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Summer Travel Hacks from Kayak

With summer travel heating up and airline prices on the rise, we consulted with American-based online travel and metasearch engine KAYAK to see how we can navigate upcoming bookings and maybe save a few bucks in the process. 

After “Hot Vax Summer” last year was derailed almost as soon as it began, Americans are making up for lost time (and trips) as evidenced by KAYAK’s new summer travel data. Despite rising prices, domestic flight searches for summer travel are up 78% compared to this time last year and international flight searches are up even further (+140% YoY) indicating nothing (including inflation) will deter Americans from taking this year’s summer vacation. 

Singapore Airlines first class cabin

With the rise of remote work, travelers are getting more creative with the way they fly. Gone are the days of leaving on a Friday and returning on a Sunday (the most expensive day to travel) to make it back into the office Monday morning. Now, travelers’ schedules are more flexible so they can leave on a Wednesday, when domestic flight prices are 13% cheaper and avoid Sundays when flight prices are 15% more expensive than the national average.  

Kayak Hotel Miami Rooftop

Here are KAYAK’s suggestions for travelers to “hack” their way to more summer travel savings: 

  • Don’t procrastinate! Book at least 6 weeks in advance for domestic flights and 4 months (16 weeks) in advance for international flights.
  • Fly early for international flights. For international travel, flying in the morning may help you save money. Flights between 5am and 10am are 22% cheaper than other times throughout the day.
Price Alerts, Flex Dates and Explore on KAYAK
  • Fly the weekend before or after a summer holiday (and miss the crowds): For Memorial Day weekend, flight prices are about 20% cheaper the Friday before Memorial Day weekend (May 20) vs. the Friday of Memorial Day weekend (May 27). 
  • Fly during the week to save. Wednesday is the cheapest day of the week to fly for domestic flights (flights are an average of 13% cheaper that day than other days of the week) For international flights, Thursday is the cheapest day of the week – flights are 4% cheaper on average that day compared to other days of the week.
  • Avoid weekends. For domestic flights, Sunday is the most expensive day of the week to fly – flights are 15% more expensive on average that day than other days of the week. For international flights, avoid flying on a Friday, which is 4% more expensive on average compared to other days of the week.
  • Head South for a domestic deal. 4/10 of KAYAK’s cheapest domestic destinations are in Florida including Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando and Sarasota – all of which have average RT fares of less than $350
  • Head North for an international deal. 4/10 of KAYAK’s cheapest international destinations are within Canada including Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver – all of which are averaging RT fares of about $460 or less.

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