Expedia has released its seventh annual report in partnership with Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and revealed travel hacks including the best time to book airfare, when to travel and other tips to help travelers navigate booking a vacation in 2022. The insights arrive just in time, as research conducted by the online travel brand found that one in five Americans are seeking savings tips and more than a third (38%) are willing to be flexible with their travel plans in order to save money on their next trip.
1. Flight booking tips
Based on data from ARC’s massive online global airline sales database, average ticket prices (ATPs) for flights hit their lowest levels of the last 12 months during December 2020 and January 2021. Since then, ATPs have steadily risen and are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels. ATPs specifically for international flights have also grown but remain on average 35 percent lower compared to 2019.
With ATPs leveling off, the key to cost savings in 2022 comes down to knowing what day to book, how far in advance and what day to travel.
Optimal booking window
- Domestic flights prices usually start to increase 21 days before departure, while prices for international flights start to increase 28 days before. The sweet spot to book a domestic flight is between 28 – 35 days in advance, while international flights should be booked three to four months in advance for the lowest prices.
Ideal day of the week to book
- The ideal day to book a flight is Sunday, not Friday. For domestic flights this can save travelers around five percent, and for international flights the savings are nearly 10 percent.
Ideal day of the week to travel
- The ideal day to start a domestic trip is Friday, not Monday. This will yield savings of more than 15 percent.
- For international flights, the cheapest day to start the trip is on a Thursday, not Tuesday, to save more than five percent.
- In summary, for both domestic and international flights, it is generally cheaper to start the trip during the latter half of the week (Wednesday through Saturday) compared with the first half (Sunday through Tuesday).
Best month to travel
Travelers planning their 2022 trips can also unlock huge savings by being flexible and choosing the right month to travel:
- For domestic flights, the ideal month to depart is January when travelers can save more than 10 percent versus traveling in June.
- For international flights, August is the ideal month, where travelers can save almost 20 percent, versus traveling in December.
Splurge and go premium
Tickets in premium economy have never been cheaper. In 2021, premium economy ATPs cost almost 290 percent more than economy tickets, whereas in 2020 they were 365 percent more expensive. Pre-pandemic, in 2019 average prices for a premium economy ticket were a whopping 430 percent more expensive than economy. For the quarter of Americans (26%) wanting to upgrade their flight if they can afford it*, there has never been a better time than now.
2. Tips for saving on accommodations
While domestic lodging rates dropped in 2020, throughout 2021 prices rose due to the high demand for domestic travel and remain slightly higher compared to 2019. Based on Expedia data, here are some simple tips to unlock savings on accommodation:
Ideal day of the week to book and stay
- For domestic holidays, the lowest average daily rate (ADR) for accommodation tends to occur on Mondays where travelers could save more than 15 percent versus booking and staying on the most expensive day, which is Friday.
- For international trips, book and stay on a Tuesday not on a Thursday to save nearly 10 percent.
Down-star to save
Travelers can stretch their dollars further by choosing a lower star-rated hotel. Travelers can save almost 45 percent on average, by simply opting for a 4-star property over a 5-star, while down-starring to a 3-star from a 4-star can save travelers around 30 percent.
Car Rental Tips
Road trips and drivable destinations are expected to maintain their popularity into the coming year, so Expedia crunched the data to help road warriors obtain some savings.
- The best day to book a car is on a Saturday for domestic trips and Sunday for international car hires.
- Meanwhile, a Monday pick-up tends to be the cheapest for domestic bookings, while Tuesday is best for international trips.
Flexibility is a solid investment
As unpredictability associated with the pandemic remains, flexibility will remain a priority for travelers. Refundable lodging rates are around 15 percent more than non-refundable and allow travelers to make changes to their trip or cancel without penalty before a specified date.
Bundle and save
Travelers can unlock deeper discounts by simply booking their flight and hotel together with Expedia, rather than booking separately. On average, travelers can save up to 10 percent by bundling their flight and hotel together in one transaction.