It seems as though there isn’t ever that “perfect” time to book holiday travel. With such high demand guaranteed, availability can be come scarce and prices become high. However, getting the best deal doesn’t have to feel like rolling dice. Start planning earlier and watch for price drops because as the old saying goes, the early bird often gets the worm.
According to Condé Nast Traveler, airlines usually set their schedules 330 days in advance but, they will fiddle with exact flight times and aircraft types up until about 90 days before the departure date. So, if you’re looking for the holiday season, you can start booking your flights as early as the end of January.
And, if prices go down following your purchase, most airlines will offer a refund in the form of a travel voucher or to your original payment method if you find a fare more than $10 cheaper. However, it must be in exchange for the exact same flight – dates and fare bucket.
Hotels will also typically match the lowest rate you find on another website as long as it’s for the same dates and room type.
Take note that booking within 21 days of departure typically means paying higher prices. 14-day and 21-day purchases are fairly common so it’s ideal to buy your tickets before those deadlines.
However, if booking early really isn’t your thing, then try to book between three and seven weeks prior for domestic flights and about three months ahead for international ones. In fact, Expedia found in 2019 that booking four weeks or more before your desired travel is your best bet for saving on flights.