Pulling the trigger on an airline ticket purchase is hard, especially when you're trying to figure out the best time to buy your Spring Break airline tickets. You never know if it's the right time and if you're getting the best deal you can get. There's always that voice in the back of your head that says "Can get a better deal if I wait just a little bit longer?" And with Spring Break fast approaching, you're probably feeling pretty nervous about missing out on that good price. It's nearly impossible to know whether you should book far in advance or wait until the last minute because every travel expert has an opposing opinion on the subject.
The problem is, everyone's right, and no one's right. There's no fool-proof algorithm that we can abide by to get great ticket deals every time. There are so many factors that need to be considered lik e departing city, destination, time of year, time of day, time of week, airport choice and current events. That said, lots of experts have done large studies over time to take a more general look at airline prices. What they've found is not as specific as we'd like, none of those "Thursday at 3:12 P.M." insider-type tricks actually work. But there are some larger picture patterns in prices that are helpful to think about.
For spring break and late winter getaways to places like the Caribbean and ski resorts, there's no advantage to waiting until the last minute. Airlines know that each year, no matter what, there will be a huge flux of people who want to fly during these times to these types of destinations.
They also know that there will be a lot of last minute travelers who were waiting to get those tickets and who will accept those higher fees because they don't have a choice. For that reason, it's unlikely that an airline will drop their prices closer to the date, simply because they don't need to. Rather, the best time to get tickets for trips to these places at this time of year is around 21 weeks before departure. In this circumstance, travelers who plan far in advance are rewarded with access to the best priced seats.
According to CheapAir, for many flights and destinations, travelers have a better chance of nabbing a great deal between six and seven weeks before departure. And according to FareCompare, it's really three months to six weeks that's the ultimate sweet spot for airline booking. But they also note that if you haven't already picked your destination, you might want to consider picking a destination that's statistically cheaper to fly into like Boston, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, or Miami. These destinations have larger airports and can offer more deals to more travelers.
That said, if you're already down to the wire and trying to figure out if you should just buy the ticket or wait until the absolute last minute, take into consideration that studies show that spring break tickets don't typically drop last minute. And while there's always an exception to patterns, you're getting pretty close — it might be time to drag those tickets to check out and start focusing on more fun things like what to pack.