Magic Dates to Fly in August

The peak summer travel season for U.S. flights in 2019 runs from late June through Aug. 19 (give or take a day or two), and other countries have peak season dates that are close to these. Peak season, of course, usually means expensive airfare but there are ways to save! One of the best is by waiting for the magic dates to fly in August.

Magic Dates to Fly in August

In 2019, the magic dates to fly in August for U.S. domestic travel start on or about Aug. 20; this is followed by another drop on or about Aug. 27. For transatlantic travel, fares will drop somewhat in late August but there will be even better deals on or around Sept. 10. In case you were wondering, prices dip starting in August because that’s when many children return to school, and demand for family travel dries up. Here are seven more things to know about magic dates to fly.

1. When to find fall deals

The cheap Fall Deal Zone begins with the magic dates to fly in August and extends through early December throughout much of the world but there is one big exception in the U.S. when fares rise sharply in late November due to the Thanksgiving holiday travel period (they drop back down after a few days later). Check out these sample round-trip deals for travel in September found on the FareCompare Getaway Map in June (but note that prices may have changed by the time you read this).

Chicago-Tampa, $97
Los Angeles-Las Vegas, $86
New York-Madrid, $258
Beijing-Los Angeles, $399
London-Miami, $364
Sao Paulo-Paris, $557
Sydney-Los Angeles, $663

All prices in U.S. dollars

2. Winter deals

Winter is generally the cheapest time to fly. Find winter deals after New Year’s, usually around January 7, and the season lasts through March. It’s the cheapest time of the year to fly largely because it’s an unpopular time to fly in much of the world.

3. Do all airlines have the same magic dates?

No. We’ve seen late summer airfare sales offered by U.S. airlines where the magic date varies. Tip: Compare fares for multiple itineraries to find the best deals. This is where our Getaway Map is extremely useful and it’s a great deal-finding tool whether you live in the U.S. or anywhere else. Simply click the month or season you want to fly, and you’ll be shown prices to cities around the world. If you see a fare you like, click it and you be shown four itineraries, and some may have different prices. Be sure to click all four even if some seem too expensive because airlines can and do change prices unexpectedly.

4. How much are the savings?

What you save by flying the magic dates can vary by departure and destination cities, but in previous years, we’ve seen price-drops of 15-20%. If you have a little wiggle room in your travel days, change your itinerary a bit to see if you can save more.

5. How to find deals?

Some eays ways to find deals, year-round:

Compare fares: No single airline always has the best deal.

Set airfare alerts: When prices drop you’ll be notified instantly.

Getaway Map: A glance will tell you what’s cheap and what’s not.

Fly less popular days: In the U.S., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are generally cheaper than other days. In other regions, weekdays are usually cheaper than weekends.

6. Any no-go dates or travel periods to avoid?

U.S. flights: Avoid the Thanksgiving travel period. In 2019, the holiday falls on Thursday, Nov. 28. As always, flights on the Wednesday before the holiday and the Sunday after are particularly expensive.

International flights: Avoid the days immediately surrounding Christmas (Dec. 25) and New Year’s (Jan. 1) as they are usually peak travel periods with peak prices to match.

7. When to fly if you live outside U.S.

Generally speaking, major holiday celebrations and lengthy school vacations tend to be expensive times to fly around the world and the reason is simple. Airlines know this is when families are free to travel, so prices are raised to match this demand. If you can fly before or after an expensive periods, you will generally cut your costs, at least a little.

Rick Seaney
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