Here's the deal: there is no "best day of the week" to book an airline ticket. At least, not one that's statistically significant. Book your flights on a Thursday, book them on a Saturday, or book them on a Monday. It doesn't matter.
What does matter, however, is the month you choose to travel. And you should be going in May.
That's the findings from the team at travel app Skyscanner, who have gone through all of their bookings for 2017 in search of patterns. The day of the week that you actually click "book" for your big trip, they found, has very little bearing on how much you will have paid for your tickets. The month you do your travel, however, does. Go in May.
When you think about it, May makes sense for affordable travel. It's shoulder season around the world, before the rush of June and July, when it's summer in the northern hemisphere and when school holidays have kicked in back in Australia. There are also no Australian public holidays in May (unless you're in Queensland), whereas there are plenty of long weekends to make use of in April – and people do, which drives up prices.
May, however, is the sweet spot for affordability, and comfort.
No one else is travelling in May – they're all holding off for the winter/summer break, or they've already travelling in April. So the crowds are small, but the weather is pretty good: temperatures are mild in Europe and North America in May, it's not too cold in South America and Africa, and there's little rainfall in south-east Asia. Perfect. Plus the flights are cheap, and accommodation providers and attractions usually have off-peak discounts before June. May is the time to go.
The stats confirm it, too. Say you want to head over to New Zealand: last year, Australian travellers on Skyscanner paid an average of $455 for return flights to Auckland in May. That's 12 per cent lower than the yearly average. It's also 39 per cent cheaper than flying in the most expensive month of the year, December.
And it's the same for all of Australian travellers' favourite destinations. Flights to Bali in May cost an average of $610 return – 29 per cent cheaper than the annual average. Flights to London were $1730 return – 13 per cent cheaper than the average. Flights to LA were also good value at $1308 – if you chose to fly there in December you'd be looking at $2174, or 43 per cent more.
And Singapore was even cheaper. In May last year Australians paid an average of $710 for return flights to the city-state. In December last year they paid $1251, or almost 50 per cent more.
So that's one way to save money – travel in May. There are, however, a few more hacks to think about.
For international flights, Skyscanner found that the cheapest time to book is about 21 to 22 weeks in advance. That's when the best fares have been released. And avoid travelling in December if you can – that's by far the most expensive month.
According to Skyscanner there's no best day of the week to book tickets – at least, not one that's statistically significant. However, the travel booking portal Expedia, tracking data from the Airlines Reporting Corporation, did find a few days that were slightly cheaper. If you're going international, they found, book your flights on a Saturday; if you're going domestic, book on a Sunday.
Some of the most interesting stats from Expedia, however, involve the day you actually travel. The website found that, for international travel, you should be beginning your journey on a Thursday (and avoiding Saturdays, which are most expensive). For domestic travel, meanwhile, it's cheapest to begin your journey on a Saturday, and do your best to avoid Mondays.
Regardless of when you decide to travel, however, Expedia found that the cheapest month to book an airfare is January.
Unfortunately, we've missed the boat on that one for this year. However, May is just around the corner, and it's the perfect time to head overseas. So, where do you want to go?
What are your hacks for getting the best airfares, and for cheap travel in general? Do you think May is a good time to travel?
See also: Five ways to get an upgrade when you fly