The cheapest times for Australians to fly

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

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

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
FebruaryYes
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.

Kayak Kayak

Australia flights from $54 return

Available on flights from June - September 2021 to Gold Coast, Cairns, Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth, Alice Springs, Uluru and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Melbourne with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Jetstar sale: Australia-wide flights from $32 each way

Available on flights from April - September 2021 to Launceston, Gold Coast, Hobart, Adelaide, Whitsundays, Townsville, Hamilton Island, Darwin, Uluru and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Adelaide. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Up to 50% off: Qantas flights from $70 each way

Available on flights from April - September 2021 to destinations including Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Launceston, Canberra, Darwin, Broome, Perth and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Launceston.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Up to 50% off domestic flights with Qantas

Available on flights from April - September 2021. Destinations include Sydney, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Launceston, Hobart, Cairns, Darwin, Broome, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Queensland flights from $44 each way

Available on Jetstar flights from July 2021 - March 2022. Destinations include Cairns, Brisbane, Hamilton Island, Townsville, Sunshine Coast and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Gold Coast.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Rex Airlines sale: Flights between Sydney and Melbourne from $39

Available on select flight dates until December 2021.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 15% off domestic flights with code

Available on Australia flights until May 2022 when you book 7 days in advance. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Cheap Flights Cheap Flights

Australia-wide flights from $55 return

Available on flights until December 2021 to Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Hobart, Adelaide, Launceston and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Melbourne with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cheap Flights Cheap Flights

New Zealand flights from $287 return

Available on flights from June - November 2021 to Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Auckland with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 50% off: Flights from $70 each way

Available on flights from June - September 2021. Sample fare is Melbourne-Adelaide. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Australia-wide flights from $79 each way

Available on flights from 13 July 2021 - 31 March 2022 to Melbourne, Launceston, Gold Coast, Canberra, Darwin, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Newcastle, Hobart, Adelaide and more. Sample fare is Ballina-Sydney. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off flights

Available on select travel dates until December 2022. Must be booked 7 days prior to departure. Destinations include Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Broome, Darwin and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Domestic flights from $55 each way with Rex

Available on flights from April - September 2021 to Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Burnie and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Gold Coast. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Flights between Sydney and Melbourne from $39 each way

Available on Rex Airline select flights in 2021.

Last verified

Deal ends

KLM KLM

Europe flights from $1,419 return

Available on flights until May 2022 to London, Dublin, Manchester, Rome and more. Sample fare is Perth-Dublin.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kiwi.com Kiwi.com

Flights within Australia from $34 each way

Available on flights from June - August 2021. Sample fare is Melbourne-Sydney with Jetstar. Destinations include Canberra, Cairns, Brisbane, Adelaide, Launceston, Newcastle and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Flights to New Zealand from $241 return

Available on flights from June - November 2021 to Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Auckland with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Fiji flights from $273 each way

Available for travel from September 2021 - January 2022. Sample fare is Sydney-Nadi with Fiji Airways. Other airlines include Qantas from $326 and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Flights to Alice Springs from $264 return

Available from June - September 2021. Sample fare departs from Adelaide with Qantas. Other flights depart from Sydney, Melbourne and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Alice Springs flights from $110 each way

Available on select flights until March 2022 departing from Melbourne, Sydney Brisbane and more. Sample fare departs from Adelaide with Virgin Australia.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Flights to New Zealand from $286 returns

Available from June - November 2021 to destinations including Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and more. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Wellington with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Domestic flights from $55 return

Available on flights from June - August 2021 to Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Melbourne with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trip.com Trip.com

Up to 50% off Australia flights

Available on select travel dates 30 September 2021 with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Rex and Fly Pelican. Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Brome, Hamilton Island, Hobart, Launceston, Perth, Darwin and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Up to 50% off Australia-wide flights

Available on flights until September 2021 with Virgin Australia, Qantas and Jetstar. Destinations include Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Sydney flights from $39 each way

Available on flights until December 2021 departing from Ballina, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and more. Sample fare departs from Melbourne.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Melbourne flights from $39 each way

Available on flights until December 2021 departing from Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and more. Sample fare departs from Sydney.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Brisbane flights from $109 each way

Available on flights until December 2021 departing from Sydney, Mackay, Cairns and more. Sample fare departs from Newcastle.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Perth flights from $179 each way

Available on flights until March 2022 departing from Adelaide, Cairns, Melbourne, Darwin and more. Sample fare departs from Kalgoorlie.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Hobart flights from $99 each way

Available on flights until December 2021 departing from Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Gold Coast, Adelaide and more. Sample fare departs from Melbourne.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Adelaide flights from $59 each way

Available on flights until December 2021 departing from Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and more. Sample fare departs from Melbourne.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Canberra flights from $69 each way

Available on flights until December 2021 departing from Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Sydney and more. Sample fare departs from Melbourne.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Flights to Philippines from $425 return

Available on select flight dates until March 2021. Sample fare is Melbourne-Manila with Cebu Pacific. Other airlines Philippine Airlines from $607 and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Hong Kong flights from $1,877 return

Available on Cathay Pacific flights on select travel dates from July 2021 - May 2022. Sample fare is Perth-Hong Kong. Other flights depart from Sydney, Melbourne and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Canadian Affair Canadian Affair

Canada flights from GBP£339 return

Plus get free date change on select flights until December 2021. Destinations include Vancouver, Montreal and more. Sample fare is London-Toronto. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Emirates Emirates

International flights from $1,009 each way

Available on select flights until December 2021 to India, Ireland, South Africa, London, Athens and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Paris. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Emirates Emirates

Earn double Tier Miles on flights

Available on flights until 31 December 2021. Destinations include New Zealand, USA, Greece, Maldives, Canada, Chile, South Africa and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Emirates Emirates

Up to 10% off flights with code

Plus get one free date change on flights until June 2022. Destinations include United Kingdom, USA, New Zealand and more. Valid for full‑time students between 18 and 32 years old with a valid student ID. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

New Zealand flights from $254 each way

Available on Qantas flights from July 2021 - March 2022. Destinations include Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown and more. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Auckland.

Last verified

Deal ends

Air New Zealand Air New Zealand

Flights to New Zealand from $404 return

Available on flights until December 2021. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Auckland. Destinations include Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Air Canada flights from $2,271 return

Available on select flights to Canada until April 2022. Sample fare is Brisbane-Toronto. Destinations include Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site