It has been a trial and error process but I have finally nailed when is the best time to purchase a plane ticket. It’s a waiting game that in the end can same you quite a bit of money. A lot of websites now make this process easier by letting you sign up for notifications when a flight you are interested in has a price change. With the help of the notifications and some knowledge I have picked up on the way, I always manage to get the lowest price for the flight I’m interested in.
First off, you have to be careful not to book too early or late before you plan on leaving. Never book within 2 weeks of the flight, the price is high and it just keeps going up. I have tracked a flight a month before a random date to see if it is cheaper to buy last minute and it definitely is not. You also have to be careful that you don’t book too early. One time I was planning a trip to Chicago (which I had visited previously) and I looked up the flight 6 months before leaving and I was surprised how much higher the fare was than the last time I went. I waited a couple months and the price went down to the range I was used to. It seems that prices don’t really change much within 2-3 months of the departure date. They may go up and down a bit depending on the day and time but usually those fluctuations will stay consistent from week to week. Definitely buy your ticket during the week and not Friday-Sunday. It may not be a huge difference but $50 can go a looong way when you’re traveling on a budget. I always book my domestic flight on Tuesday late afternoon (usually on my lunch break). The prices generally go up a couple dollars as the day goes on.
Really you just need to be patient. I check a flight I want to book multiple times before to understand what the average price is so when I notice a dip in the amount I jump on the deal. Always remember the days you chose to fly in and out as well as the time of year you’re flying can drastically affect the price. These are just tips to let you get the best deal for a flight whether it starts out high ( traveling during the holidays ) or low (flying out on a Wednesday and flying in on a Tuesday). Happy travels!