When to book your Christmas flights for lower prices

Andrew Munro 24 August 2017

shutterstock enter sandman christmas 738x410

When's the best time to book? It all depends.

It's not too late to book a cheaper flight for a Christmas getaway. Depending on where you're going. In fact, if you're too keen or just plain unlucky, you might end up spending more by booking sooner. This is because prices can change week-to-week, based on whether or not an airline thinks it's going to be able to fill seats.

Christmas flights might start off high throughout the year, only to drop dramatically closer to the date due to seats not having been booked.

Skyscanner broke apart median booking prices for Christmas getaways in 2016-2017, for flights between 23 December and 1 January booked throughout the year, and found a combination of surprising and unsurprising results.

  • The unsurprising: The more popular it is, the sooner you should book for cheaper flights. The cheapest flights from Sydney to Bali, for example, need to be booked 18 weeks in advance.
  • The surprising: Sometimes prices will get cheaper closer to Christmas. Overall, you might find the most savings in September/October than sooner.

The more popular routes often have more flights so there may be more chances of competitive price drops closer to departure, but you're also competing for space with a lot more passengers which might drive prices higher.

In 2016 to 2017:

  • Flights from Sydney - You'll want to book by August or early September for the most popular and classic holiday destinations like Bali and the Gold Coast, but don't be over-eager for the business-type routes, like London, Hong Kong and cities in China. There's a lot of business travel volume for these, so getting in there too soon might actually lead to higher prices. Your sweet spot to book is mid- to late-October.
  • Flights from Melbourne - Get in early across the board here, because prices will only rise. September bookings are ideal out of Melbourne, and getting in before then might lead to slightly higher prices. Miss early October, however, and you can expect prices to rise sharply.
  • Flights from Brisbane - There's no time to waste on domestic jaunts, which should be locked in by August if you're flying out of Brisbane. If you're going further afield, you might want to hold off another month.
  • Flying from Perth - Last year saw the cheapest Christmas flights from Perth scattered throughout the preceding months, with abrupt price hikes as they got close to selling out. A lot of new routes have opened up through this city over the last year however, so there's no saying where it's at now.

If you have a destination in mind, head over to Skyscanner's breakdown to find out when you to book for a better Christmas deal.

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