You know where you want to go on vacation – but when? If only there was a list of magic dates that gave you the best deals possible.
Hear Rick Seaney explain to editor Anne McDermott how magic dates can turn into money saved – presto!
Summer vs. Fall
There is such a list. Call it the five magic dates for summer travel. These are dates when peak travel or summer fares drop and cheaper fall prices kick in. Never mind that the official first day of autumn is Sept. 22; the airlines follow their own calendar – and knowing their big dates will save you money.
Magic Dates for Flights in the U.S.
For U.S. flights, think in terms of distance or miles flown. OK, now here are the magic dates by length of routes:
- Aug. 29: For cross-country flights, about 2,500 miles (example, New York-Los Angeles)
- Sept. 3: Mid-haul flights, about 1,250 miles (example, Dallas to Washington, D.C.)
For short-haul flights of roughly 500 miles, give or take, prices generally remain about the same in peak season and fall. This is especially true on popular routes with lots of service and competition and some good examples are Boston to Baltimore or Los Angeles to San Francisco or Dallas to Houston.
Magic Dates for Flights to Europe
Prices drop depending on the city you're traveling to and here are three dates to keep on your radar:
- Aug. 20 – Frankfurt
- Aug. 23 – London
- Aug. 26 – Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, Rome
Prices will drop again later in the fall (typically from mid to late October) when the winter season kicks in – the cheapest time of all for flights to Europe.