Cheap flights: Should you book early or late?

If you have to fly, the cost of the plane ticket can be a disappointment. Take a look at the latest news and you will see that many airlines are in a financial struggle. Some of them are barely surviving. So what does this mean for the regular traveler? Well, it means it’s more difficult to get cheap flights.

If you want to save money and find cheap flights, you may be wondering if you should book your trip early or at the last minute. Each option has its pros and cons and we’ll analyze them below.

Should you book early to get cheap flights?

The most important advantage of booking your flight early is planning. If you are preparing for a vacation, you have to book your flights, accommodation, and maybe car rental, too. For some of us, it is very stressful to wait until the last minute in the hope of a good deal.

Plus, the price difference varies a lot from airline to airline. Some flight companies offer 100$ or more on last-minute discounts. Others offer just 25$. And then, there are those who actually increase the price so there goes your shot at cheap flights! So, if you are like me and you need a plan, go ahead and book your flight early.

Another benefit of booking your flight in advance is that you are guaranteed a seat. Like I said above, there are airlines close to bankruptcy. In order to cut on their company expenses, not only do they offer more expensive tickets, but they also reduced the number of planes in the air. And, not sure if you noticed, but unlike a few years back, the planes are almost always fully booked nowadays.

Therefore, if you wait for cheap flights until the last minute, your flight options may become very limited. If you book early, this is something you’ll avoid. Actually, you’ll have a higher number of flights to take your pick. And if you’re traveling a long distance, you’ll want to have the option to choose the trip with the fewest and/or shortest layovers.

man booking last minute cheap flights
Cheap flights: Should you wait for last-minute discounts?

Should you wait for last-minute discounts?

When it comes to waiting until the last minute to book your flight, you may find some cheap flights. But in all honesty, it depends on when you search for them. Right after airline companies have just reviewed their flight lists and they want to fill all the empty seats. To make them more interesting to travelers, they tend to give better discounts. That’s why if you look towards Saturday morning, you can find some cheap flights with last-minute discounts. This is the perfect time to save money and book cheap flights!

Why you travel should also be taken into account when deciding if you should book early or late. If you are traveling just to relax and you’re staying with friends and family, you can be pretty flexible with your travel plans. However, if you have to attend a destination wedding or an important business meeting, you can’t risk waiting until the last minute. Not only you may not find any cheap flights, but you might learn that all the convenient hotels are fully booked, too.

woman planning when to book cheap flights

So… should you book early or wait until the last minute?

To be honest, it’s fully up to you if you want to book early or late. If you have to plan ahead, like me, it’s best to buy tickets in advance. You may even get them cheap flights for early booking! Otherwise, you can take your time and wait to see if there are any last-minute discounts available.

Since it is risky to book your plane tickets too early or too late, the best approach is to get familiar with other money-saving tactics, such as:

  • Running a price comparison on official airline websites and on third-party travel websites to get your cheap flights.
  • Avoiding flights on weekends and holidays. Did you know that flying out on Wednesday instead of Monday or Friday can mean saving up to 100$?
  • Avoiding the high in-flight costs of snacks, drinks, pillows, and blankets. Either bring your own or buy them at the airport. Even if they still cost more at the airport, they’re still cheaper than when you get them in the air.

About the author

Mirela Letailleur The Travel Bunny

Mirela Letailleur is a Romanian travel blogger living in the South of France. She writes on The Travel Bunny travel blog about affordable travel in Europe, creator of unique free travel guides, local travel expert. Problem solver. Wannabe coffee guru.

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