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How to Find Cheap Summer Flights in 2024, According to Travel Experts

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It’s a catch-22 that so many travelers bemoan: Summer is the most convenient time to travel thanks to good weather and plenty of federal holidays to extend that vacation. But summer holidays—like Memorial Day Weekend, Juneteenth, Fourth of July, and Labor Day Weekend—are among the most expensive days of the year to fly, leading many would-be-tourists to just stay home.

But if you purchase your airfare during the right booking window, it's still possible to score a deal on flights departing in June, July, and August. We’re talking roundtrip flights from New York to Copenhagen for just $459, Chicago to Madrid for $540, and Boston to Cancun for just $296, according to Hopper.

But to lock in cheap summer flights, the general consensus is not to delay any further. “Especially if you’re looking to catch a flight during one of the many holiday weekends this summer, you should start planning now before you miss out on the best deals,” says Laura Lindsay, Skyscanner’s global travel trends and destinations expert. A good rule of thumb is booking a month out at the very least, and buying tickets even farther ahead could lead to bigger savings.

When planning your summer vacay, there’s also more to consider than just the holiday crowds. According to Skyscanner’s data, the most popular week for international travel this summer is the week of June 10, while domestic flights are projected to reach peak popularity the following week, June 17, which is the same week as Juneteenth.

It's a lot to consider, we know. So, to help cut through the noise, we asked experts at Skyscanner, Going, and Hopper for their best budget travel tips on how to score cheap summer flights for every holiday weekend this year.

In these countries, the current exchange rate will be your greatest ally.

Memorial Day Weekend

The booking window to find a deal on flights for Memorial Day Weekend, which falls on Monday May 27 this year, is quickly closing. “You’ll find the best prices for Memorial Day Weekend now,” Hopper travel expert Lindsay Schwimer tells Condé Nast Traveler. “Book no later than April 15th as prices will only increase as we get closer to Memorial Day.” In the last three weeks leading up to the long weekend, prices are predicted to increase more than $40 per week, Hopper’s data shows.

Juneteenth

This year, Juneteenth, which is celebrated annually on June 19, falls on a Wednesday. The fact that it’s a midweek day off in 2024, and that it’s a newer federal holiday, could mean a better chance of locking in cheaper airline tickets. “Juneteenth is a holiday that sits at the very beginning of the peak summer travel season when some schools are still in session—and not all employers observe this day—so you might be able to find deals a touch closer in,” says Katy Nastro, travel expert at Going.

The middle of June, however, usually ends up being a popular time with travelers, “so expect higher airfares overall,” Schwimer says. According to Hopper, the best time to book is now: mid-March. But booking no later than May 1 should help keep prices from getting too exorbitant.

Fourth of July

Falling on a Thursday in 2024, July 4th will be a tempting time for US travelers to take a long weekend and fly to a destination a bit farther from home.

To stay one step ahead of the high demand—and higher prices—buy your Independence Day airfares three months in advance, according to Hopper’s data. March and April are the best times to lock in tickets. “Book no later than June 1st to get a good price and ensure there is still availability on your route,” Schwimer says, adding that prices are likely to spike by about $50 per week in the last three weeks leading up to July 4th. Not only that, but flights around this time often sell out, so booking now will help you avoid big disappointment down the line.

Labor Day Weekend

Usually viewed as the traditional end of summer travel season, Labor Day Weekend has some unexpected advantages to finding flight deals. “Because some schools are back in session and a lot of folks take their summer trips before this period, you again might be able to find some cheaper fares versus traveling in the middle of summer,” Nastro says. “We just found some availability from the end of August into September from Las Vegas to Dublin roundtrip for only $518, a fare almost half off normal price.”

According to Hopper, the best time to find deals for Labor Day, which falls on Monday, September 2 in 2024, is one to three months in advance of the holiday weekend. But if you miss that window, you might still have options. “There will be some deals available if you book more last minute, meaning within three to six weeks of departure, but you’ll need to be flexible on destination or dates to find these deals,” Schwimer says.

More tips for finding affordable summer airfare

In fact, keeping an open mind on destinations and the exact dates of your trip is good advice for finding cheaper flights in general. “Travelers that can be flexible in terms of the destination, airports, airlines, and dates will have more options,” says Lindsay from SkyScanner, which offers an “Everywhere” search feature to show cheap flights to destinations around the world departing from your home airport. Google Flights also offers a similar search filter, called “explore,” which allows users to input their departure airport and then move the map to see the most affordable destinations across the globe.

If you’re already set on a destination, consider using a price monitoring tool, which Hopper and Google Flights both offer. Travelers can input their vacation dates and airports and let the websites track airfares for them—they will send a notification when a good deal on your route is available. That means you can slip into vacation mode that much sooner.

Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler