The cheapest times to find tickets

It’s a mystery that can stump even the most seasoned of travellers: when is the best time to buy flights to ensure the best possible deal?

Many a bearded backpacker will declare with exquisite confidence you must wait as late as possible before booking any sort of plane travel, that ideally the time between thumbing your PIN and heeding your final boarding call should not exceed one minute. Because, you will be told, all airlines body-slam their fares just before take-off in one last desperate attempt to squeeze an extra buck, and basically work on a Lastminute.com business model.

Others will tell you the opposite, that you must book so far in advance that by the time you fly you should really be married in the suburbs with a Labrador and working in middle management, else something has gone seriously awry in your life.

It's all about the destination

As you might imagine, neither answer is quite right, at least not according to travel comparison website Kayak.co.uk, which has analysed millions of flights to determine the best time to book tickets for certain destinations. And that’s the key: certain destinations. Depending on where you want to fly to from the UK, the best time to book varies dramatically, meaning there is no universal rule.

If you’re flying to Europe, for example, the cheapest time to book tickets is one month before departure. If you’re organised enough to pay for tickets to Europe six months in advance, you could end up paying almost 25% more.

Conversely, if Asia is in your sights, the optimum time to book your flights is seven months in advance, at an average price of  £606, as opposed to £647 for a booking made one month in advance.

If you want to go to North America, tickets are cheapest two weeks before travel.

This is the full list:

The best days of the week to travel

The website has also worked out the cheapest days of the week to fly, again dependent on destination. The only weekend day to make the list is Sunday if returning from Europe.


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