Secrets of budget travel: how to find cheap airline tickets

By Iryna BolshakovaJun 25, 2024 09:25 AMBlog
How to find the best airfare
How to find the best airfare. Source: Image by freepik

Looking for ways to save money on airfare? You're on the right track! Whether you're flying for a vacation to the tropics or planning a business trip to another city, understanding when and how to buy tickets can cut costs significantly. In this article, we'll cover the best days and times for cheap flights, and share helpful tips for domestic and international flights. Avoid overpayments and enjoy traveling without spending too much.

Best days of the week for cheap flights

If you want to save money on airfare, choosing the day of the week to fly plays a key role. According to research and data, Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days to travel.

Why this is the case.

  1. Less demand. Most people prefer to fly on weekends or on Friday and Monday to make the most of their vacation or business travel time. Fewer passengers in the middle of the week means airlines lower prices to attract more travelers.
  2. Sales and promotions. Airlines often start sales on Tuesday to compete with other carriers that launch promotions earlier in the week. This creates a favorable environment for passengers looking to find cheap tickets.

Studies show that midweek flights can be 10-20% cheaper compared to weekends. For example, a ticket from London to New York on Wednesday can cost around $400, while on Saturday the same flight can cost $500 or more.

How to choose the best day?

The first rule of budget flights is flexibility. If you're not tied to a specific departure date, use the "flexible schedule" features on ticket search sites to find the cheapest days to fly.

And of course, keep an eye out for sales. Sign up for airline newsletters to be notified of special offers and discounts.

By scheduling your flights on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you can save a lot on tickets and use that money for other enjoyable aspects of your trip, such as sightseeing or tasting the local cuisine.

Best time of day for cheap flights

How to save money on airfare
How to save money on airfare. Source: Image by Markus Winkler from the Pixabay website

In addition to choosing the right day of the week, the time of day also has a significant impact on airfare. While it may seem insignificant, flying at certain times can help you save a significant amount of money.

Morning and late evening flights

Early morning flights, especially those departing before 8am, are often cheaper. They are less popular with passengers who prefer to sleep in and depart at a more convenient time. Airlines lower prices on these flights to fill seats.

Similarly, flights departing after 9pm can also be cheaper. People prefer to fly in the afternoon or early evening so that their sleep and routines are not disturbed. So, if you are willing to sacrifice convenience for savings, late evening flights can be a great option.

Effect of time of day on ticket prices

Price analysis shows that tickets for early morning and late evening flights can be 10-15% cheaper compared to flights during peak hours (mid-day and early evening). For example, a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago on a 6am flight can cost $150, while a 1pm flight can cost $180 or more.

When searching for tickets on booking sites like Skyscanner or Google Flights, use departure time filters to quickly find the cheapest morning and evening flights.

Sometimes the added inconvenience of an early rise or late arrival can be offset by other benefits, such as shorter lines at the airport or the ability to get through security faster.

Determining the best time of day to fly is an effective way to save money on airfare.

Best time of year for cheap flights

Choosing the time of year to travel can have a significant impact on the cost of airfare. Understanding the seasonal price fluctuations will help you plan your trips to avoid overpayments and find the best deals.

Low season periods

With the exception of holidays such as New Year's Eve, the winter months (January and February) are considered a low season for travel. During this time, many people return to work and school after the holidays and the demand for airfare drops. This makes the beginning of the year a great time for budget travel.

After summer vacations and before the holiday season, airlines often reduce ticket prices. September and October are ideal times to travel if you want to avoid the crowds and save money.

High season and how to avoid it

Summer is traditionally high season for travel, especially for families with children on vacation. During this period, ticket and hotel prices skyrocket. If possible, try to avoid traveling during this time or book tickets in advance.

Also try to avoid holiday periods. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and other major holidays are times when demand for airfare is high and prices hit the budget significantly. If you need to travel during the holidays, try planning your flights a few days before or after major red dates.

Tips for choosing the right time of year to travel

A lot of airfare search sites offer low-fare calendars to help you identify the cheapest months to fly. Google Flights and Skyscanner, for example, have such features.

Try to plan ahead. If you know you're going to be traveling during the high season, book your tickets as early as possible. This will help you avoid price spikes closer to your departure date.

Consider traveling in the off-season. During the transitional periods between high and low seasons, you can find great deals. This is a time when the weather is still nice and there are significantly fewer tourists.

Understanding the seasonal fluctuations in airfares will help you find the best deals and save a significant amount of money on your travels.

When to buy tickets: in advance or at the last minute?

Smart airfare shopping
Smart airfare shopping. Source: Image by Joachim Laatz from the Pixabay website

Determining the best time to buy airline tickets can be tricky, but knowing some rules and strategies can help you find the best deals. Let's break down when it's most profitable to buy tickets - in advance or at the last minute.

