WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- We're ready to go away on vacation and Jessica Doyle has some ideas for flying this summer...for cheap. It turns out, finding a good airfare deal is about timing.
The first rule here: Don't book your airline tickets too far in advance. Cheapair.com finds tickets purchased 200 days out could be as expensive as booking a flight at the last minute. The optimal time to book for a deal is 49 days before your flight.
So rule of thumb, is to book about a month and a half out. That is, of course, unless you want to travel around July 4 or another peak weekend. For those days, you want to book 10 weeks ahead.
The day of the week makes a big difference, too. FareCompare says you want to shop on Tuesday afternoons because domestic fare sales tend to launch late Monday so the other airlines pile on and it takes a little time to catch up.
It also pays to compare and contrast the best days of the week to travel. The web is making this a ton easier to do just that. The price trend feature and Bing travel's price predictor help you estimate whether fares are headed up or down and fare compare tracks fares by the day of the week. That way you can see something like 'If I travel on Thursday, I could save potentially $300 a ticket' and you can plan accordingly.