The other week I shared a post on how to save for traveling the world. After working hard and saving those pennies, you are finally ready to take the next step and book your first (or 100th) international flight. The thing is, you don’t want to blow all your money on the airplane tickets and be left with pocket change to live on right? So what are the best times to travel internationally? Remember that every country and continent has it’s own ‘peak season’ and ‘low season’, and if you can work around the peak travel seasons, you should be able to find pretty reasonable prices for airplane tickets and accommodation.
Travel times to avoid
Christmas and New Year’s– On average, the most expensive days to travel worldwide tend to be around the Christmas/New Year’s festivities. Most of us prefer to be with our families over the holidays, and airliners and travel agencies know this. We reluctantly pay whatever it takes to ‘go home’ and make memories with our loved ones. EVERYONE and their mothers are traveling during this time. If you do decide to skip the holidays altogether or are traveling elsewhere besides home over Christmas, try to book travel before the 19th of December or after the 3rd of January.
Summer– aka peak season. As we all know, summer is just better than any other season. Kids are on break, the weather is warm, and annual vacations and family reunions are happening. Road trips, beach trips, lake trips, honeymoon trips, and international trips are all part of this season. If you’re planning on traveling from the North Hemisphere to the South, remember the seasons are opposite (I know this sounds like a ‘duh’ thing to remember, but trust me, it’s easy to forget). You may be leaving in dead winter Stateside, but arriving in full-blown summer ‘Down Under.’
When we first moved to NZ (Winter in June) I happened to check out flight prices from New Zealand to Australia. At the time they were only $120 dollars (or less). Now (Summer in February), if I were to book a flight they’re anywhere from $350-600+ dollars.
Spring Break– We just survived a rugged winter and are ready to jet out of town (literally). Unfortunately EVERYONE ELSE is thinking the exact same thing! If you can, make your travel plans a few weeks before or after the spring break rush. You’ll be avoiding crazy college kids well as high booking prices! Google spring break dates for the country you’re wanting to travel to; spring break tends to be anywhere from late February to early April.
National Holidays– Those three day weekends are perfect for travel aren’t they? Unfortunately prices are higher during these weekends as booking companies know you’re wanting to get out of the house for the holidays. Other holiday dates that come to mind in the USA are: Thanksgiving, Labor Day, 4th of July, and Easter. Around Asia and Australasia the Chinese New Year effects prices big time. While we were living in Korea, Chuseok was the holiday in which everyone else would be traveling on; prices were absolutely outrageous!
Cheapest times to travel
Fall and spring– Traveling in the fall and spring is kind of the pits if you’re still in school or have a family, but if you’re young [at heart], wild, and free to roam whenever you want to, book your travel in these seasons. Not only will every country be drop dead gorgeous with color, but roads, shops, and tours won’t be cluttered with a bunch of other vacationers like they would during peak season. If you can work around school breaks and national holidays, you’ll be good as gold!
Wednesdays– What are the best days to travel? In my experience and tinkering around online a little bit, I have discovered Wednesdays just may be the cheapest day ever to book your tickets on. People tend to travel over the weekends leaving Friday and getting back Sunday or Monday, so some other good dates to look at for great prices would be Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (surprisingly).
One of the most important aspects you can bring into booking travel is flexibility. If you can plan WELL in advance and not have a particular date set in your mind on when you’re wanting to leave, you can save yourself a lot of $$$ and headache! I didn’t want to go into detail on where to find the best prices online to book, as that’ll be another post for another time.