These Are the Best Times to Purchase International Flights

NEWS & TRENDING - TRAVEL NEWS
When you’re planning a vacation, the day you pay and how far in advance can help your budget.
Updated May 15, 2024
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Two passengers sitting next to each other on a flight likely paid different prices for their seats, depending on when they booked their tickets. No one wants to be the person who shelled out more.

And if you want to step up your travel game and visit places around the world, you will want to pay less for airfare.

To that end, the analysts at CheapAir.com studied flights from the U.S. to most of the world’s regions to find the best time to book your international flight. And the verdict? It’s a lot different than it was last year.

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Africa

Daco/Adobe capetown south africa

A trip to the African continent is pricey, so booking as early as possible — 320 days or 10.5 months ahead — is your best bet. February and March are the best months to make your trek, with the average fare at $1,429

CheapAir.com says Tuesday is the best day to book, though Hopper experts argue that the day doesn’t matter. Bear this in mind for all international travel on this list.

Asia

leungchopan/Adobe ship sailing hong kong victoria harbor

The average ticket price to Asia is $2,293, which is all the reason you need to try to save as much as possible. So, book your ticket 71 days or 2.5 months before your departure date.

Wednesday is likely the best day to book, with the cheapest months to travel being November and December. Aim to fly internationally midweek to all destinations for maximum savings.

Canada

Jeff/Adobe Jasper Alberta Canada

Heading to Canada? Eighty-one days before takeoff appears to be the best time to purchase your ticket. However, that’s flexible, as CheapAir.com says you might find deals just as good one to six months before travel. Other experts suggest booking no later than three months beforehand.

Not surprisingly, January and February (brrr!) are the cheapest months to head north. The average fare is $517. Book on a Tuesday.

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Caribbean

diegocardini/Adobe san blas panama caribbean tropical island

You’re on island time now, as you can get the best deals to the Caribbean a mere 29 days before departure, with the broader window being three weeks to 2.5 months. Travel & Leisure suggests anywhere from two to 10 months. The average fare is $591.

Wednesday is the day to book. Summer and early fall are the cheapest months, but bear in mind that’s peak hurricane season.

Central America

Duarte/Adobe lush jungle in Costa Rica

Got Costa Rica or Belize on the brain? Finalize that ticket purchase 50 days before your trip for the best price; the average fare is $616. Similar to traveling to the Caribbean, you could be rewarded with a cheap find by booking three weeks to 2.5 months, and Wednesday is the ideal day to commit.

Travel & Leisure again has a broader booking window, this one three to 10 months, so your mileage may vary.

Europe

JFL Photography/Adobe historic town of perast

Thanks to super high demand, book super early — 320 days, or 10.5 months out — if you’re heading to Europe. The average ticket will set you back $1,112; book on a Tuesday and travel in December or February if possible.

A good rule of thumb for all international travel, including Europe, is to snag the first flight of the day for the best price, per Hopper experts.

Mexico

jdross75/Adobe Cancun coast with sun

Whether you’re heading to Tulum, Cancun, Mexico City, or elsewhere, perennially popular Mexico is for booking. The average ticket costs $542 and should be purchased 67 days prior or two months out (but snag your ticket sooner if the price is right).

January and February are the cheapest months to travel, and CheapAir.com recommends booking on a Tuesday.

Middle East

rudi1976/Adobe Israel with Dome of the Rock

CheapAir.com says booking early is your best bet if you’re headed to the Middle East — 256 days before takeoff, to be specific — though other experts say no later than 2.5 months might be fine. We suspect the earlier, the better, though.

The average ticket cost is $1,194, and February and December are the best months to go. As for the day to purchase, it’s Tuesday, again.

South America

Dmitrii/Adobe iguazu falls national park

Dreaming of dancing the tango in Argentina or finally seeing Iguazu Falls in person? While a ticket to South America may be pricier this year, you might find the best price 50 days before your trip. However, if you see a ticket for the average $867 or less, book it anytime.

Tuesday is the day to jump on it, with the best travel months being May and December.

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South Pacific

Grispb/Adobe rocky mountains with sandy beach and boat on sunny day on galapagos island

Good news! A voyage to the dreamy South Pacific is much cheaper in 2024 than it was in 2023. The average ticket cost is $1,917. Book 241 days or eight months before you go. However, 1.5 months may also be fine, per some experts.

Save $100 by booking on a Tuesday as opposed to a Saturday, and go in February or March.

Bottom line

Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe couple having fun at airport

International travel is a bucket list activity for all ages. Ideally, you can book your dream trip for less by following this data-driven travel advice.

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Author Details

Cat Lafuente Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.

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