International travel is back in a big way in 2023 and while the heightened demand and impending peak summer travel season mean higher prices, travelers looking to score a great deal on a flight abroad can do so by knowing when to buy.
CheapAir.com has released its newest 2023 International Airfare Study, analyzing more than 917 million airfares across every continent to determine the best time to buy cheap international flights.
Overall, the best practice for savings seems to be to book early. However, the travel site's team of experts points out that most regions of the world aren't seeing a ton of volatility, meaning travelers can still lock in reasonable fares closer to their departure date.
Travelers eyeing a getaway to Mexico will want to book six weeks to 10 months in advance. What's more, flying on a Wednesday will save $95 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday. The average airfare for flights to Mexico is $504, CheapAir.com found.
Heading north of the border to Canada? The prime booking window is about three to 10 months before your travel date, with Tuesday flights saving $47 dollars per airline ticket on average compared to flying on Sunday.
Europe will be quite popular this summer, but travelers will have to act fast as the best time to buy tickets is about 10 months in advance of travel. Customers can still find deals just six weeks out, but keep in mind that June, July and August are the most expensive months to travel to Europe, according to the study.
Holding off until shoulder season could save flexible travelers significantly. "This year, the average price of an airline ticket to Europe between May and August is $1,247, while flights to Europe during the fall shoulder season average almost $334 less," CheapAir.com points out. "Even better -- winter flights to Europe will save you a whopping $404 on average over taking a summer trip across the pond."
The Caribbean will offer plenty of great deals this year as airfares have increased less than most other regions at about 7 percent. Additionally, the experts at CheapAir.com note that, in the spring, travelers can wait longer to buy flights compared to other seasons. "The best fares can be found from two months to 5.5 months out," the company said.
Asia has the least flexible booking window this year at 4.5 to 10 months out. That means travelers will need to book early or risk paying far more than they should.
"Asia flights are expensive in 2023. In fact, they're up about 33 percent over 2022 airfare. The best advice we can give in this situation is to buy flights to Asia as early as you can when you'll get the best prices available," the study states.
Similarly, travelers will need to book sooner if traveling to the Middle East or Central America, where the prime windows range from 2.5 to 10 months and three to 10 months, respectively.
For flights to South America and Africa, the prime booking window is between 2.5 and 10 months from your travel date, with March and May being two of the cheapest months to travel to the former continent. Africa's average airfare of $1,287 is notably more expensive than South America's, which comes in at just under $800.
Travelers considering a dream getaway to the South Pacific in 2023 will want to book between six weeks and 10 months from departure and look to visit in October and November ahead of the most expensive months in December and January.