Skip to content

These Are the Best Times to Buy an International Flight

May 09, 2019
3 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

If you are planning an international trip -- and also trying to pinch pennies -- don't fret about your airfare budget. Just plan ahead.

A recent study that compares more than 900 million airfares in 3,000 international markets has identified the "prime booking windows" (the range of days that are generally cheapest to buy a ticket) for every region on the globe. The study, released by CheapAir.com, looked at all the possible days to book trips to the different areas around the world and identified which days are best to score the cheapest airfare.

Canada had the shortest lead time to get the cheapest fare, with an advanced purchase date of 66 days out, while budget-conscious fliers going to the Caribbean need to plan the furthest ahead. That region's cheapest time to buy is 207 days before a trip.

Here's a detailed breakdown of CheapAir's results:

Canada:

Prime booking window: 3 weeks to about 5 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 66 days from your travel date
The average airfare: $427
Cheapest month to travel: October
Most expensive month to travel: July
Least expensive days of week to fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

Mexico/Central America:

Prime booking window: 2 weeks to almost 6 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 70 days from your travel date
The average airfare: $489
Cheapest month to travel: September
Most expensive month to travel: December
Least expensive days of week to fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

Caribbean:

Prime booking window: 1 month to almost 11 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 207 days from your travel date
The average airfare: $545
Cheapest month to travel: January
Most expensive month to travel: December
Least expensive days of week to fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

South America:

Prime booking window: 5 weeks to almost 11 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 110 days from your travel date
The average airfare: $845
Cheapest month to travel: February
Most expensive month to travel: December
Least expensive days of week to fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

South Pacific:

Prime booking window: 54 days to just over 8 months
Best time to buy: About 197 days from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,708
Cheapest month to travel: May
Most expensive month to travel: December
Least expensive days of week to fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Asia:

Prime booking window: A little over a month to 7 months
Best time to buy: About 120 days from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,113
Cheapest month to travel: November
Most expensive month to travel: June
Least expensive days of week to fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

Europe:

Prime booking window: About 1.5 months to a little more than 8 months
Best time to buy: 160 days from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,151
Cheapest month to travel: March
Most expensive month to travel: July
Least expensive days of week to fly: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Africa/Middle East:

Prime booking window: 96 to 287 days before departure
Best time to buy: About 199 days from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,238
Cheapest month to travel: February
Most expensive month to travel: July
Least expensive days of week to fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

Of course, CheapAir says varying events and circumstances in each region can increase airfare to that area. For example, Oktoberfest in Munich or The Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. And don't forget to check for flight deals and flash sales for the cheapest international fares.

Featured image by (Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash)

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers