Best Time to Book International Flights from the USA

Best Time to Book International Flights from the USA

Hey, we all love a good vacation, but let's be real - the cost of flights can be a real downer. But don't worry, we've got you covered!

At JFC, we're all about traveling on a budget. We've been finding super cheap flights for a while now and we're pretty good at it. Like, under $300 round trip to Japan from LA and €10 to Morocco from Brussels cheap.

You might be thinking, "Wow, that's just lucky!" But the truth is, it's all about timing. Knowing when to book your flight can make a huge difference in the cost. So, we've put together a handy guide for you on the best times to book flights by region. Trust us, you'll want to bookmark this page for your next trip.

Best time to book trips to Europe

France

France is a popular destination for many, and for good reason! But if you want to avoid the crowds and high prices, you might want to steer clear of the summer months. July and August are when the French traditionally take their summer vacation, so you'll see prices for flights and hotels go up. Bastille Day and the Tour de France are also big events that can drive prices up.

The best way to book your summer trip to France is to be on the lookout for winter sales in January from major airlines.

Now, Paris is known as the City of Love and that means it's always a popular destination, especially around holidays like Valentine's Day or Christmas. If you're planning a trip to Paris during these times, keep an eye out for sales at the end of summer or around Black Friday. Budget airlines also tend to drop fares closer to the time, so you can look out for that too.

If you're looking for a good deal to the south of France or Corsica, keep an eye out for shoulder-season fares appearing around February or March for trips in May or June - this is the perfect time to visit for celeb spotting at Cannes Film Festival. Just imagine rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous on the French Riviera!

Greece

Longing to spend the whole summer on a Greek Island is pretty natural if you ask us. Unfortunately, it's what everyone else wants to do too, so you'll have to book peak-season flights well in advance. 

Winter sales are a good way to do it, but a lot of the smaller islands won't show up there - don't let that put you off, though. Finding cheap fares to Athens is pretty reliable with all major & budget airlines, then you get to island-hop your way to paradise from there. Keep in mind that some islands might also be cheaper to get to by ferry from a larger island with more flights, or even from Turkey or Italy.

Greece actually makes a great year-round destination, so if your vacations are flexible, there's no need to stand in line for hours to visit the Acropolis. It may sound surprising, but Athens itself is great for a bit of festive spirit (without the snow), while Thessaloniki offers fantastic hiking, nature and all the typical Ancient Greek history and amazing food.

Spain

It's the number one summer vacation spot for most people, but finding cheap flights to Spain during the peak months can be an absolute nightmare. Coastal cities like Malaga and Barcelona fill up from May to September (particularly during music festivals like Primavera Sound in early June), with nearby resort towns at maximum capacity during July and August.

The Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza, etc.) are also at their most popular over summer. The Canary Islands, however, are Spain's secret off-season weapon - located off the coast of Morocco, temperatures there sit around 15-20 °C even in mid-winter. 

No matter where you're traveling from, the best time to book your summer flights with a flagship carrier will be the winter before your trip. They tend to drop fares on flights around Europe once or twice a year - look out for annual Black Friday and Christmas sales in particular. 

For off-peak Spanish trips, the Canaries and cities like Granada and Seville in the south of the mainland are your best bets for year-round warmth. If you're not so worried about heat and just in need of some tapas and culture, city breaks in Madrid, Bilbao or Valencia work at any time of the year. You can comfortably book these a few months in advance, but look out for events like Black Friday promos for the cheapest options.

Switzerland

This one may seem a little niche, but Switzerland is especially popular among hikers, chocolate lovers, and watch fanatics. Naturally, the summer months are most popular with hikers, but you'll also find that events like the Watches and Wonders convention and Basel Carnival in March can bump up airfares and accommodation prices earlier in the year, too.

To get the best summer fares from the USA, you'll want to book early in the year. Look out for winter sales from Star Alliance airlines, particularly since SWISS is a member of the group. You can take advantage of Black Friday sales for low-season trips or hold out for last-minute deals.

Keep in mind that, depending on where you want to visit in Switzerland, you may just as well fly into Milan and make your own way over the border, since it frequently sees bargain fares with cheaper airlines like TAP Air Portugal. 

