The Best Day and Time to Book a Cheap Flight

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The adage, “There’s a time for everything,” has never been truer than when it comes to booking air travel.

If you’re planning a trip and you want to keep as much of your money as you can, the day you book your flight matters — a lot. That’s according to air travel data culled from several reputable sources, including Expedia, Kayak and

Want To Save on Booking Air Travel? Timing Is a Big Factor

In this article, we’ll cover when to book a flight under various scenarios so that you can save the maximum amount of money. Throughout, we’ll get key travel tips from money expert Clark Howard.

Here are the best times for air travel and how much you’ll save:

SourceBest Time To…DaysSavings %
ExpediaBook a Domestic FlightSunday6%
ExpediaBook an International FlightSunday13%
ExpediaTravel Via PlaneThursday16%
How Far in Advance To…
Book a Domestic Flight21-28 Days Out10%-24%
ExpediaBook an International FlightAround 60 Days Out10%

Now let’s look at when to book a flight based on the following times and scenarios:

When To Book:

When To Fly:

In general, Clark adheres to a travel rule that allows the airline industry to choose the timing and destination of his trips, which is good for his wallet.

“The key rule when you want to save money is, you find a deal and then figure out why you want to go there, instead of picking a date and a destination and saying, ‘What’s the cheapest fare there?’”

Read about Clark’s #1 Travel Rule to save on air travel.

When To Book

travel calendar

The question of “when to book” your flight is not a one-size-fits-all equation. Much depends on your circumstances and even if you’re taking advantage of flight credits, rewards and more.

How Far in Advance Should I Book My Flight?

The airlines typically publish their flight schedules months in advance. For example, on, if you select the current day as your departure date — whatever it is — as an exercise, go through the future months to see how far out it will let you book. This will give you an idea of the extent of the flight schedule (when I tried it, it was about 11 months out, give or take a few days). Other airlines will be similar.


Just because you can, it doesn’t mean that you should book your flight as soon as itineraries are available.

For Domestic Travel says, “In general, giving yourself at least 21 days’ notice to begin searching and purchasing a fare will maximize your ability to shop wisely.”

According to Expedia’s latest Air Travel Hacks Report, the sweet spot for booking a domestic flight is 28 days prior to departure. “Travelers saved up to 24% compared to those who booked at the last minute, surpassing the 10% savings travelers saw on average in 2022,” it says on

For International Travel

For flights abroad, you’ll want to book around 60 days out. Not only will this save you an average of 10% but the availability of tickets will be optimal as well, according to Expedia.

What you don’t want to do is book more than four months out, the site says.

Best Month To Book a Flight

In general, the winter months are when you’ll find the cheapest flights: Think January for airfare deals. When warmer weather and the travel season arrive, deals will be fewer and far between.

Travel search aggregator says the best time to book flights to places like Los Angeles, New York and even London and Japan, is the first month of the year.

Of course, one month won’t tell the whole story. Travel site says your destination matters as well. The travel site says it saw its cheapest fares to Africa in May. For Asia, it was August and October.

Best Day To Book a Flight

Sunday is the cheapest day to book a flight, saving travelers up to 13% compared to other days of the week, Expedia says, which based its data on the average price of a round-trip ticket. Fridays were the most pricey.

When To Fly

when to travel

We talked about the best specific times to book your plane ticket. That’s only half of the booking process. Now, let’s get into the best times to actually fly based on the following factors:


Time of Day

Flying earlier in the day gives you the best opportunity to avoid high-priced tickets.

Additionally, Expedia reports that catching a flight anytime before 3 p.m. drastically increases your chances of departing and arriving on time. “Flights departing after 3 p.m. statistically have a 50% higher chance of being canceled than earlier flights,” the site says.

“The earlier flights of the day give you more flexibility in terms of how you’re going to get to where you’re going,” Clark says.

Time of Year

Because airlines do their flight schedules so many months in advance, it can be tempting to book the first airfare we see, but that’s not how you save money.

In response to a listener on his podcast who wanted to know if it was a good idea to book a flight to Prague for travel in early November, Clark gave some sage advice we’d all do well to heed when it comes to booking international flights.

“You don’t want to get too far ahead of the calendar in booking. It would be much to your advantage to wait for a sale on fall airfares,” Clark says. “If you book this far ahead, you’re not getting the advantage of the off-peak fare sales that will occur.”

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s no magical time or day that will guarantee you’ll save untold amounts of money if you abide by them. Where you’re going, which airports you fly out of and into as well as time of year and whether it’s a holiday or not all are factors when it comes to paying for airfare.

That’s why Clark says above all else, find the deal first, then book your travel. The first step in that is to use a tool that shows cheap fares.

One of our faves is Google Fights. Read our guide on how to save on travel with Google Flights.


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