SYDNEY, 20 FEBRUARY 2018 – Skyscanner Australia, the all-in-one travel app, has found1 that 75% of Aussies actually miss out on the best international flight bargains, while 90% lose out on the cheapest domestic deals by booking outside the ‘best time to book’ window – mostly when flights are booked too close to the departure date.
From the survey, 17% shared that they would book their international flights less than two months out, which coincides to when flight prices take an upward turn.
To help savvy travellers find the greatest deals and allow Aussies to keep up their ever-expanding appetite for travel, Skyscanner analysed millions of flight bookings made over the past two years, to reveal the Best Time to Book.
How far in advance should I book international flights?
On average, Skyscanner’s data shows that booking 22 weeks in advance to international destinations is the optimum time to get the greatest savings, though this will differ from destination to destination.
For example, travellers flying from Sydney to Hong Kong should think about booking 23 weeks in advance for savings of up to 12% ($135 ), while a getaway to Auckland can be booked 12 weeks in advance for savings of 5% ($25 ).
If travellers do not have the luxury of booking so far in advance, the tool also offers the second and third best times to book to still bag some savings. For example, Sydneysiders hoping to visit Los Angeles can save up to 7% ($113 * ) if they book 23 weeks in advance, but may still enjoy savings of up to 3% if they book 12 weeks before flying.
The general rule of thumb for getting cheap flights is to book as early as possible. But it also helps to know when the best time to book is so that travellers can make an informed decision on when to book to save as much as they can.
This year’s tool includes even more routes than before and drills into the best times to book at city level providing travellers with a more accurate and transparent view of potential savings when looking at when to book flights. — Robyn Lee, Senior Growth Manager at Skyscanner
Can I wait till the last minute to book domestic flights?
Skyscanner’s data revealed that, on average, flights to domestic destinations are best booked 21 weeks in advance to secure the best prices. However, it was found that nearly half (42%) of Aussies would only book their domestic flights less than two months before, which also happens to be when airfares starts to peak.
Similar to international airfares, advanced booking is key to saving money for domestic travel in 2018. For example, 13% ($70 * ) can be saved on flights from Sydney to Perth if booked 23 weeks ahead of travelling. In comparison, waiting until a week before travelling will tend to result in travellers paying a huge chunk of extra cash on flights to domestic destinations – in some cases up to 30% more!
It is a common misconception that domestic flights are consistently priced throughout the year, which could be why travellers choose to hold off on booking until closer to their travel date. However, our data has revealed that good savings can still be made for domestic travel by booking well ahead of time, added Robyn.
Best time to travel – When is the cheapest month to travel?
Apart from finding out the optimal window for booking flights, Skyscanner has also identified that May is the cheapest month to travel, with average savings of 13% to all major international and domestic destinations. Unsurprisingly, travelling in December is the most expensive – the festive period sees airfares surge by almost a third (32%) on average!
Is there a best day to book?
The survey also found that 61% of Aussies believe that booking midweek, between Tuesday to Thursday, will get them the best flight deals.
Addressing this belief, Robyn said:
We looked into our data to see if there really was a specific day or time of day to book flights but we found that savings were minimal day to day, for multiple different routes as airfare pricing is far more sophisticated.
The best way to find the cheapest flights is really to book as far in advance as possible, or as soon as you’re planning a trip. Even if you’re not ready to book, subscribing to Price Alerts for the flights you want will notify you of price drops so you can book when flight fares decrease.
1: The insights from this study are based on 1,200 responses gathered from an online survey conducted by Skyscanner Australia to better understand booking preferences and perceptions of Australian travellers.
*Based on the average return airfare for one person, travelling in economy class, in 2017.