United Kingdom

The UK isn't exactly renowned for its amazing weather, so summer tends to be the busiest season for visitors. The country's main international events also happen then, like Wimbledon (June - July) or the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (August), so you can expect flights and accommodation during this period to be much pricier.

It's best to book summer trips the winter before you want to travel. You'll be able to pick up nice fares in the major airlines' Black Friday and winter sales. Flying into London is likely to work out cheapest for England, while Inverness normally comes up best for Scotland. Pretty convenient if you're into legendary monsters or epic road trips!

No matter where you're coming from, reaching Northern Ireland is easiest when you fly into Dublin and head north either by train or with a hire car. Plus, you can check the Republic of Ireland off the list while you're at it. As for Wales, there aren't many convenient flights in and out of Cardiff, so you're best aiming for London, Birmingham or Bristol then catching a train.

Visiting the UK outside peak summer makes it much easier to pick up a great deal. Late summer into autumn lets you get the best of the weather and avoid the crowds, and flight prices stay pretty stable year-round.

Best time to book trips to Asia

Planning a trip to Asia? The general rule of thumb is to book 2-3 months before you plan to travel. The best time to book is pretty consistent across the regions, so here are some examples: Thailand for Southeast Asia, Japan for East Asia, and the Maldives for South Asia.

One thing to keep in mind when booking flights to Southeast Asia, is the monsoon season which runs from June to September. In case you can't avoid traveling during this time, we recommend investing in travel insurance as part of your holiday budget.

Thailand

Bangkok

If you're planning a trip to Thailand, the cheapest city to fly to is the capital city itself. To get the best fares, book your flight 1.5 months in advance. However, avoid booking flights in July, August, and December, as flights get more expensive when big holidays are taking place.

The cheapest time to visit is during May, June, and September. This means you can attend various festivities like King Vajiralongkorn's Birthday with cheap flights and an extended vacation.

Phuket

When it comes to Phuket, the best time to book flights is similar to Bangkok, with the most expensive months for fares coinciding with key public holidays. However, prices tend to rise earlier, so you'll want to book more than 2.5 months in advance to get the best deals. If you're booking closer to your trip, it may be worth flying into Bangkok and then traveling to Phuket via public transport.

Japan 

Japan is one of those destinations that you can visit all year round. Spring brings Golden Week and the cherry blossom season, summer has a ton of festivals happening all over the country, autumn is perfect for the fall foliage, and winter is great for skiing, Nenmatsu, and even watching monkeys soak in the hot springs.

The key to avoiding the crowds during these peak periods is to steer clear of popular cities like Tokyo and Osaka. For example, you can enjoy cherry blossoms just as much in Atami and Kakegawa.

The best time to book a trip to Japan is 4-6 months before your departure date. Book even earlier if you're planning to go during peak periods or visiting tourist hotspots like Kyoto and Hiroshima. While you may be able to find flash sales with flights as low as $267 from Los Angeles, waiting until the last minute for the perfect price may get you a cheap flight but you'll end up paying more for accommodation.

Maldives

The Maldives is known for its warm weather all year round, but the monsoon season can bring heavy rains - so if you want to make sure you have sunshine, the best time to visit is between December and April. If you're into scuba diving or lounging in the overwater resorts, February is the best month to visit.

But if you're more interested in shark and manta ray spotting, the best time to visit is during the wet season from May to October.

The peak season is from December to March, when most visitors want to escape the cold of the western hemisphere, and it's also the most expensive. If you're on a budget, try booking for early May to June, just before the wet season starts and after the crowds have left.

Really cheap flights to the Maldives don't come around often, so when you see them, book as soon as possible. Many airlines and resorts also have last-minute sales during the low season, so keep an eye out for flash deals using Google Flights' tracker.

Best time to book trips to Central America and the Caribbean

When it comes to both destinations, there are generally two seasons: the wet/hurricane season which happens during summer and fall, and the dry season which coincides with winter and spring. To get the cheapest flights, try booking 1.5-3 months before your trip.

Keep in mind that festival periods like carnival and jazz festivals tend to be more expensive. So, if you're looking to save some money, avoid traveling during these times.

