The best day of the week to book cheap flights, according to Skyscanner

Australian travellers are missing out on cheaper overseas flights by choosing to fly on Fridays instead of earlier in the week.

Airfare comparison website Skyscanner has crunched the data on millions of searches performed on the platform to reveal the cheapest and most expensive days to fly.

On six key international routes departing from Australia the most popular day to fly was on Friday. This is despite the cheapest fares generally being available on a Monday.

The routes where travellers could save the most by travelling earlier in the week were Sydney to Tokyo (13 per cent) and Melbourne to Bali (14 per cent). A modest saving was available flying from Sydney to Auckland (4 per cent) when flying on Thursday instead of Friday.

Travel agent Elizabeth Ellis said the Skyscanner report aligned with her own experience from more than 30 years in the industry.

As the manager of Cherrybrook Travel in Sydney's north-west, Mrs Ellis advises people to be as flexible as possible with their travel preferences.

"We try to encourage people to fly midweek, but it doesn't work out well for some people. Why would you want to fly three days after your holidays start?"

Mrs Ellis said the same principle was true for returning home from an overseas holiday: "You try not to arrive back on a Sunday morning. That will always be the dearest time to travel as well."

She said one tip was booking your annual leave to begin and end mid-week, instead of backing onto the weekends like most people do.

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If you must fly on an expensive day, Mrs Ellis said the best option was to fly very early or very late in the day.

"Sometimes what seems like a yucky hour can be cost effective as well."

The Skyscanner data shows that some routes are cheapest when booking just eight weeks in advance, including flights from Melbourne to Auckland or Manila.

But Mrs Ellis said these statistics were "very misleading" because travel is seasonal and prices are too.

"If I was going to Bali in the school holidays I would tell people June next year because all the cheap April ones are gone."

The best advice remains to book as far in advance as possible for flights during peak season. And for those planning a trip to Europe to escape the Australian winter next year, Mrs Ellis said it's too late to get a cheap ticket.

"People booking for next year's high season have already missed the boat. Now we're in December we are going to see those fares creep up," she said.

Another consideration when budgeting for international travel was that flights comprise "only one small component".

"For most people [flying] is not the most expensive part of the holidays … you have to look at the overall cost," Mrs Ellis said.

Bali remained the most popular destination for Skyscanner searches in 2019, with an average trip length of eight days.

London (21 days) and Bangkok (15 days) were next, with New Delhi rising to fourth spot ahead of Auckland. Tokyo, Manila, Singapore, Seoul and Hong Kong rounded out the top ten.

Mrs Ellis said most of her clients have been avoiding Hong Kong since widespread violent protests gripped the country.

"The only people stopping in Hong Kong at the moment are people with family there … [other] people are very cautious about it."

See also: Thirty-three never-before-heard travel hacks from the experts

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