Booking Flights - When's the Best Time?

I'm looking for cheap flights to Stockholm at Easter and also planning our summer trip to Italy. So when do I book the flights? According to recent research by Kayak, the on-line booking agency, if  you time your booking right you can save hundreds of pounds on your flights.

Trips to North America, Europe and Africa are best booked closer to the departure date, while longer-haul trips to the Caribbean, South America, the Middle East and Asia are cheaper when booked well in advance, according to holiday booking website, which analysed the cost of millions of online flights.

Tickets to North America are cheapest two weeks before travel, but flights to Europe are best booked a month ahead of departure. If you want the cheapest deal on flights to Africa book two months in advance, or three months ahead for the South Pacific, which includes Australia and New Zealand. Long-haul trips are best booked even further in advance. Prices to the Caribbean are cheapest four months ahead of departure and flights to South America and the Middle East are at their best price five months early. Trips to Asia require the most organised planning – the best deals are available seven months before departure.

Kayak says the cheapest journeys typically depart on Thursdays and return on a Tuesday or Thursday. This is because business travellers typically fly out on Mondays and return on Fridays, meaning seats are more in demand and, therefore, more expensive. While travelling at the weekend is also generally expensive, a fortunate exception exists for long weekends within Europe - the best combination is departing on Thursday and returning on Sunday.

Average price variations for return trips abroad (

Region      I month before     3 months before    6 months before    Cheapest price

Europe                £159                        £175                        £191                        £159

Africa                   £570                        £661                        £606                        £508

Asia                     £647                        £654                        £667                        £606

Caribbean           £712                        £767                        £796                        £647

North America     £668                        £673                        £680                       £598

Central America  £735                        £576                        £893                       £576

South America    £818                        £841                        £922                       £751

Just booked my Stockholm flight with SAS at £172 return and my Pisa flight with EasyJet at £270 return. I'm happy, as they are peak holiday time flights!


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