Costa Rica

When it comes to planning a trip to Costa Rica, the best time to visit depends on what parts of the country you'll be spending most of your time in. If you're planning to explore the rainforests in the central region, the dry season (December-April) is the best time to go. But if you're dreaming of lounging on the beaches of the Caribbean coast, fall is the best time to visit.

However, keep in mind that the Caribbean coast tends to see more rainfall during this period. So, if you're looking to avoid the rain, the best time to visit the Caribbean coast is September-October.

If you're looking to save on accommodation, flights, and activities, the green (wet) season from May-August is a great time to visit. The rain usually comes in short bursts during the afternoons, leaving plenty of time for exploring in the mornings and evenings.

Deals to Costa Rica are easy to come by, and we often see great deals 2 weeks to 3 months before departure, so keep an eye out for them!

Dominican Republic

The peak season in the Dominican Republic is between mid-December and April - when everyone wants to escape the cold weather. To get the best deals during these dates, it's best to book as early as possible.

We usually see peak-season deals for the Dominican Republic show up around the previous winter. If you're looking for a more affordable option, consider taking your holiday in November-mid December before the holiday crowds arrive and prices go up.

For even more affordable options, visit in the shoulder seasons: May and November. There might be a few showers here and there, but it's mostly sunshine, and fewer crowds mean lower costs on hotels and activities. You're also more likely to find last-minute deals for these months, but it's still worth booking at least a month in advance.

June to October is the rainy/hurricane season which peaks in September. Although the last major hurricane was in 2004, the island is still on the Caribbean hurricane belt, so it's best to avoid booking during this time, or at the very least get flexible tickets and travel insurance in case you need to postpone your flight.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago's weather patterns are similar to other Caribbean islands - the dry/peak season runs from January to May, and the wet season coincides with the Atlantic hurricane season from June to December. But, unlike some other islands in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago is outside the hurricane belt.

If you're looking to save on flights, the best time to book is 3-4 months prior and up to 6 months in advance if you're planning to attend carnival. Keep an eye out for flash sales across the Caribbean too!

We've written a local's guide to help you start planning your trip, so you can make the most of your time in Trinidad and Tobago!

Best time to book trips to South America

Planning a trip to South America? Keep in mind that the weather can be pretty different between the Northern and Southern hemispheres, so the best time to book your Machu Picchu trek might be different than a week spent on a Colombian beach. In general, try to book your trip 1.5 to 4 months before you travel.

Argentina

If you're heading to Argentina, Buenos Aires is a great budget-friendly option during September to November. The weather is perfect for eco-tourism and the crowds have usually died down by then. Mid-April to June is also a good time to visit, as it's low season and you can usually snag some good deals on accommodation.

But if you're looking to catch the Gualeguaychú carnival, plan to visit between December and April. And if you're into skiing, consider visiting Bariloche in June for budget-friendly ski trip.

To find the best deals on flights, use fare comparison sites like Skyscanner or Momondo. And just a heads up, be sure to watch out for any scams when booking with Online Travel agents (OTAs). We've even got a guide to help you out if you're worried.

Brazil

Brazil is such a huge and diverse country, so the best time to visit each city might vary a bit. Let's take a look at the two most popular cities: São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

São Paulo 

São Paulo is a great destination during the spring months of September to November. Not only will you avoid peak season prices and crowds, but you'll also have plenty to do with events like Restaurant week and Brazil's F1 Grand Prix.

But if you're looking to experience the famous carnival, plan to visit during peak season from December to April. Just be sure to book as far in advance as possible, up to 12 months prior, to get the best deals on accommodation.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is always a good choice, with warm weather all year round. However, just like in São Paulo, the most expensive time to visit is from December to April due to the carnival and holiday spikes.

To save some money, plan your trip during the shoulder seasons of mid-April to May or October to November. These dates usually have the best deals, which usually show up three months in advance.

Best time to book trips to Oceania

Fiji 

Ah, Fiji - that far-flung archipelago full of beautiful beaches. If you're trying to chase the sun, you'll want to go during the dry season (between June-September). The best time to book these flights is as early as the winter/spring of the year before. Because this is a pretty rare destination, it doesn't pay to wait. 

