One of the trickiest things about booking flights is figuring out when to finally purchase your flight. “What if they go down more?” you ask yourself. At some point, you have to click “purchase” but how do you know when?
Thanks to data collected by CheapAir in 2013, the prime time to buy that ticket is 54 days before your departure date. Yep, 54 days. However the booking window for the best deals is a little larger. They recommend making the purchase between at least 109-29 days before the trip. So you have some time to shop around. According to their study, during this window flights will be withing about $10 of the lowest fare.
However, this isn’t set in stone. If you are traveling to a popular destination during a popular time of year (you know, like literally anywhere warm during Spring Break) then you want to book earlier, and fares probably won’t fluctuate that much. If you are flying into a smaller airport, there will probably be less fluctuation as well. Also keep in mind that the magic 54-days number is for domestic flights. For international flights you want to give yourself a little more room. You should also try to avoid booking a flight within two weeks of your departure date. Flights tend to be highest the day before the flight, and slowly trickle down each day before.
So basically, if it can be avoided, you shouldn’t be too spontaneous. We know, we know: what’s the fun in that?! (The savings. The savings are what is fun about that.)
For more info on magic numbers, check out this article from The Huffington Post.