Part of being kiasu is doing everything in advance, whether it’s beginning to prepare your kid for Harvard once he turns three, queuing up the night before for the release of a new iPhone or booking for your end-of-year overseas trip one year in advance.
But guess what, while booking your holidays at the last minute can certainly make you lose money, you don’t have to go full on kiasu and plan your holidays ten years in advance in order to get a good price.
Skyscanner has released a chart showing when’s the best time to book tickets for some of Singaporeans’ favourite destinations, namely Bangkok, Bali, Hong Kong Phuket, Jakarta, Krabi, KL, Langawi, London and Chennai.
Kiasu folks should book 21 to 25 weeks in advance
The lowest prices to be had for the above destinations tended to surface 21 to 25 weeks before departure, depending on the destination.
For instance, if you’re going to Bangkok, you can save about 10% by booking 21 weeks in advance. For Phuket, booking 23 weeks in advance will save you an average of 23%.
But you can get a good price by booking 2 to 8 weeks in advance, too
Turns out, prices don’t rise that quickly until about a month before you travel. Even if you miss the 21 to 25 week window, all is not lost.
For many destinations, there is a “sweet spot” ranging from 2 to 8 weeks before departure. If you book during this period, you’ll pay just slightly higher prices.
According to the data, you can get away with booking about 2 weeks in advance for a trip to Bangkok or KL and you’ll only have to pay a 10% and 8% price increase respectively.
Heading to Jakarta, Hong Kong or Phuket? You can afford to book just 3 weeks in advance, since you’ll only end up paying 7% to 10% more for your tickets.
For London, the sweet spot is just a week before. You have a chance of paying just 8% more when you book 7 days before departure.
Avoid booking at the very last minute
Generally, trying to book your tickets a month or less before your departure will result in your paying much higher prices.
For instance, if you want to go to Krabi, you could end up paying 20% to 25% more if you wait till 1-3 weeks before departure to book. (When you book 4 weeks before departure, however, the price falls significantly and you pay only 10% more.)
So is it worthwhile to book very far in advance?
You might save a bit more by booking months in advance, but it’s not always worth it, especially when you consider that you don’t really save that much compared to when you book during the “sweet spot”.
By booking very far in advance, you sacrifice flexibility. If plans change, or you get jioed to spend your holiday elsewhere, you incur extra costs to change/cancel your ticket. There’s also the danger that your leave won’t be approved, or something urgent will crop up at work that requires you to be around.
However, bear in mind that Skyscanner’s predictions are based on previous years’ data. Travel fads come and go, and certain destinations might surge in popularity in a particular year. Special or unforseen events can also cause changes in demand. So continue to keep your eyes open for changes in flight prices.
How far in advance do you usually book flights? Tell us in the comments!