While November-April is the cheapest time to go, you'll have to deal with a bit of rain. If you're going for the tropical plants and seeing orchids in the wild, though, it's this time of year when the forests are full of life. Be on the lookout in spring/early summer for these low-season tickets. 

Australia 

Outside the two peak seasons (Northern Hemisphere's summer in June-August and Australia's in December-February), festivals and large sporting events, like the Australian Open (Melbourne, January) and Mardi Gras (Sydney, February-March), are also times when you'll see prices for tickets and accommodation rise.  

It's also worth noting that if you're looking to head out of the main cities and into the outback, whether it be Far North Queensland (home of the Great Barrier Reef) or Uluru in the Red Center, tickets will be more expensive for trips during Australia's winter (June-August) as travelers want to avoid the intense heat and high humidity/rain of summer.

The best time to book flights for these peak seasons is typically during worldwide sales (usually in the Northern Hemisphere's fall/winter of the year before). But, we may see airlines releasing surprise price drops over the next few months as Australia continues to encourage tourism, post-pandemic. 

To dodge the pricier times while enjoying some of Australia's famed sunny days, spring and fall are likely to be the cheapest times to travel. For these tickets, it's probably best to monitor the price for your dates a few months out to see how they fluctuate. Don't wait too long to book though, as tickets will normally peak within a month of your trip. 

Best time to book trips to Africa

Oh man, flights to Africa can be a real budget buster. But don't worry, there are a few ways to save some cash. First, try to avoid peak periods like Christmas, Ramadan, and school holidays. These are the times when flights are the most expensive.

Here's a pro-tip for ya: if you don't mind long layovers or multiple stops, you can often save some money. A lot of African-serving airlines, like Turkish Airlines, have long layovers in Europe or Dubai, which can be great opportunities for a mini vacation or to check out a new city. Plus, many of these airlines offer discounts on layover hotels.

Another thing to keep in mind is to look for flights that include checked bags in the base price. Trust me, paying extra for checked bags can really add up and set you back hundreds of dollars. So, by keeping these tips in mind you can explore Africa without breaking the bank.

Morocco

Knowing when to book a trip to Morocco largely depends on the activities you plan to do. But in general, the best time to go for great weather and the best prices is during the shoulder seasons of April to May and September to November.

If you're planning on hitting up the beaches of Essaouira, Agadir, or Taghazout, summer is the best time to visit, specifically June-August. However, it's also peak tourist season, so be sure to book as early as possible to avoid the crowds. But, if you're just into surfing, you can avoid the crowds by visiting in December when the surf breaks are great, but the weather is a bit cooler.

On the other hand, the best time to visit the Sahara Desert is either spring or fall, when the weather is cooler but not freezing. May-August can get extremely hot, with temperatures averaging around 115°F, which is not ideal. So, the best time to book a trip to the desert is 2-3 months prior to your trip.

And if you're planning on hitting the Atlas Mountains, the best time to visit is also during spring or fall. However, if you're looking to visit Ouikaimeden, the only ski resort in Africa, the best time to visit would be during the winter months. The best time to book this trip is 2-3 months prior to your trip.

South Africa

South Africa is a great destination to visit all year round, but if you're looking to save some money, the cheapest time to go is between April and November. The best time to book this trip is usually three months before, but since cheap flights can be hard to come by, it's best to book as soon as you see a reasonable price.

Keep in mind that there are two peak seasons to consider: peak summer in the Southern Hemisphere (December-January) and the US summer holiday (South Africa's winter) in July-August. These are the busiest and most expensive times to visit.

During the South African summer, the northern regions can get thunderstorms, while the coastal cities are hot and sunny. Places like Kwazulu Natal and Kreuger can get a bit of both sunshine and rain.

Fall (March-May) is a great time to visit, as it's less rainy than summer and you'll still have warm days. It's the perfect time for wine enthusiasts to visit The Winelands for the annual harvest festival, and also a great time to go hiking up Drankesburg Mountain.

