How To Fly International for Cheap?

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Fly International for Cheap

It’s hardly a secret that airfare prices are jumping up and down like a yo-yo. It almost seems like this is the most flexible price tag in the world after gas. Booking an airfare has turned into a game- a lot of it is based on chance and winning sometimes seems impossible, but it shouldn’t be that way.

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In our article about flying domestic for cheap, we discussed a lot of lucrative strategies on how to book cheap flights. Just like for domestic flights, the length of time before your departure date will almost always dictate how cheap your trips cost. Once again CheapAir has conducted a fantastic study, this time on the international airfare market, that covers about 1 million international airfares. From the research, they have identified the best day to book your cheap international airfare, and they have identified a “prime booking window” based on each region as well. If you haven’t read our previous article, prime booking window is the range of days before departure in which you are most likely to see lowest prices and still have excellent flexibility regarding seating and routes available. One thing to keep in mind when using the Prime Booking Window is that it is hard to predict the load of international holidays or festivals, for example, Oktoberfest in Munich or the World Soccer Cup in Russia, those events will probably change the game a little bit, so its best to book in the very early days of the window or even earlier.

Fly Over Europe

Here is a breakdown of the average number of days before departure that yields the lowest airline ticket price for U.S. travelers heading to international regions:

Understanding the Booking Geo Zones

Unlike the domestic flights, here we will review cheap flights based on location and what is most appropriate to do according to each GEO ZONE.

Asia

Do you have Thailand or China on your “want to visit” radar? Then, you can breathe! You have some wiggle room concerning when to book airfare. According to CheapAir’s study, the best time to make your purchase for Asia is about 120 days before departure.

Visit Hong Kong

The Prime Booking Window from 1 month to over 7months, where the Best Time to Book is 120 days from your desired travel date. 

Time of Year: It seems like we have the cheapest month to travel here- November, and the most expensive June. Really? Who would want to go to Asia in June? I have lived in Vietnam for 3 years and its indeed a hell, very humid and extremely hot.
My advice– fly from October to March but make sure you keep in mind that around the second week of February, we have the Chinese New Year celebrations which might change the airfare stage a little bit.
Least Expensive Days to Fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

The South Pacific

Oh! A dream destination for many including me. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is on my diving bucket list since it has the healthiest and largest reef in the world. But the numerous islands in the South Pacific, to name a few- Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Bora Bora, are just as amazing. It looks like a different world, and I can’t wait to visit. We have taken a look at the study and summarized the information so you can too snatch a deal.

The Prime Booking Window 54 days to just over 8 months while the Best Time to Buy is about 197 days from your travel date.


Time of Year: CheapAir points out May as the cheapest month to travel here! Sounds terrific, I guess will give myself a birthday present- cheap airfare to Papua New Guinea next year. Woohoo! December here seems to be most expensive time to fly, and I could imagine why people are trying to escape the northern hemisphere’s cold weather creeping in.
Least Expensive Days to Fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

Africa and The Middle East

Africa is one of the most exciting continents to visit. There is just so much to see from deserts to the longest river in the world- Nile. There are numerous tribes and more than 1500 languages that are spoken in Africa. This alone is pretty impressive. The absolute best airfares here are found around 199 days in advance and very close to 7 months on average.

The Prime Booking Window here will be a little wider 96 to 287 days where the Best Time to Book is 199 days from your desired travel date. 

Time of Year: It seems like we have the cheapest month to travel in February and the most expensive July. First, I thought what? This must be torture, but it turns out that July is one of the coldest seasons in South Africa for example, making exploring Cape Town a pleasure.
Least Expensive Days to Fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

Europe

I am originally from Bulgaria, and it seems like I can never buy cheap airfare to go back home because I usually go during Christmas season, but if you can go in March, you will definitely get a great deal. Cheapest international airfare to the old continent is typically found around 160 days before departure. Maybe you can try your luck and book tickets in late January and February to go skiing in the beautiful Swiss Alps.

The Prime Booking Window– a month and a half to more than 8 months. This is a huge window.
Time of Year: Cheapest month to travel will be March and the most expensive July, I am assuming it’s due to the summer holiday for the students. A lot of families are locked in with those dates so they can take their kids on vacation.
Least Expensive Days to Fly: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

Mexico/ Central America

Mexico and Central America are very similar to the continental U.S or domestic flights. I think one of the main reasons is that a lot of companies like Alaska Airlines are flying to destinations in that region now making it more and more accessible and desired for Americans. I recently purchased tickets to Costa Rica and Panama following CheapAir’s guidelines and let me tell you that was a fantastic deal! Seems like the best is to wait about 70 days out for the best fares.

Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Prime Booking Window– 2 weeks to almost 6 months.

Time of Year: Cheapest month to travel will be September, yep that’s when I’m flying to Costa Rica so you can expect Costa Rica articles then. The most expensive December, so get your beach Christmas vacation booked early on.
Least Expensive Days to Fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

The Caribbean

Have you seen pictures of St. Lucia or Barbados? If you have, I know you want to go there but seems expensive? No, it doesn’t have to be. It matters where do you fly out from the US but overall some common time guides can help you book the cheapest airfare possible so you can enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. The best time to book will be 207 days to nearly 7 months on average. This is crazy! Honestly, good news for us!

The Prime Booking Window- 1 month to nearly 11 months.
Time of Year: Cheapest month to travel will be January and the most expensive December. This sounds kind of odd but… it is what it is.
Least Expensive Days to Fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

South America

Argentine, Brazil, and Peru are one of the most exciting countries in the world, not to mention the traces of ancient civilizations in the area, especially in Peru- rich in history and mystery. The South American destinations will set you back the least if you book around 110 days before your desired departure date.

Machu Picchu, Peru

The Prime Booking Window- 5 weeks to 11 months.
Time of Year: Cheapest month to travel will be February and the most expensive December. Very Similar to what we found at the Caribbean pool. Christmas holidays here are very much desired.
Least Expensive Days to Fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

Canada

Unites States’ “smaller” brother is a very hot destination for everyone in North America. I mean, it is a beautiful place- glaciers, fantastic ski resorts, frozen lakes, and wildlife are all around. The Canadian market is very similar to the U.S market and even though its an international destination for many of us it feels like just flying from east to west coast. Best timeline- 66 days in advance.

The Prime Booking Window- 3 weeks to 5 months.
Time of Year: Cheapest month to travel to Canada is October, things are starting to get cold over there quite early. The most expensive month will be July when more significant part of the country is in spring/ summer mode making it quite pleasant to visit.
Least Expensive Days to Fly: Tuesday and Wednesday

Final Thoughts

Now you have a full breakdown of the hottest destination regions in the world. Pick one, set your plan in motion, look at your alerts and book with satisfaction so you can enjoy your trip to its fullest. You can also check our friends’ guide to hacking cheap flights, it is our ultimate tool for snatching a deal on airfare, it will give you an exact plan and all the tools necessary to beat the system.

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Hi there! I’m Atanas — I’ve been traveling around the world since I was 15, so about 12 years, but just recently got into writing. My mission is to inspire more people to take on the journey of their lives and spread the word that traveling the world can be easy, fun and not cost a fortune!

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