Want To Save Money On Airline Tickets? Here Is When Experts Say Is The Best Time To Book

<span class="copyright">aire images via Getty Images</span>
aire images via Getty Images

Traveling, like so many things these days, is not cheap. So if we want to do it — and we most definitely do — how can we find the best deals on airline tickets?

That’s what we — Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, the hosts of HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast — asked HuffPost senior reporter and consummate traveler Caroline Bologna to help us figure out.

Listen to the full episode here:

“There’s this term called the ‘Goldilocks Window’ — which I’m pretty sure Scott Keyes, who founded Scott’s Cheap Flights, which is now called Going.com — coined,” Bologna told us. “[If you book] too late, we all know prices can skyrocket, but also you don’t want to book too early, because then you could be unnecessarily paying too much.”

That’s because airline ticket pricing is dynamic and changes due to demand and other factors.

“I think people who think of themselves as very type A and organized, and do things in advance, are sometimes at a disadvantage [when they take] that ethos to booking tickets,” Bologna said. “My partner takes it to the opposite extent, and books a little too last minute.”

If you want to get the best price for your ticket, Bologna says, the sweet spot for purchasing is usually going to be four to six weeks, or possibly as long as eight weeks, before domestic trips. For international travel, the window is three to five months before you want to fly.

“There are always exceptions,” Bologna warned. “Holiday season, summer travel — those are times you know are going to be crazy, so you’re going to want to book them pretty far in advance.”

Some people insist that you can get better deals by shopping on particular days, like Sundays or Tuesdays, but Bologna said the experts she’s consulted with have dismissed this as mostly a myth. However, flying on certain days can save you money.

“Every expert I’ve ever talked to says [traveling on] Tuesday and Wednesday — those midweek days — are the best,” Bologna said. “Early Saturday can be pretty good as well.”

Not only will you get a deal, but it’s likely every part of your flying experience will be better.

“You’re less likely to have cancellations or delays because fewer people are flying [on those days],” she noted. “And the general airport experience will probably be a little more relaxing. Obviously not everyone has the option to just take a Tuesday or Wednesday flight, depending on their work situation, but for those who do have flexible work-from-home situations, I think you really should just go ahead [and do it].”

Michelson added that flying on a holiday, like Thanksgiving or Christmas morning, instead of a day or two before, can also save you a ton of money.

“The risk, though, is that if your flight does get delayed or canceled on Thanksgiving, you’re not going to make it home, so you kind of have to choose what you think is more important to you,” he said.

Bologna agreed and noted that other money-saving alternatives, like choosing a flight with a layover or opting to take a budget airline, can be less than ideal in other ways, like forcing you to spend more time traveling or contend with uncomfortable seats, cramped cabins and a lack of in-flight services.

“It comes down to the individual person, and their priorities and their needs, and the money they have and the time they have, and what they think is best for them,” Michelson said. “There are obviously ways to do [shopping for airline tickets] better or worse, but at the end of the day, you have to decide what adventure you want to go on.”

We also chatted about how to score an upgrade, the most controversial — and potentially riskiest — trick for saving money on a flight and much more, so listen to the full episode above or wherever you get your podcasts.

Make sure to subscribe to “Am I Doing It Wrong?” so you don’t miss a single episode, including our investigations of the ins and outs of tipping, how to apologize or vanquish your credit card debt, how to find love online or overcome anxiety, tips for online shoppingtaking care of your teeth and pooping like a prosecrets to booking and staying in a hotel, how to deal with an angry personcooking tips from celebrity chef Jet Tila, shocking laundry secrets, how to protect your online privacy, and more.

Need some help with something you’ve been doing wrong? Email us at AmIDoingItWrong@HuffPost.com, and we might investigate the topic in an upcoming episode.