Traveling takes a big chunk of the typical Filipino vacation. Families and barkadas make it a point to go out-of-town or out of the country on holidays. With all these free days pre-marked on their calendars, it is important that they strategize so that they can book their flights at the lowest possible prices.
Skyscanner, a leading global travel search site, did a study on the millions of flights purchased by their customers over the past three years to arrive with the best time to book. The study shows that on average, 3-4 weeks in advance is the optimal time to book flights. This suggestion, however, depends on the type of flight you book or the airlines you book with. When traveling with a budget airline, prices are likely to go up as the day of the flight approaches. If traveling on long haul flights or for more than 5 hours, prices are likely to fluctuate as the flight day grows near, and this does not guarantee the best seats.
In the Philippines, we have always loved the idea of discounts and because of this, booking early has always been a trend. Below are the top outbound destinations in the Philippines alongside the number of weeks you need to book in advance for maximum saving:
· China. If you book 28 weeks in advance, you can save as much as PHP 7 000 per flight which means more money for shopping and buying souvenirs.
· Malaysia. Because Malaysia is relatively near, it can be a go-to destination for last minute getaways and short vacations, but booking close to your departure date can be quite expensive. Consider booking 31 weeks in advance so you will only have to pay 46% of the actual flight cost.
· Japan. Book a flight to the land of cherry blossoms 14 weeks in advance and you can save as much as PHP 6300. Like with Thailand, booking four tickets will make way for another friend or relative to tag along in your trip.
· Thailand. Save as much as PHP 2990 if you book 16 weeks ahead. The discount you will get from booking four tickets is enough to get you another flight for free!
· Singapore. This country is the most visited by Filipinos in 2013 according to a recent study by Skyscanner. The best time to book flights going to Singapore is 25 weeks in advance. By booking this early, you can save as much as PHP 1600. This is almost 24% less than the average flight cost.
According to the Best Time to Book study, on average, it is best to book 20 weeks in advance regardless of where you want to go. The study also suggests that the cheapest month to travel is in February and it is most expensive in April. This is for the reason that less people travel on February because they are making way for their summer travels which usually happens in April.
Booking flights during these suggested time frames enables you access to loads of discounts and the best seats possible. If you book early, you can save almost 18% less than what you will have to pay for the average ticket price. Moreover, you can skip the stress of looking for available flights at the last minute which are most likely to be overpriced. Booking your flights early will not just give you these perks but it will also help you focus on the other aspects of your vacation such as relaxation and educating yourself, which is ultimately the point of traveling.
Some simple rules to bear in mind to get the best price:
1. Book smart: Avoiding peak season travel and flying at less popular hours of the day, can really help to lower costs.
2. Be flexible: Costs to different destinations can vary significantly depending on the airlines operating that route and the Thai airports offering these flights. If you are planning your next trip but are open to destinations, running a search to ‘everywhere’ can help find the countries that offer the best value flights at any time.
3. Compare and contrast: Using a travel comparison site like Skyscanner allows you to compare the widest range of airlines and online travel agents, so you’ll be able to see where you can get the best deal.
4. Track prices Skyscanner’s analysis has found that keeping an eye on the flight prices a few months in advance of travel, is the best way to find a good value flight. Using a flight tracker price alert service, either by email or via the app can help monitor when prices drop on a chosen route.
Skyscanner offers price alerts on all routes to enable flights to be monitored by email. The Skyscanner app offers widgets for Android, Live Tiles for Windows Phone and “watch” functionality for iOS, all of which allow customers to track the latest price changes on a chosen route.
· Skyscanner is a leading global travel search site providing instant online comparisons for millions of flights plus hotels and car hire.
· Founded in 2003 by three IT professionals, Gareth Williams, Barry Smith and Bonamy Grimes, Skyscanner is the no.1 travel search website in Europe and no.3 worldwide, receiving over 50 million visits per month.
· Skyscanner’s travel search site is available in 40 countries and in 30 languages.
· Skyscanner’s highly-rated free mobile apps are available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Windows 8 devices and have been downloaded over 20 million time. Download the app at http://www.skyscanner.com.ph/mobile.html
· The company employs over 200 staff and has its global headquarters in Edinburgh, with a second Scottish office in Glasgow. Skyscanner also has offices in Singapore and Beijing and plans to open a Miami office in 2013.
· Follow Skyscanner on Twitter @SkyscannerPH