When Should I Purchase My International Flights?

Timing is everything when making this large purchase!

When it comes to airfare, it’s all about the timing as airfares generally eat up 50% of your total trip budget!

CheapAir analyzed 350 million airfares to more than 3,000 international markets and identified the “Prime Booking Window” (the period of time when tickets can typically be purchased within five percent of the lowest possible price) for eight popular regions abroad.

International flights can cost two and a half times more than domestic flights on average, so getting the timing right can really pay off.

For travelers considering a Caribbean getaway, for example, booking flights 207 days prior to departure. Generally, the most inexpensive tickets will be available in January, after the holidays.

Consistent with the domestic airfare study, 70 days out is the best time to book flights to Mexico and Central America. For trips to South America, however, travelers should be prepared to book flights 110 days in advance.

In addition to avoiding travel during the peak summer months (June and July) trips to Europe should be booked 160 days prior to departure.

Travelers looking at taking far-flung trips to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the South Pacific should be prepared to plan far in advance.

The best deals are typically found 120 to 199 days ahead of departure. Flights to Africa and the Middle East should be monitored with extra care, as fares can easily fluctuate by more than $100 — the most of any market included in the review.
Of course, travelers should always set airfare alerts for their specific routes.