Best time to book flights for Christmas: top tips for cheaper travel

How to beat the system and snag a festive bargain

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If you're planning a trip over the Christmas period - whether it's to visit relatives, head off on holiday or fly home - it can be confusing trying to find the best deals.

While some people suggest booking months in advance, others rely on last minute deals.

As Philipp Brinkmann, CEO of Tripsta explains, "Getting the best flight deal is never an exact science as prices are generally always changing, driven by specific consumer demand at any one time. A good rule of thumb is to assume any flights which are more convenient, whether they fall on a Bank Holiday, are direct or don't involve getting up while it's still dark, will be more expensive."

With all flight prices being driven by demand, travel booking site Tripsta share tips on how to beat the system and snag a bargain.

1. Travelling on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve – steal or save?

Don't presume that by sacrificing a national holiday for a flight you will automatically find the best money saving.

Last year the chance of bagging a great deal for a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day flight was 50:50 with buying an overpriced ticket.

Booking your Christmas Day travel in advance also made no difference, with November bookings for the day rather than in December also seemed to make no difference with 65 percent of good flight deals for travel on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve booked in December.

2. Worst day to book?

Last year, the worst day to book was a Saturday. Out of all flights, the ones booked on a Saturday resulted in the highest number of people paying over the odds for their travel.

Out of all Saturday bookings made in November and December for Christmas travel, 92 percent were way over the average price with only 8 percent representing a good deal.

Other days which offered better value flight tickets were Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Even booking on a Sunday was preferable to a Saturday although still not ideal, with 69 percent of tickets booked on this day not offering an affordable price.

Credits: Getty Images

3. Best time to book?

Although it seems booking on a Tuesday or a Friday is your best bet, the week also plays an important factor.

Last year it seems the highest ratio of reasonably priced Christmas flight bookings were made during the week commencing the 2nd November.

See also: How to keep Christmas simple

During this week, 60 percent of bookings made were of an average or below average price.

In contrast, the week beginning the 16th November appeared to offer the worst flight prices with a huge 87 percent of bookings made significantly higher than average prices. It seems that even just a few weeks can make all the difference.

4. Most popular Christmas travel periods

Last year, the most popular Christmas travel period was from Christmas Eve until the 28th of December, closely followed by the 21st December until the 28th of December.

By far the most popular return date (56 percent of bookings) was the 28th of December (a Bank Holiday which falls on the 27th of December this year).

With flight prices driven by demand, it would be wise to think a little more creatively about when to leave and when to return for the best flight deals.

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5. Get alerted to flight prices as they change with Tripsta's iOS app

As well as useful sites such as Tripsta and Skyskanner, you can also get real-time notifications sent to your phone which let you know when specific flights you're after change in price.

If you have an iPhone, you can also download Tripsta's iOS app, which alerts you when flight prices change.

Simply add a price alert for a specific destination and travel period and you will be informed as prices go up and down.


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