottom line: It’s not necessarily that the best deals on flights will happen on August 23 — though they might — but rather that flights will drop around that time. If you want to get away for a better deal, be on the lookout for prices to drop around then and on into fall, and take advantage of the above tips to save yourself the most!