Winter (May-September) is the best time for game spotting at Kreuger and Phina, and spring (September-November) is the best time for whale watching and for celebrations like the Durban Blues and Johannesburg/Cape Town food festivals.

Egypt 

Heading to Egypt? The best time to visit the pyramids is during the winter months of October to April. Keep in mind that Egypt is a popular destination for Europeans, so the Easter holiday break (March-April) can get pretty crowded. To save some money on flights, try to avoid this time if possible.

One great thing about Egypt is that you can often find cheap flights to Cairo and then make your own arrangements on the ground to visit other destinations. Keep an eye out for worldwide sales from airlines like Qatar Airways, which often happen around Black Friday, during the winter, or the middle of the year. And sometimes you might be able to snag a cheap, last-minute direct flight from the East Coast. Keep an eye on our website for those deals!

Best time to book trips to Middle East

Dubai 

Being in the desert, it's no surprise that most people want to visit Dubai during the cooler months (November-April). Eid festivals and UAE school holidays (February, May, October) can also be popular times to travel into and around the UAE.

You'll usually need to book your cheap tickets for next year's peak season in the winter/spring beforehand, but it's also not uncommon for budget airlines from the UK or Europe to drop cheap, short-notice tickets throughout the year (sometimes even during peak season). 

Israel 

Many people want to visit coastal cities like Tel Aviv in spring or fall (to avoid the hotter, more humid days) and hillier Jerusalem when warmer (usually between August-October). 

You'll likely be able to find cheaper peak-season flights in winter that cover both the spring and summer months. 

During Jewish holidays like Passover (around April) and Rosh Hashanah (around September), many Israelis travel abroad, so you'll be able to dodge the most expensive tickets if you avoid traveling during these periods.

Turkey 

Peak summer is a popular time to travel all over the country - from the Turquoise Coast to hot air balloon paradise Cappadocia, and even major cities like Istanbul. Keep in mind that Eid celebrations (this varies by year, typically around May and July) and Turkish school holidays (in Nov, Jan, April) will also be expensive (and busy) times to holiday.

From the US, cheaper summer tickets to larger cities like Istanbul, Ankara (for Cappadocia) and coastal Izmir are likely to come up from winter onwards. You can always catch a cheap domestic flight within Turkey to travel to your final destination.

To avoid the worst of the hefty ticket prices, travel in spring. The day temperatures will be warm enough for you to enjoy inland spots like Cappadocia, while also being the start of the tourist season in coastal cities like Antalya (typically from late April-early May). You'll even be able to take a brisk dip in the Mediterranean!

Best time to book trips to North America

Mexico

Mexico is a great destination for beaches, delicious food, and great deals. If you're open to flying with a budget airline, Mexican airlines like Volaris often have solid deals - especially for last-minute trips.

Prices can vary greatly depending on the city, but flying into Mexico City or tourist favorites like Cancun - is usually cheaper. Plus, local travel options in Mexico are quite affordable.

To get the best deals and avoid the crowds, aim to visit during the shoulder seasons, away from the rainy months in September and October and peak season in December and April.

But, if you're dead set on visiting during popular periods like spring break or Christmas, keep an eye out for deals 4 to 14 weeks in advance. That way you can enjoy the best of Mexico without breaking the bank.

Canada

Looking to save some money on your trip to Canada? The cheapest months to travel are generally in October and November. But, as a general rule, booking between 1 to 3 months before your departure is usually a good time to find the best deals. However, if you're planning on visiting during peak periods like summer or ski season, it's best to book further in advance.

Keep in mind that Canada is a huge country, so the weather can vary a lot depending on where you go. For example, spring on the west coast ends in February, while places like Banff can still see snow until May. Coastal towns like Vancouver usually don't get much snow, compared to cities like Montreal, which can get around 75 days of snowfall.

It's a good idea to check the weather forecast for the city you're planning to visit before you go. Each season has its own pros and cons, and there's always a festival happening, like the Winter Carnival or the Canadian Tulip Festival in spring.

There you have it, our list of best times to book popular cities across the world. It's not rocket science, but finding great deals does take some time and patience or a certain friend named Jack to send all the best deals direct to your inbox.