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Google Flights Reveals Savings Tips based on Historical Airfare Data

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Google Flights Savings Tips

Google Flights Reveals Savings Tips for Flights

Using miles and points is one of the best ways to save on airfare, especially when booking premium class. And we often write here on the site about how to best use your hard earned points. But there are also ways to get the best deals when actually paying for your flights.

With the holiday season around the corner, which brings a spike in air travel, affordability will be one of the main concerns. That’s a time when cheap fares are hard to find.

But Google Flights is aiming to help you save as much as possible. In a new blog post, it revealed an analysis of five years’ worth of historical airfare data to look for any patterns on when you should book, and travel. Check out these tips and hopefully you can save a few bucks on your next flight.

Book Cheapest Fares

Historically, it’s been cheaper to fly in the middle of the week than on the weekend, especially Sundays. On average, flights that depart on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday have been 12% cheaper than weekend departures. If you exclude international destinations, savings jump even higher to 20%.

Layovers are also a good way to save. If you’re able, and willing to include a layover, that’s your best bet to save money when you fly. On average, nonstop fares have been 20% higher than a flight with stops.

There’s also the myth that if you book on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays, then you’ll see cheaper fares. That myth is actually true, but flights don’t get that much cheaper. Google Flights data shows that if you shop for flights on those three days, prices have only been 1.9% cheaper on average over the past five years.

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When to Book

You should also book in advance in order to get the best deals. For U.S. domestic flights, prices have usually been their lowest 21-60 days out, with average prices bottoming out 44 days before departure. But keep in mind that these patterns may not hold true for your specific route, so planning and booking early is usually a good idea. below you can find specific windows based on when you’re traveling:

  • Thanksgiving or Christmas: For domestic Thanksgiving travel, you’ll want to plan a bit further ahead. In the past, the lowest prices have usually been found 36-74 days before departure, hitting their lowest point 52 days out. For domestic trips around Christmas, the lowest average prices have been 22 days before departure, but that may be cutting it close. Prices have tended to drop anywhere between 20 and 88 days before departure.
  • Spring break flights: Ready for some fun after the winter doldrums? For domestic trips beginning in March or April, prices have typically been lowest 23-59 days before departure, and 38 days out is when they’ve hit their low point.
  • Summer vacation: School’s out and summer’s in. For domestic trips beginning in July or August, prices have been lower 14-44 days before departure, and the lowest average prices are usually 21 days out.
  • From the U.S. to Europe: For trips to Europe from the U.S., prior trends suggest you’ll want to book on the earlier side. You will find the best deals usually 129 days before departure and prices tend to be lower anywhere between 50 and 179 days out.
  • From the U.S. to Mexico or the Caribbean: In prior years, average airfares from the U.S. to Mexico or the Caribbean have been lowest between 37 and 87 days before departure, and 59 days out is when they’ve hit their lowest point.

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Use Google Flights Features

Google Flights has some useful features to help you save. It shows you if the prices you see in your search results are low, typical or high. Search for your origin and destination and you’ll see price insights to let you know whether the current price is a good deal, compared to prices cataloged over the past 12 months for similar flights. On select searches, you will also see if prices are expected to change significantly in the future.

Turn on price tracking so you don’t miss out. Toggle on tracking for your destination and dates of travel, and you’ll receive an email if prices change substantially. Or, if you’re more flexible on when to travel, you can turn on tracking for ‘Any dates’ to get notified of price drops for flights departing in the next 3 to 6 months.

Use the calendar view, date grid and price graph to see how fares change. The calendar view and date grid let you see how much you can save if you’re flexible on your departure and return dates. The price graph shows you what prices look like for an ‘X day’ long trip, depending on the departure date.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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