You might be searching for flights for the upcoming holiday season. Or maybe you’re looking at options for the next school break. Or maybe you’re like me and have a general case of wanderlust and are constantly planning your next family vacation. Whatever the situation, a common question that comes up is: When is the best day to book flights?

Budgets are tight and we all want to stretch our dollar as far as it will go. Fortunately, with a little planning and tools like Google Flights, it’s possible to snag some deals and save a few bucks on your next flight.

How does Google Flights work?

Google Flights is a search tool that allows you to check flight prices across several airlines. It also has price tracking functions and an explore function that lets you see the prices for flights to various cities in a general area. For instance, I’ve been daydreaming about a winter getaway somewhere warm and, using Google Flight’s explore function, I was able to get a general idea of prices to different locations in the Caribbean during the winter holidays. Not only does it help you compare prices, but it can also pique interest in vacation options that hadn’t previously been on your radar. 

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Google Flights is a fan favorite among travel agents as well. “Google Flights is my go-to for finding and comparing flight prices,” Jenita Lawal, owner of California-based Lawal Travel Services, told USA TODAY.

You can also set up alerts with Google Flights so you are notified of any price changes and see how the cost compares with flight price history. 

“Google Flights brings a lot of helpful information right to your fingertips, so you can easily track prices, filter for your exact preferences, or browse destinations around the world that fit your budget,” James Byers, group product manager at Google Flights, told USA TODAY.

What is the best travel day?

According to USA TODAY, the Google Flights team analyzed five years’ worth of data from August 2017 to August 2022 to find out the best day to flight and the best time to book a flight. If you can be flexible, consider flying on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, which are historically the cheapest days of the week to fly. Sunday is the most expensive day to fly.

When is the best day to book flights?

The Google Flights researchers debunked the idea that booking on a Tuesday will give you the best deals and instead suggested that it’s all about finding the timing sweet spot when booking flights. If you start looking too early, or wait too long, your flight options will likely be more limited. According to USA TODAY, if you are traveling within the U.S. (with our without kids), experts say to book your flight between three weeks and three months before your trip, with prices hitting their low at 44 days in advance, on average.

Timing for flight deals changes a little when it comes to holiday travel. If you’re planning to travel within the U.S. for Thanksgiving, Google Flights data suggests that the best airfare prices are likely to occur 36 to 74 days before your trip, with a low occurring at 52 days, on average. For Christmas travel, airfare lows are typically around 22 days in advance of travel, but you can snag some deals up to 88 days (about three months) in advance.

Related: Airlines can no longer charge parents extra money for sitting next to their kids on airplanes

International flights are best booked about five months in advance, but don’t wait until less than 50 days before your trip. Some travel advisers recommend booking international flights six to eight months in advance.

If you’re traveling from the U.S. to Mexico or the Caribbean, the sweet spot is about two months (59 days) in advance of your trip. In other words, if you’re planning to travel of the winter holidays, you’ll probably get the best prices around Halloween.

What are some other ways to save money when booking flights?

You might also be able to save some money on flights if you’re willing to have a layover. Google Flights data found that taking a layover flight could save about 20% on airfare. If you do have a layover, travel advisor Lawal suggests opting for a longer layover and building in some sight-seeing time, if possible.

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“In the U.K., I had a nine-hour layover at Heathrow, so I bought a subway ticket and enjoyed a few hours in London–even popped into Wolseley’s for authentic English tea,” she told USA TODAY. 

If you’re searching for flights and want to save a few dollars (don’t we all?), Google Flights is an excellent tool. Though a word of warning: you just might end up down a rabbit hole of wanderlust vacation daydreaming and before you know it a few hours will have slipped away. (No? Just me? Okay then.)

Happy travels!

A version of this post was published September 15, 2022. It has been updated.