Buying tickets in advance

For domestic flights in the US and UK, the best time to buy tickets is between one and three months before the departure date. This is the time when prices are usually lowest as airlines are looking to fill seats, but demand has not yet peaked.

For international flights, it is recommended to book tickets three to six months before departure. This is especially true for popular tourist destinations and high season flights.

Buying tickets at the last minute

Flexibility is the key to success. If you can afford to be flexible with dates and destinations, buying tickets at the last minute can bring significant savings. Airlines often reduce prices on unfilled flights a few days before departure.

But last-minute travel is always a risk. If you have a tight time frame or a specific destination, it's best not to rely on this strategy, as there may not be any affordable tickets left.

Tips for timing your ticket purchases

Use booking sites such as Google Flights, Skyscanner and Kayak that offer price tracking features. Set up notifications to receive alerts when prices drop for destinations you're interested in.

Some services, like Hopper, analyze your ticket price data history and can predict when it's best to buy a travel pass.

And of course, don't forget to subscribe to newsletters from airlines and websites to stay up to date on special offers and sales. Often airlines will have discounts on certain destinations, and this can be a great opportunity to save money.

Understanding when is the best time to buy tickets can help you save significantly on your travels.

The impact of holidays and weekends on ticket prices

Holidays and weekends have a significant impact on airfares. Increased demand during these periods makes tickets more expensive, and for those looking to save money, it's important to keep this in mind when planning travel.

Holiday periods and prices

Christmas and New Year's Eve. These holidays are usually accompanied by a significant increase in ticket prices. Demand for flights is high as many people are traveling to see family or on vacation. To save money, book your tickets as early as possible - 6 to 12 months before your flight.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest periods for travel in the United States. Ticket prices go up a few weeks before the holiday. The best solution is to buy tickets 3 - 6 months before departure or choose alternative dates (for example, traveling a few days before or after the holiday).

Easter and spring break. These holidays also lead to higher ticket prices. Plan your travel well in advance and avoid peak days such as the Friday before Easter and the Monday after Easter.


National holidays and long weekends (like Labor Day or Memorial Day in the U.S.) usually result in higher ticket prices. If you plan to travel during this period, try to book tickets in advance or choose less popular routes and dates.

Friday and Monday. Departing on Friday and returning on Monday often costs more due to increased demand for weekend travel. If you have the option, plan to fly out on Tuesday or Wednesday and return on Thursday.

In some cases, connecting flights or flying through less busy airports can offer significant savings. Compare different routes.

Many airlines offer attractive deals for loyalty program members. And holiday periods are a great time to redeem miles and points.

Use booking sites and search engines to find cheap tickets

Online services for favorable airline ticket booking
Online services for favorable airline ticket booking. Source: Edeltravel_ image from Pixabay website

In today's digital world, there are many tools and resources that help you find the best deals on airline tickets. Search engines collect data from various sites, which allows you to quickly compare prices and find the best options. Let's take a look at the most popular booking sites.

  1. Skyscanner. One of the most popular aggregators that offers flexible search by dates and destinations. Skyscanner allows you to search for flights without specifying an exact date, which helps you find the cheapest tickets.
  2. Google Flights. This service offers a user-friendly interface and many features for finding cheap tickets. Google Flights allows you to track prices for the destinations you are interested in and receive notifications about price reductions.
  3. Kayak. Provides an opportunity to compare prices for airline tickets, hotels and car rentals. The service also offers price tracking features and forecasts for price changes.
  4. Momondo. A service that analyzes data from multiple airlines and agencies, offering users a wide range of options. Momondo also provides helpful tips on when to buy tickets.
  5. Scott's Cheap Flights. This service sends alerts about cheap tickets and mistake fares on flights around the world. Subscribing to their newsletter can help you find great deals on international and domestic flights.
  6. Hopper. The app analyzes ticket price data and predicts how it will change. You can set up alerts to be notified when prices for destinations you're interested in drop.
  7. Airfarewatchdog. This site tracks special offers and airfare sales.

Many sites offer flexible search features. This allows you to search for tickets within a month or even a year to find the cheapest dates to fly.

Compare prices on different platforms to find the best option.

Subscribe to newsletters and discount alerts

Subscribing to newsletters and alerts from airlines and booking sites is another effective way to find cheap airfare. Many companies offer exclusive offers and discounts to their newsletter subscribers.

Newsletter subscribers are often the first to know about upcoming sales and promotions. This gives them the opportunity to book tickets at low prices before they become available to the general public.

Some airlines provide special discounts and offers just for subscribers. Or offer personalized recommendations based on your preferences and search history.

Many airlines post exclusive offers and promo codes on their social media accounts. Subscribe to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to stay up to date with the latest news and promotions.

Subscribing to newsletters and discount alerts is an easy and effective way to save on airfare.


With these tips and strategies in mind, you'll be able to plan your travels more efficiently and save money on flights. Remember to compare prices, be flexible with dates, and utilize different tools and resources to find the best deals. Enjoy your travels!

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