Thinking about traveling somewhere in the continental U.S. for your summer vacation, but haven’t started looking for flights yet? It's time.
The best time to get the lowest fares for flights in the continental U.S. is on average 70 days in advance, according to CheapAir.com's 2018 annual airfare study, which analyzed 917 million flights last year in over 8,000 markets. That's 16 days earlier than the website found in its 2017 study.
Overall, travelers should look for flights between 21 and 121 days in advance of their travel time — the "prime booking window." The average best day and window can vary depending on season, market and length of stay. For example, for summer flights the prime booking window is 14 to 160 days in advance with an average best time to buy 47 days in advance.
Of course, simply planning a trip based on the number of days before setting out isn’t the only factor in finding a deal. Robert Firpo-Cappiello, editor in chief at budgettravel.com, recommends that travelers do their homework and check a variety of resources on price, but also remain flexible to get the best deals.
“By far the best way to save money on airfare is to be open to a range of flight dates and airports,” he says. “Check what’s cheap and consider making it a new destination. Groupon will sometimes offer incredible bargains to places you never considered visiting (but should).”