Five Rules for Booking Flights

It doesn't have to be so difficult.

photo courtesy of iStock

We’ve sifted through all the myths and wives’ tales on how to get the best airline deals. Some of them are pure nonsense, but some—like the five below—are worth jotting down for future use.

1. Delete browser cookies

Constantly hunting for the same flight? Getting rid of cookies, which are bits of data that store information about your web browsing history, will lead to lower prices. If you don’t, websites will track this information and increase prices of flights you’ve searched.

2. The day matters

If you have some flexibility, try to fly on Tuesday or Wednesday, when business travel is lowest, or on Saturday, which sees much less weekend travel than Sunday. The smaller number of flyers on these days means lower fares.

3. Shop on Tuesday

Most airlines post flight deals on Monday nights. These usually appear to buyers on Tuesday, when fares are lowest (before flights start booking up). If you wait until the weekend to shop for flights, many seats will already be gone, and the remaining ones will be pricier.

4. Time it right

Hold back the excitement and resist the urge to book too early. Research shows that about six to seven weeks out is the best time to get the right fare. Be careful, though: If you wait too long, you might find that ticket prices have skyrocketed—or worse, that the flight you wanted is full.

5. Utilize your resources

There are so many ways to find and book flights these days, and most of them are right at your fingertips. You could book through a trusted travel agent or rely on one of several reliable, travel-specific search engines that provide helpful insights to make your booking experience just as hassle-free. Some engines, like Kayak, Google Flights, and Skyscanner even include a price predicting feature that analyzes trends to give you tips on when to book for the best price.