7 Ways to Save on Summer Travel

Patrick Surry - Jan. 31, 2016

Summary:

  • Don’t procrastinate: We predict average flight prices will rise almost 10% over the next six weeks as summer booking gets into full swing. Flight prices typically rises sharply in the month before departure.

  • Pick the cheapest weeks to travel: The cheapest flight prices are available the first week of June or after mid-August.

  • Buy a mid-week flight: Save almost $40 on average by flying Tuesday or Wednesday.

  • Fly and buy at the right time: The Hopper App can save you as much as 40% on flights by showing you the cheapest times to fly, predicting flight prices, and notifying you when to book.

  • Avoid the crowds: The most popular domestic destinations this summer are Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando, San Francisco, and New York City.

  • Use the strong dollar to your advantage: The US dollar is 20% stronger against many foreign currencies. Europe, Japan, and parts of South America are great bargains this year with cheaper flights and lower costs while you’re there.

  • Look into cheaper international destinations: Save up to $600 by flying to a less popular European destination and use cheap internal flights or trains to more popular destinations like London or Paris.

Analysis:

We found that domestic flight prices are down more than 10% compared to last year. However, the summer travel season is approaching quickly so you’ll need to act fast to score a deal.  We analyzed airfare search data collected over the four weeks from April 19th through May 17th, 2015, for departures through Labor Day weekend to identify money-saving tips.  

Top US destinations this summer

The following destinations are most popular this summer. If you want to avoid the crowds (and score a cheap flight), you may want to avoid these destinations.

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Table 1: Most popular domestic destinations for travel before Labor Day

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Figure 1: Most popular domestic destinations for travel before Labor Day

Cheapest times to travel

Demand is already strong through July based on expected advance booking and softening into August. The best flight prices are available into the first week of June or after mid-August.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 10.51.05 PMFigure 2: Most popular travel dates and best price options for domestic departures this summer

Thursday and Friday are the most popular days to travel, but flying mid-week (Tuesday/Wednesday) saves almost $40 on average.

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Best and worst weeks to travel to specific airports

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Figure 4: On average, late August is the cheapest time to travel to the top destinations, with late May or late June the most expensive

Data and Methodology

This report is based on airfare search data collected over the four weeks from April 19th through May 17th, 2015, for departures through Labor Day weekend.

The data presented in this analysis comes from Hopper’s combined feed of Global Distribution Service (GDS) data sources which includes about 10 million queries and 1 billion trips per day.  Demand is represented as the number of queries not actual ticket purchases.  Good deal prices are represented by the 10th percentile prices.  For example if the 10th percentile price is $800 dollars it means that only 10% of trips are priced at or below this price.

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