When to Buy the Cheapest Airline Tickets for Your Summer Vacation Flight

A lot of you still haven’t made vacation travel plans yet. All you know is, you want to get out and go somewhere – enough with the dreary “staycations”. And I think that’s great.

The trick, though, is getting somewhere for the least amount of money. Is it too late? Not at all.

Notice I use the term, “least amount of money”. We’ll help you find the cheapest airline tickets available. These tickets may not be super bargains, but we don’t set the prices – the airlines do. What we can promise is to help you find the best of what’s available, so you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t pay too much.

The Rules: When to Buy the Cheapest Airline Tickets for Summer Vacation Flights

Let’s get started – just read these 5 simple rules (it’ll take you all of three minutes), and then, grab that deal.

Know the Cheapest Days to Fly

A simple way to save big.

1. Cheapest Days to Fly

Usually, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Be Flexible: Sure, it’s less convenient to fly on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Saturdays, but you will pay more to fly on a Friday or Sunday.

If you don’t believe it, check out some of the recent airfare sales and you’ll see they often require passengers to fly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and sometimes Saturday. If you can work out your vacation schedule to fit these “cheapest travel days”, you will save money.

Best Time and Best Day to Buy Airfare

Not many people know about this, but we keep trying to spread the word.

2. Know the Best Time and the Best Day to Buy Airline Tickets

You might get lucky, and find a good deal any day of the week – but I’ve analyzed the airfare data, and here’s what I know:

The best time and best day to buy airfare is Tuesday at 3pm.

Here’s Why: When an airline launches a sale, it usually does so on Monday evening; soon, the other airlines with similar routes begin matching the sale prices and by the 1pm airfare distribution feed, the matching is completed – and the new lower airfares begin showing up in airline reservation systems on Tuesday at 3pm.

Avoid Expensive Surcharge Dates

You might not be able to avoid them altogether, but you can avoid paying too much.

3. Know the Surcharge Dates

The airlines started something new last year, and it proved so successful (at making them money), that they really went to town with it this summer: I am speaking of course, of the “peak travel day” surcharges.

As it turns out, the airlines consider almost every day this summer to be a peak travel day, since these airline surcharges are applied to each summer day through Aug. 22 (with the lone exception of the Fourth of July).

Two things you can do to save:

  • Fly at the end of August
  • Fly on Tuesday and Wednesday, the cheapest surcharge days ($20 roundtrip surcharges); if at all possible, avoid flying Sundays ($60 roundtrip surcharges)

Find a Cheap Destination

How to find a summer vacation spot that fits your budget.

4. Where to Go for the Cheapest Flights

Sometimes, flying to a destination within your state or in the state next door is the cheap way to go, but not necessarily. The best airfare deals may be found to resort destinations across the country.

Here are four good ways to determine this:

Number One Way to Save

Why don’t more people do this? Believe me, it’s worth it.

5. Avoid the Checked-Bag Fees

Use a carryon bag and instantly save $50 roundtrip every time you fly (on many airlines); for a family of four, that’s a roundtrip savings of $200.

Choose a carryon that’s the proper size, and with careful packing (wear your heaviest stuff!) you’ll have what you need. I used a carryon bag for a ten day trip to Italy.


I hope this helps. Now get the best deal possible – and, safe travels.


Published: July 7, 2010