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:
|Bali||Queenstown||Auckland||Los Angeles||Bangkok||Phuket||London||Tokyo||Singapore||Nadi (Fiji)||Hong Kong|
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.
Searching for cheap flights?
These are the sales and deals helping you go on that holiday sooner.
More guides on Finder
Cheap campervan hire
Catch the latest deals for cheap campervan hire in Australia. Brands include Hippie Campers, Jucy and Spaceships.
Campervan hire in Broome | Where to book, what to know
Plan your epic road trip around WA with our guide to campervan hire in Broome.
Best caravan parks in Robe, South Australia
Ensure a good night’s sleep after a day exploring the Limestone Coast.
Removal truck services
Save time and hassle when you move by booking a professional removal truck service.
Things to do on Boxing Day in Adelaide filled with fun in the sun
Book a day out at the beach, the winery, the cinema or more this Boxing Day with these top activities.
Things to do on Boxing Day in Perth
Here are the top experiences you can book on Boxing Day to make the most of your day off. Plus, discover the restaurants, cafes and bars open, too.
Things to do on Boxing Day in Melbourne 2021
Go out for brunch, hit the beach, cruise the waterways and more. Here's what to get up to on Boxing Day in Melbourne.
Campervan hire in Brisbane | Where to book, what to know
Ready to explore the wonders of Queensland? Here’s our guide on hiring a campervan from Brisbane.
Campervan hire in Tasmania | Where to book, what to know
Got the wanderlust? Explore the rugged Tasmanian wilderness with a campervan to suit your needs.
Vivo Y20s review
The Vivo Y20s is a decent value budget phone, but once you get past the design, there's not that much to get excited about.
Ask an Expert