The Best Day to Book a Flight

Airlines Faster Boarding
Elaine Thompson/AP
It's a conundrum we all face when planning a trip: Should you buy your ticket early and maybe pay a little extra to get a guaranteed seat, or wait for a better deal to come along at the last minute? No matter what you choose, it seems like the price of a flight is always lower after you've already booked.

But there's a new study out that shows when it's the most effective time to buy airplane tickets. Below are some tips, including what day of the week to buy, that you can use to save money the next time you fly.

Book Early, but Not Too Early

According to a recent report from Expedia (EXPE) called "Preparing for Takeoff: Air Travel Trends 2015," domestic travelers have a window between 50 and 100 days before a flight when airline tickets are cheapest. Booking too early or too late can result in ticket prices that are hundreds of dollars higher.

On average, the best precise day to book your flight is 57 days in advance.

Source: Expedia's "Preparing for Takeoff: Air Travel Trends 2015"

Booking in this optimal window can save you nearly $100 a ticket, on average, and the savings over booking last-minute can be as much as $250. So, plan ahead, but not too far ahead.

Interestingly, international travelers will want to plan much further in advance. Ticket prices tend to be lowest more than 100 days in advance, up to a year, for an international flight and climb steadily as takeoff approaches.

Source: Expedia's "Preparing for Takeoff: Air Travel Trends 2015"
The Best Day to Book

There's also a strategy to what day of the week you should buy your a ticket. According to Expedia's findings, when booking in advance, you should try to book on a Tuesday. That's the day that can save you as much as $28 -- versus booking on Saturday.

At the very least, book midweek instead of on the weekend and you'll save around $20 on each ticket.

Knowing When to Plan Your Trip Is Half the Battle

There's no surefire way to know that you're going to get the lowest possible flight for an airline ticket, but following these tricks will ensure that you put yourself in position to get the best possible deal the next time you fly. Domestically, book 50 to 100 days in advance; internationally, book more than 100 days in advance; and book your flights midweek instead of on a weekend.

Happy travels!

Travis Hoium is a Motley Fool contributor. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Plan ahead on more than just your travels: Check out our free report on one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.
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