When Is the Best Time to Book International Airfares?

Airfare Question of the Month
by , SmarterTravel Staff - September 7, 2015
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Photo: British Airways
Dear Jessica,

In general, is there a best time to book international airfare?


Dear R.O.,

Unfortunately, there isn't a definitive best time to book, a time that will always guarantee you both the best prices and availability. That said, there are rules of thumb you can follow that will help you identify when to start searching for fares, which with any luck will lead you to the best available prices.


International fares are determined more by season than they are by destination, so when you're traveling should be a major consideration, right along with the destination you're visiting. If the month you want to travel is in high demand, then book as far out as possible. The farther away and more exotic the destination, the more people book in advance just because of the sheer logistics and cost involved in traveling.

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For example, everyone knows that Europe in the summertime will be in high demand. Whether or not the dollar is strong, planes will fill up. It's safer booking as far in advance as you can, because fares are much more likely to increase.

But winter in Europe is a different story. Since winter is seasonally a time of low demand, if you see high fares then there's a good chance a lower fare will be available if you wait.

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Last Updated: September 7, 2015

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