If you haven’t already booked that holiday flight, chances are there aren’t any deals to be had — but you can still score big if you can wait until the holiday season wraps up to travel.
Those few weeks from Christmas to New Year’s Day are the single most expensive time of year for plane tickets. The sweet spot for deals is during January or February, according to Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights.
“Virtually overnight around Jan. 7 or so, it flips from being one of the most expensive times, to one of the cheapest times of the entire year,” said Keyes. He says if you want to catch a flight for up to 80% less than what it would cost during the holidays, that would be the best time for it.
“There are still a ton of great flights available out of the D.C. area,” he said.
A quick check shows a flight from D.C. to Portugal for Christmas sells for $1,727 round-trip, but that same flight in late January will cost you $390 – and the same discounts apply to domestic flights.
So, when should you start looking? Keyes suggests at least three weeks before you’d like to head out of town.
“You can expect to find some great deals, even to warm weather destinations,” Keyes added.
In addition to cheap flights, you’ll also find a lot of last minute availability. If you’re thinking way ahead to the summer months, he said you shouldn’t wait.
“Now is the time to be looking about booking those summer flights because you can get some really good deals if you book them in the opposite season,” Keyes said.