What is a deal zone, you might ask? Why are they pretty predictable? How can you use them to your advantage? Well let’s break this down, to help you understand how best to leverage the cheapest times to buy airplane tickets.
First things first, what is a deal zone? Most airlines operate within the basic tenets of supply and demand (well except those annoying fees, but don’t get me started . . .), as the number of travelers looking to book travel the demand for open seats skyrockets, and so does the price of the tickets. However, there are those magical times when very few people are looking to book travel. Generally speaking before and after major fall/winter holidays is the best time to search for deals.
There are three generally accepted or well-known deal zones throughout the year, and a few that are debatable; however, by focusing your attention in during the fall/winter you can snag the best deals around pretty firm “heavy” travel windows.
The first zone is during the second and third weeks before Thanksgiving, so if you want to see family, celebrate the season, and still save some dough consider having an earlier Thanksgiving meal by traveling out around the second weekend of November.
The second and probably peak deal zone spans that first two weeks in December and the last few days of November (this year 11/28-11/30), most of your casual travelers are either traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas and as most companies are ending their fiscal years, expense policies tighten and you’ll see less business travel as a result. As the demand for seats drops, so does the price for the tickets. And the beautiful thing about it . . . you can find deals internationally, too!
Finally, the third deal zone is the first two weeks of January, as all the kiddos head back to school and most people have burned up their vacation around Christmas, there are virtually no casual travelers to contend with; however, you may be bumping elbows or wrestling for the armrest with the road warrior who has to get back out to see clients. At the end of the day, an excellent way to save money and see the world.
And for you vacation hoarders or workaholics (yeah I’m talking to you . . .), this is great time to maximize the value you get for that Caribbean or European vacation that you have been putting off. According to recent research, most Americans have unused vacation that doesn’t carry over into the new year. And if you’ve been extra stingy with treating yourself to a vacation, you can span two of these deal zones to make an even longer trip and still save a boatload of money!
So what are you waiting for, let’s get out there and take advantage of the deal zones to score cheap airfares. If 2016 isn’t an option, it’s not too late to start thinking about that trip to Italy, Australia, St. Thomas, or anywhere in between for 2017.