Precisely when you should book your overseas flights if you want to nab them for cheap.


In each of us there is a disorganised spirit who likes to leave everything to the last minute. Yes, even you, person colour coordinating your handwritten bullet journal.

Never does this cause more chaos and havoc than when you’re trying to book an overseas holiday.

Between booking the flights, accommodation, travel insurance, rental cars, overnight trains, authentic Italian cooking lessons, segway tours, three-day ‘off the beaten path’ treks… basically it becomes really easy to put off making travel arrangements.

Wait for the last-minute deals, your disorganised inner voice whispers, steering the organised, practical part of you away from your computer and towards something not at all timely.

Then before you know it, those return flights you spotted six months ago suddenly seem a lot more expensive than you remembered them being.

How much better would this view look if you got it for cheap? Image: Unsplash.

That's because, contrary to what you've been told before, waiting for last-minute sales isn't the best way to find cheap flights.

New research from Skyscanner showed three in four Aussies are missing out on the best international flight deals because they're not booking far enough in advance.

Their survey of 1,200 participants found 17 per cent of us wait until less than two months before our departure date to book our flights. Only that's the exact time prices tend to surge.

Below are Skyscanner's top insights on nabbing the best airfare deals, including when AND when not to fly, and how far in advance you should be booking.

How far in advance should I book international flights?

According to Skyscanner's data, booking 22 weeks in advance for international destinations is the best time to get the greatest savings.

This will vary slightly depending on where you're flying to, but "the general rule of thumb for getting cheap flights is to book as early as possible", Skyscanner's Robyn Lee said.

For example, the travel website advises flights to Bali, LA and Hong Kong will be cheapest between 22-24 weeks in advance, while Auckland, Singapore, Fiji and Tokyo have a little more wriggle room in the 12-18 week period.

To find out the cheapest period for your destination, check out Skyscanner's Best Time to Book travel tool.

What is the cheapest month to travel in?

Skyscanner identified May is the cheapest month to travel in, with an average savings of 13 per cent to be had flying to all major international destinations.


This is especially relevant if you're looking to go to Europe to escape our winter, because their peak travel season runs from May to September. Hence, getting in before the hoards of Aussie tourists will help you save money in most areas, not just on flights.

LISTEN: Speaking of flying, we need to have a good ole chat about plane etiquette. And how you're doing it wrong (post continues after audio...)

Which month is the most expensive to travel in?

You guessed it. December.

Christmas and New Year travel will always be expensive, no matter how far in advance you book. But again, it won't hurt to think ahead, Skyscanner recommended.

Is there a cheapest day to book flights?

Contrary to the popular consensus there are 'cheap days' to buy flights, Skyscanner's survey indicated that's not always the case.

Yes, 61 per cent of us believe booking between Tuesday and Thursday will give us the best deals, but doing this further in advance still trumps the day of the week you choose to buy in terms of savings.

Can I book domestic flights at the last-minute?

On average, Skyscanner found domestic flights are still best booked 21 weeks in advance to secure the best prices. But of course,  - the survey showed nearly half (42 per cent) of Aussies would only book their domestic flights less than two months before, which also happens to be when airfares start to peak.

So while it's not always possible to pre-book your domestic travel (oh hey, last-minute work trip), getting in as early as possible for weekends away or family celebrations interstate will help keep your wallet nice and plump.

Or just not completely empty.

You can find out more about Skyscanner's Best Time to Book travel tool on their website.