We are all to blame for this: We just realized our big mistake in booking the trip at the airport and it’s too late to avoid the crowds or cancel the flight. Or we’re already involved in a social plan that locks us in on the most expensive flight days. The good news is: the more you know when to travel, the easier it will be to avoid crowds and expensive tickets.
Read on to save your money and patience on your next trip.
1. Summer Fridays.
Summer is the busiest time in the United States, and airport traffic is busiest on weekends. Expect the biggest crowds and the highest airfare on Fridays in June, July and August.
Flights tend to be more expensive on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, and airports are busier, as weekend and get away trips are the most common for business and leisure travelers. If you can travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, you’ll usually be rewarded with lower fares and less traffic jams on country roads.
Maybe Monday is the worst day of travel. Airlines typically cancel twice as many flights on Mondays as on Tuesdays, which is likely to make your journey more difficult than it needs to be.
4. More precisely, at 07.00 am Monday morning.
Also, think about who’s flying. Monday morning is the busiest time for travelers and road warriors. This route is also popular at major tourist resorts such as Orlando, Florida when families return home. Airport travel at this point could mean waiting in line twice or even three times as long just to get through airport security – and in a place like Orlando that’s jam-packed with kids exhausted with Mickey for a week, that can cause a stomach ache. To solve the problem, try flying earlier in the morning or just wait a day.
5. Thanksgiving and the day before Thanksgiving.
We’ve all heard for a long time that Thanksgiving is the worst day to travel. The airport will certainly be crowded – and the streets will be packed – but when it comes to flights, the hustle and bustle of the day is not entirely justified. “There are about five to ten days in the summer that are busier than Thanksgiving,” says AAA’s Troy Green.
6. 3rd and 4th July
Each relates to the beach, friends, family and all four travel, airport packing. When the holidays fall on the weekends, the chaos multiplies. For most travelers, these holidays are non-negotiable so people expect to pay more. The alternative is to change your itinerary the day before.
The exact week of spring break in March varies between schools; High schools in different regions have different holidays, and colleges have their own schedule. With this in mind, the week before Easter is usually the hottest time to travel south in terms of price, so prices are higher for any trips in that direction.
We all know it at the dentist or cable clerk or contractor: the later the meeting in a day, the more likely it is. In the case of air travel, delays are more common, so night flights suffer the most. According to The Points Guy, 10pm on any given night is the worst time to go, with a 27.1% chance of being late – the worst of the day.
9. President’s Day.
Everybody has the same idea of taking off in February and taking Monday off. Travel during the third week of the month is most expensive from Thursday to Tuesday. So if you can, if plans allow, make the trip Wednesday through Wednesday. Or, if it’s possible to travel more than a week, add a few more days and avoid the most difficult travel days.
10. Christmas and New Year.
From December 20 to January 3 there is a huge travel jump. Most countries have this free time and want to travel – and rightly so. Some seasoned seasonal travelers just suck it up and beat the crowds and peak hotel prices, while others book trips for the first half of December, just before airlines and hotels raise their prices.