What's the best month to book a flight?

TRAVEL search engine Skyscanner has released new data showing the best time to book flights to top destinations from Australia in 2016.

The findings also revealed that travellers should book on average 17 weeks before departure to snag the cheapest fares.

According to the data, which is the result of analysing more than 250 million flight prices over the last three years, the cheapest month to travel in 2016 is November with 12% savings on flights, compared to the overall average price paid. 

While it may surprise travellers that booking further in advance is not necessarily the smartest approach, the latest Skyscanner data showed that users who searched for flights to international hotspots like New Zealand and Malaysia, bagged the cheapest fares around six and ten weeks before departure respectively.

The biggest savings can be found through careful advance planning to destinations further afield, such as China and the US, where smart travellers can save about 23% on the average airfare by booking 28 weeks (just under seven months) before departure.

With the average cost of a return flight to the US sitting at $2032, this could mean pocketing a tidy $465 towards the holiday fund; more than enough for some duty free and a few souvenirs.

Emily Callahan, Senior Marketing Manager at Skyscanner for Australia and New Zealand said: "With the falling Aussie dollar, knowing when to book to get the best price is now more important than ever for Aussies looking to travel in 2016.

Saving a few hundred dollars on airfares could mean an upgraded hotel stay or simply a bigger holiday budget despite the current economic conditions.

"At Skyscanner we know that prices for popular destinations can vary wildly between airlines, months and days of the week, causing a headache for even the savviest of travellers.

While the findings give travellers a good indication of when to book, we still recommend using a range of Skyscanner features to find the best deals.

Price Alerts, for one, will help keep Aussies up to date with fluctuating flight fares. Travellers with flexible dates can search by whole month view to easily identify the cheapest days to travel in a particular month."

Unsurprisingly, December is the most expensive month to travel with the holiday period spiking flight prices up by 20% compared to the average price paid. Historical data from Skyscanner shows that booking early for all year-end trips is advisable, as flight prices can skyrocket in the months approaching December. 

Those looking to fly interstate can also benefit from booking at the right time and save a quarter (25%) off the average price of the most popular flight path in Australia, Sydney to Melbourne, for those booking four weeks in advance.

The Gold Coast to Melbourne route requires the most planning to bag a bargain with the cheapest flights appearing on average at least 20 weeks prior to departure.

Topics:  flights holidays travel

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