If you’re planning a trip abroad over the Christmas period, it can be confusing trying to find the best deals for cheap flights.
Whether you’re looking to explore Europe’s best Christmas markets , find cheap holidays to Lapland or perhaps find some Winter Sun, there’s so much conflicting advice; some people suggest booking months in advance, others prefer to rely on last-minute deals.
There are pros and cons to both – but if you’re savvy and time it right either way, you could bag some great bargains.
Going for the months in advance approach?
Research from Travelsupermarket reveals that July is the best time to book your flights, with prices likely to increase by up to 21% each month after that.
But at the end of the day, it all depends on the destination you’re aiming for – so they’ve looked at popular Christmas spots and the best time to book.
Check out what they found below.
Europe: Prices look to increase steadily the closer to December you leave it, so unless you’re willing to risk waiting for a last-minute deal, it’s worth booking in advance.
Southern hemisphere: If you’re hoping to celebrate the festive season on a beach, try to book before September and October, when prices peak. Either book now, or hold off until November for some of the best deals.
Canada: The research suggests that flight prices could peak in August, so either book your Christmas flights during the summer, or wait for September.
USA: The data suggests prices from the UK to the USA could remain fairly constant from July until the festive season arrives.
Top tips for finding cheap Christmas flights
Booking in July isn’t the only way you can snap up some great deals on Christmas flights.
Philipp Brinkmann, CEO of Tripsta said “Getting the best flight deal is never an exact science as prices are generally always changing, driven by specific consumer demand at any one time.
“A good rule of thumb is to assume any flights which are more convenient, whether they fall on a Bank Holiday, are direct or don’t involve getting up while it’s still dark, will be more expensive.”
To give you a helping hand, the travel insiders at booking site Tripsta have shared their secrets for beating the system to snag a bargain.
Check out their top tips below…
1. Travelling on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve – steal or save?
Don’t presume that by sacrificing a national holiday for a flight you will automatically find the best money saving.
Last year the chance of bagging a great deal for a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day flight was 50:50 with buying an overpriced ticket.
Booking your Christmas Day travel in advance also made no difference, with November bookings for the day rather than in December also seemed to make no difference with 65 percent of good flight deals for travel on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve booked in December.
2. Worst day to book?
Last year, the worst day to book was a Saturday. Out of all flights, the ones booked on a Saturday resulted in the highest number of people paying over the odds for their travel.
Out of all Saturday bookings made in November and December for Christmas travel, 92 percent were way over the average price with only 8 percent representing a good deal.
Other days which offered better value flight tickets were Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Even booking on a Sunday was preferable to a Saturday although still not ideal, with 69 percent of tickets booked on this day not offering an affordable price.
3. Best time to book?
Although it seems booking on a Tuesday or a Friday is your best bet, the week also plays an important factor.
Last year it seems the highest ratio of reasonably priced Christmas flight bookings were made during the week commencing the 2nd November.
During this week, 60 percent of bookings made were of an average or below average price.
In contrast, the week beginning the 16th November appeared to offer the worst flight prices with a huge 87 percent of bookings made significantly higher than average prices. It seems that even just a few weeks can make all the difference.
4. Most popular Christmas travel periods
Last year, the most popular Christmas travel period was from Christmas Eve until the 28th of December, closely followed by the 21st December until the 28th of December.
By far the most popular return date (56 percent of bookings) was the 28th of December (a Bank Holiday which falls on the 27th of December this year).
With flight prices driven by demand, it would be wise to think a little more creatively about when to leave and when to return for the best flight deals.