Hayley Berg - Tue Jan 24 2023
It's January, meaning a new year of travel ahead of us. No matter what adventures the next year holds, the expert team at Hopper has you covered. In this guide, we've compiled our top travel booking tips based on eight years of historical pricing data and 70 trillion flight & hotel prices to bring you the ultimate cheat sheet for planning travel in 2023.
Start monitoring prices 3-4 months before departure: There is a sweet spot for flight prices, when airlines will be offering lower prices on average, and are more likely to offer promotional discounts and ultra low fares. Start monitoring prices 3-4 months before your trip and Hopper will send you a notification when it’s the best time to buy your flight!
Save as much as $100 per ticket flying midweek: Travelers who fly mid-week (usually Wednesday) can save an average of 17% or $56 per ticket on domestic airfare throughout the year. Midweek savings spike over $60 per ticket during busy spring break and summer vacation months, while flying midweek over the holidays can save you $100 or more.
Depart before 9am to save on stress, and $$: Flights departing after 9am were up to 2x more likely to be delayed than those early morning flights. Those travelers looking to avoid travel disruption can save on both stress, and potential costs associated with delays, missed connections and cancellations by traveling as early as possible.
Plan ahead & save 50% off stays in leisure cities: Leisure cities like Las Vegas and Miami offer warm weather, entertainment and access to the outdoors (Grand Canyon/Beach) that appeal to Americans all year round. Book 3+ months in advance to save 50% or more on your trip.
Book at the last minute to save >30% in big cities: Hotels in large cities have to compete with many other, similar hotels to capture your reservation. Book in the last 3 weeks before your check in dates to find savings averaging 30% off peak prices, or more than >$150 for stays.
Check in Sunday through Tuesday to save 25% or more: Prices are lowest for stays early in the week. If school and work schedules allow it, save 25% per night or more just by staying early in the week. For those without the flexibility of staying during the week, shift your weekend stay to end Monday morning (Saturday - Monday) to save 10% off peak weekend prices.
Skip the Saturday Night Stay to save $45 or more: Save $45 per night on average by checking in on off peak days, like Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. You’ll pay a 25% premium on average to check in over the weekend. This premium is significantly larger for popular cities like Las Vegas (120% premium) and Miami (80% premium)!
We've outlined when to book for each of the major travel holidays this year to get the best price.
Domestic | Start monitoring prices 3-4 months in advance, expect to book 1-2 months in advance.
For most domestic trips airfare will fall between one and three months before your departure, before rising rapidly in the last 3-4 weeks before takeoff. This means there is a sweet spot where airlines will be offering lower prices on average, and are more likely to offer promotional discounts and ultra low fares. To take advantage of these prices, start monitoring prices 3-4 months before your trip with a price monitoring tool like Hopper. Hopper will monitor prices for your trip in real time, then send you a notification when it’s the best time to buy your flight!
If you’re traveling over a popular spring or summer long weekend, start planning closer to 5-6 months in advance and expect to book 3-4 months in advance for the best prices and availability. Memorial Day and 4th of July weekend tend to see sold out flights and high prices if you don’t plan ahead!
International | Start monitoring prices 6-7 months in advance, expect to book 3-5 months in advance.
When you’re traveling internationally, planning ahead is key to getting the cheapest airfare. Travelers often book international flights too far in advance or too last minute, overpaying significantly for their tickets. The key to international trips is to plan ahead. Start monitoring prices 6-7 months before your trip. That means if you’re headed to Europe for a summer holiday, start monitoring prices now!
Expect to book 3-5 months before your desired departure date. Ultra long haul trips to destinations in Asia and Australia are usually at their lowest price closer to 5 months before your departure date, so be sure to start monitoring early as Hopper may advise you to book within just a few weeks!
Though Friday and Saturday have historically been the most popular departure days of the week, flying over the weekend comes at a significant price premium. Travelers who fly mid-week (usually Wednesday) can save an average of 17% or $56 per ticket on domestic airfare throughout the year. Midweek savings spike over $60 per ticket during busy spring break and summer vacation months, while flying midweek over the holidays can save you $100 or more.
International travelers can save significantly by heading out on longer haul trips midweek as well, with airfare averaging $70 (about 9%) less than weekend prices. The greatest savings are available for departures during the summer peak in July and over the holidays, with midweek fliers saving $80-$130 per ticket off of weekend fares.
It pays to get up early to grab the first flight out! On average, flights departing after 9am were up to 2x more likely to be delayed than those 5am - 8am flights. Cancellations are also typically highest at the end of the day, with over 3% of flights canceled on average between 5pm and 10pm last year.
Worried about delays, missing a connection or cancelations this year? Consider adding Hopper’s Missed Connection or Delay Protection products when you book with us. If you experience a disruption skip the long customer service lines and rapidly rebook yourself on the next available flight out, no matter which airline. Hopper will cover your new flight up to the cost of your original ticket!
Leisure cities like Las Vegas and Miami offer warm weather, entertainment and access to the outdoors (think: Grand Canyon or beaches) that appeal to Americans all year round. When planning a trip to one of these cities it’s key to plan ahead during peak winter, spring and fall months. Prices can double in the 3 months before check in and hotels offering the most amenities and convenience may sell out. If you’re flexible on where you stay, book ~4-5 weeks before check in for last minute deals- but don’t wait any longer or you’ll overpay for your stay!
Hotels in large cities have to compete with many other, similar hotels to capture your reservation. In major cities you can oftentimes find multiple hotels on the same block, with similar amenities and offering access and convenience to attractions. This means when hotels aren’t sold out for a concert or other event, they will drop prices to compete with other hotels to earn your business! Wait until the last 3 weeks before your check in dates to find savings averaging 30% off peak prices, or more than >$150 for stays in major cities.
America’s favorite tropical destination is one of Hopper’s most popular for hotel stays. Planning ahead is key to the best stay in Hawaii, with the best prices and most availability around 3-4 months before your trip. If you’re traveling in peak fall and winter months, be prepared to book your trip as early as April to get the best hotel prices.
Fall & Winter: Book at least 4 months in advance for the lowest prices and most availability.
Spring & Summer: Book 2-3 months in advance for the lowest prices. Prices will drop again in the last month before check in, but hotels are more likely to sell out in Hawaii so you may need to be flexible on where you stay if you wait until the last minute.
Most travelers booking accommodations are looking for a weekend stay, with stays for Thursday, Friday and Saturday night representing 75% of the searches made on the Hopper app. Unsurprisingly, these weekend check in dates run the most expensive, with nightly rates over the weekend averaging 25% higher than rates available on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights. For the best rates, plan your trip early in the week to take advantage of ultra low nightly rates.
Getting away for the weekend? With work, school and other responsibilities, not everyone can plan a vacation or getaway during the week to lock in low sunday through tuesday night rates. If you’re headed for a two night weekend stay, shift your stay from Friday to Sunday by one day. Stay Saturday to Monday and save 10% on average off your stay!
We rounded up the premium you’ll pay to stay Saturday night in these top 5 cities for US and international trips. In Las Vegas, staying over the weekend can cost you 2x a week night stay, averaging a $170 premium for Saturday night alone! Top cities like Tokyo, London and Kuala Lumpur see hotels priced at a premium of 22% to >45% for Saturday night stays. If you’re headed to one of these cities, consider shifting your stay to avoid paying the Saturday night stay premium.
Check out these top deal destinations for Spring Break 2023!
You could save up to 40% on your next flight!