Traveling is one of my great hobbies. Each time I go somewhere far away from home, I get new inspirations and ideas, such as opening my first credit card and starting this blog. And I love air travels; the Wright brothers are among my favorite heroes, and it so happens that Seattle is the host of the famed Museum of Flight. It also helps that I have friends on the other side of the continent, and also on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I don’t need excuses to travel, really. And I hope that you share with me my passion for flying.
Because if you do, you will find the information I present in this post very helpful. I am making this post the shortest I’ve ever written since I want to focus your attention on the 2 simple rules of flight booking: the Rule of 21, and the Rule of 34.
Book a domestic flight 21 days in advance, or an international flight 34 days in advance.
The reason: these time windows offer the best prices for your trips. Why, you ask?
For each flight, the airlines set a goal of selling a set number of tickets at regular prices, and put the rest on sale. Throughout the time window prior to the flight, the airline company periodically releases discount tickets, and the sweet spot is right at 21 days before departure, according to a survey by Kayak. For international flights, the sweet spot is 34 days prior to departure.
You won’t believe this. I accidentally tested the rules on myself earlier this week, when I was randomly checking the price of a ticket that I had already booked 10 days prior. To my amazement (and dismay), the price had dropped by 20%. Twenty-per-cent. On the exact same flights. How could this happen to me? Seriously, how could this happen to me?? The answer, which I regretfully did not know at the time, is the Rule of 21 in force.
Today, I checked again, and the price has now gone up from the price I had paid. This makes me feel less guilty, and makes me more highly regard the power of the Rule of 21. I have not tested the Rule of 34, but I intend to follow this rule when I book my next international flight with cash.
Obviously, the Rule of 21 and the Rule of 34 are generalizations, but they give you the best chance of success. As an actuary, I believe in numbers and statistics. But this perspective earned me a pair of tickets to “The Book of Mormon” in Seattle. And I have witnessed the Rule of 21 with my own eyes. When you book your travels, just keep these 2 numbers in mind, and I wish you success.
Another trivia for you: the best time of the week to book a flight is 3pm on a Tuesday, according to a study by FareCompare. Feel free to test this out!