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How to Find the Cheapest Flights (According to Google Flights Experts)

Airfare prices are soaring but you can still find great deals out there if you know a few tricks of the trade. The experts at Google Flights have shared four important tips that can help you snag the cheapest airfares around. 

The Google Flights team analyzed five years of past airfare data to determine the best methods for finding inexpensive flights. Here’s what they found.

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Travel on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday

You’ll typically find cheaper fares if you fly on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday than if you travel on a weekend. According to Google Flights, trips departing on those days are 12 percent cheaper on average compared to weekend departures. For domestic trips, weekday trips can be as much as 20 percent cheaper than weekends. 

Avoid flying on Sundays if possible, as that is generally the most expensive day to travel.

Consider a Layover

If money is more important to you than time, choosing an itinerary with a layover instead of a nonstop flight can save you up to 20 percent, says the Google Flights team. 

However, be sure to factor in how much you will potentially spend during a layover to determine if it’s worthwhile—the money you spend on meals, snacks and drinks at the airport can quickly add up and you might not end up saving that much more compared to flying nonstop.

Don’t Believe the Myth About Booking Flights on a Tuesday

If you see a good fare, go ahead and book it—don’t wait around for Tuesday to see if the price drops. The experts say that ticket prices have only been about 1.9 percent cheaper when booked midweek than over the weekend. 

Know When to Book

Timing is crucial when it comes to finding cheap flights. Google Flights’ data shows that U.S. domestic flights are usually lowest priced 21-60 days before a trip, with the cheapest rates found exactly 44 days before departure. However, this does tend to vary quite a bit by route, and isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Flight prices for peak travel seasons have historically risen further in advance. Here’s when Google Flights says is the best time to book for busy travel periods:

Travel Period The Cheapest Day to Book
Thanksgiving 52 days before departure
Christmas 22 days before departure
Spring Break 38 days before departure
Summer Vacation 21 days before departure
U.S. to Europe 129 days before departure
U.S. to Mexico or the Caribbean 59 days before departure

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