Travel experts tell you how far in advance you should book your flights

Many people have their own theories about when is the best time to book a flight. Some people believe in one day of the week, some believe in the last minute, others believe in the middle of the night. Figuring out how many days in advance you should book your flight can be difficult because no one can be right and no one can be wrong. There has to be some pattern or reason to the theory of flight booking, and the people who know it best are the people who book the most flights.

When it comes to getting deals, airlines are not your friend. They are not interested in helping you get the cheapest fare, they are interested in making money. So when it comes to saving money, the best advice comes from someone on the other side of the business who is familiar with airfare trends and patterns. Personally, it seems like every time I look at ticket prices, they go up. Tickets get more expensive the closer to the travel date, so I'm nervous and book...only to sometimes find they get cheaper and sometimes find they get more expensive. So what is given?

Bustle spoke with Hopper's Liana Corwin to get the scoop. According to Corwin, the mysterious flight theory is actually more like a computer algorithm. "Flight prices are largely determined by airlines' incredibly sophisticated revenue management software. Sometimes humans step in when it's time to encourage sales on a specific flight, and that's where you'll see things like flash sales That's when things started to happen," she said.

That said, there's general consensus on when to book, and Coven says it depends on whether you're flying on vacation and whether you're flying to a vacation hotspot. While Corwin recommends tracking specific flights on multiple apps no matter when you plan to travel, she also has some astute advice for each specific travel scenario:

holiday travel

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A good general rule of thumb is to book your flights four to five weeks in advance for most three-day weekend getaways. For Christmas, New Year and other major holidays, a longer window of around two months is ideal. You never want to book a ticket outside of this range as the fare won't be listed at the lowest price initially. For example, Corwin never recommends booking 11 months in advance because booking rates are bound to decline over time.

Vacation Hotspot

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Another thing to consider is where you are going. If you're going to a popular but high-traffic location like New York or Washington, D.C., you should get your tickets a month before departure. But if you're going to a vacation hotspot like Maui, Miami or the Caribbean, Corwin said you'll want to get your tickets at least three months in advance to get the best deals.

At the end of the day, there really is no real hard and fast theory as to when is the best time to book a flight. The best thing you can do is keep an eye on fares and try to book within a suitable time frame.