Save on Airfare by Buying Tickets One Day Earlier than You Planned

My latest savings motto: Buy your plane tickets one day earlier than you planned.

LISTEN: Rick Seaney wants you to save money.

Avoid the Last Minute Zone

Actually, I’ve been spreading the word about this for years; the reason I’m bringing it up yet again is with the holidays around the corner and everyone so  busy, shopping for airfare is a chore that’s easy to put off. Don’t do it. Delays are costly anytime but even worse at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

How to find the best deals at Thanksgiving

When to Shop

When do most of us shop? During the 30 day period before departure, which is not the way to find the best deals. Shop these time-frames instead.

  • Domestic tickets: Try to shop between three months and one month before departure.
  • International tickets: Shop between five months and about a month-and-a-half before departure.

More on U.S. flights: Once you hit the thirty day mark, prices rise quickly and again at the two week mark when expensive business travel fares kick-in. Exception: Discount airlines usually give you up to a week before departure before their steepest fares show up.

Here’s what I’m talking about in black and white, prices for coast-to-coast travel:

  • Booked one month in advance: Southwest $375, United $377.
  • Booked one week in advance: Southwest: $441, United $555.
  • Booked one day in advance: Southwest $555, United $1064.

The moral of my motto: The longer you wait, the more you pay. No matter which airline you fly.

  • See more on this topic in Rick’s latest column for ABC News. See all Rick’s columns here.


Published: September 29, 2014