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The cheapest times for Australians to fly

Find out the times, days and months to book so you get more bang for your buck.

Updated

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Cheap travel isn't hard to come by if you know when and where to look. And by being open to keeping your itinerary flexible.

Booking on and for certain dates in the week could be all you need to do to shave a couple of bucks off your holiday.

Reserve in advance or fly during the off season and you could save a even more than a couple of bucks.

Hot Tip: If you can, tick the "flexible dates" option when searching for flights. This way you can see if flying a day before or after could be cheaper than flying on your nominated date.

Planning a trip soon? Here's when you should fly to nab a cheap-as-chips flight:


When to fly in the day

Generally speaking, early morning flights, lunch time flights or late night flights are the cheapest. This is quite possibly because of the lack of transport that some airports offer at these times.

As well as getting a cheap ticket for an early morning flight, if you’re flying locally you could also arrive in your destination earlier, meaning you have more time to explore on your first day. The negative – and possibly another reason why these flights are cheaper – is that if you’re flying further, you’ll likely spend the day in the air.

Meanwhile, the most expensive flights in the day are in the evening between 5pm and 9pm. This timeframe means you can sleep on the plane and won’t have to take the day off work to fly.

To give you an example of how flight prices change throughout the day, this graph is based on airfares for domestic carriers travelling Sydney to Melbourne on Wednesday 17 June 2020. Prices are accurate at the time of writing and times used were taken to the nearest 30 minutes:


When to fly in the week

The best times to fly are during the working week - particularly on Tuesday or Wednesday. Prices peak on Friday evening and Sunday evening or Monday morning for those looking to go on a weekend getaway without having to cash in their annual leave.

If you’ve got the leave to spare or some time in lieu, try and fly out on a Tuesday or Wednesday, as they’re the least popular days due to them being in the middle of the working week.

Saturday is also an option as it's in the middle of the weekend. Here’s a look at how flight prices change during the week on domestic carriers. The prices used are the lowest prices on each carrier for the week of 13-19 July flying Sydney to Melbourne.


When to fly in the year

Generally, wherever you’re eyeing the best time to fly to it is during your destination’s off-peak season. This could mean during the monsoon season if you’re headed to Asia, or during winter if you’re headed to an island resort.

If those options don’t appeal to you, work with shoulder seasons (the time just before or after peak season). Sometimes you can get lucky weather-wise and the prices will not be as high as if you flew in during the peak.

Peak season tends to fall during the school holidays, Christmas holidays, days of significance (eg, Chinese New Year) or snow season (if it’s a popular skiing destination).

Below is a snapshot of the cheapest months to fly to some of the most popular destinations for Australian travellers. Destinations are chosen from ABS data on Australian departures for April 2016. Flight prices have been gathered through Skyscanner by choosing the "cheapest month" option for departures from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The cheapest months to fly to set destinations:

BaliQueenstownAucklandLos AngelesBangkokPhuketLondonTokyoSingaporeNadi (Fiji)Hong Kong
JanuaryYes
FebruaryYesYes
MarchYesYesYesYes
AprilYesYesYes
MayYesYes
June
JulyYesYes
AugustYesYesYesYesYesYes
SeptemberYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
OctoberYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
NovemberYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
DecemberYes

When to book for cheap flights

Timing is everything and when it comes to the booking cheap flights there are times that work better than others. According to Skyscanner, generally, the earlier you book the more you'll save though booking approximately 17 weeks prior to departure can save you up to 5% off flights on many international departures.

Some exceptions to this rule include closer destinations like New Zealand and Singapore which you can still get cheaply up to 11 weeks in advance.

A similar pattern follows for domestic flights. Book 15-17 weeks in advance for long-haul domestic (e.g. Sydney to Perth) and you can save up to 25%. Book 5-11 weeks on shorter haul flights (eg, Sydney to Brisbane or Melbourne to Brisbane) and again, you're looking to save up to 25% off.

As to what day is best to book flights Business Insider suggests the weekends or Tuesday. This is because most business travellers book their weekend trips during the week so weekends are opened up to leisure travellers searching for cheap flights.

It's also worth it to keep on top of regular sale periods for specific carriers such as Virgin Australia Happy Hour, Wotif Flyday and Jetstar Friday Frenzy.


Searching for cheap flights?

These are the sales and deals helping you go on that holiday sooner.

Trip.com Trip.com

Qantas Airways: Domestic flights from $113 each way

Available on select dates until December 2020 to Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, Cairns and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Gold Coast. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Virgin Australia sale: Australia-wide flights from $69 each way

Available for flights on select dates from November 2020 - December 2021. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Sydney. Destinations include Launceston, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Ballina Byron, Coffs Harbour, Sunshine Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Up to 35% off flights worldwide

Subscribe to Kayak's newsletter and receive personalised private deals of up to 35% off. Destinations include Europe, Asia, America, Australia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaii flights from $1,028 return

Available on select flights from March - September 2021. Sample fare is Brisbane-Honolulu. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

Domestic flights from $145 return

Available on select travel dates until February 2021. Destinations include Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Hamilton Island and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Byron Bay with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Australia-wide flights from $41 + one free date change

Available on Jetstar flights until January 2021 to Sydney, Ballina, Uluru, Brisbane, Darwin, Cairns, Hobart, Townsville and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Melbourne.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

New Zealand flights from $243 return

Available on select dates from January - October 2021 to Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, Dunedin and more. Sample fare is Sydneyt-Auckland with Jetstar. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

USA flights from $962 return

Available on select dates from February - June 2021 to San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Los Angeles with Philippine Airlines. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Hawaii flights from $425 return

Available on select dates from March - September 2021. Sample fare is Sydney-Honolulu with Jetstar. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

London flights from $1,218 return

Available on select dates from January - September 2021. Sample fare departs from Sydney with Qatar Airways. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Greece flights from $1,624 return

Available on select dates from January - July 2021 to Crete, Santorini, Rhodes and more. Sample fare is Perth-Athens with Qantas Airways. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Australia flights from $109 return

Available on flights until January 2021 to Hobart, Perth, Darwin, Gold Coast, Uluru, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Ballina with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Qatar Airways Qatar Airways

Worldwide flights from $1,207 return + flexible date changes

Available on flights from 1 January - 30 September 2021 to Athens, London, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam and more. Sample fare is Brisbane-Amsterdam. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Qatar Airways Qatar Airways

Up to 12% off international flights

Available on flights until 31 July 2021 when you pay with PayPal. Destinations include Africa, London, Paris, Athens, Beirut, Doha and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Etihad Airways Etihad Airways

Up to 10% off flights + extra bags

Available on flights until 30 September 2021 exclusive for students. Destinations include Dublin, Paris, Ireland, Abu Dhabi and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Thanksgiving sale: Up to $25 off flight fees

Available on select travel dates when you use the code. Destinations across USA. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to $10 off international flights

Available on select travel dates when you use the code. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, London and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to $100 off business class flights

Get discount on flights fees when you use the code. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to $20 off flight fees

Available in all flight bookings when you use the code. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to $25 off flight fees

Available in all flight bookings when you use the code. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Cheap O Air Cheap O Air

Up to USD$30 off flight fees

Available on select flights worldwide when you use the code. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

British Airways British Airways

London flights from $1,294 return + flexible changes

Available on flights from December 2020 - August 2021. Sample fare departs from Sydney.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Townsville flights from $175 return

Available on flights in November 2020. Sample fare departs from Brisbane with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Newcastle flights from $311 return

Available on flights until December 2020. Sample fare departs from Adelaide with Jetstar. Other flights depart from Cairns, Ballina, Darwin and Brisbane.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Sydney flights from $121 return

Available on select dates until December 2020. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Sydney with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Broome flights from $444 return

Available on flights until December 2020. Sample fare is Perth-Broome with Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Broome flights from $424 return

Available on select dates from October 2020 - March 2021. Sample fare departs from Perth with Virgin Australia.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Ballina flights from $133 return

Available on select dates until December 2020. Sample fare departs from Sydney with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Adelaide flights from $160 return

Available on select dates from October 2020 - February 2021. Sample fare departs from Sydney with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Melbourne flights from $142 return

Available on select dates from October 2020 - January 2021. Sample fare departs from Adelaide with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Perth flights from $340 return

Available on select dates from October 2020 - February 2021. Sample fare departs from Adelaide with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Asia flights from $247 return

Available on select dates in 2021 to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and more. Sample fare is Perth-Bali with Jetstar and AirAsia. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Qatar Airways Qatar Airways

Up to 12% off economy class flights + 1 free date change

Available on flights until 31 October 2021 for registered students from Australia, New Zealand and more. Destinations include Japan, Korea, Canada, India and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Priceline.com Priceline.com

Up to 50% off worldwide flights

Available on select dates when you book Express Deals. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Budget Air Budget Air

Extra $5 off your next booking

Subscribe to BudgetAir's newsletter and receive an extra $5 off your next booking. Destinations include Europe, Asia, Australia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

OneTravel OneTravel

Save $20 on your booking

Sign up to the OneTravel newsletter and get $20 off your next booking

Last verified

Omio Omio

Book budget flights in Europe from €3

Valid on select flights in Europe. Sample price is from Madrid to Malaga.

Last verified

Vayama Vayama

US$10 off flights

Subscribe to the newsletter via email to avail offer. Valid on flights departing from USA to international destination for new subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends

eDreams eDreams

Bali flights from $292 return with Malindo Air

Available on select travel dates until October 2020. Sample fare is Perth-Bali. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cheap O Air Cheap O Air

USD$20 off flight bookings

Sign up to receive exclusive discounts and special deals. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

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