We analyzed more than one billion search queries from 2012 to discover the cheapest flights, the busiest airports, the most popular destinations and which destinations offered great value.
Our data show that airfare to all popular destinations except for Toronto, Canada increased. That is, average airfares rose broadly, aside from Toronto, where airfare decreased by 3% year over year. In crunching the numbers, we also determined that the lowest average domestic airfares were found 21-35 days prior to departure. Don't forget to refer to our existing "When to Book" guidelines for insights on the best times to book your travel.
Here are our observations based on our 2012 data - keep these tips handy to help you save as much as possible on your travel this year.
CHEAPEST MONTHS TO FLY
- September was the cheapest month to travel; average fares dropped to a low of $296.97.
- January and October had the next lowest average airfares at $305.70 and $310.62, respectively.
- August was the least expensive month to travel in the summer.
- February and March were by far the cheapest months to fly with average airfares at $945.38 and $950.00, respectively.
- International airfares increased in April and May, bur domestic airfares dropped.
POPULAR DESTINATIONS THAT OFFERED GREAT VALUE
- Toronto, Canada was the only popular destination where airfare decreased in 2012.
- Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Tokyo, Mumbai and Nashville all increased in popularity in 2012 but did not see a large spike in airfare.
- Las Vegas was the most popular destination and also the fifth cheapest. Other cheap popular destinations included Orlando, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale and Denver.
POPULAR DESTINATIONS WITH RISING AIRFARES
- Anchorage, New Orleans and Beijing rose in both popularity and airfare.
- London continued to appeal, with help from the 2012 Olympics; as the 10th most popular destination, it also saw a 30% increase in average airfare.
- Lima saw the greatest airfare increase (up 33%), even though its popularity dropped by 16%.
BEST MONTHS TO AVOID BUSY TRAVEL
- January travel comprised just 5% of 2012 flight queries, indicating that the start of the year is the least busy time to fly. February travel totaled 6% of queries, September and October each 7% of queries, and April, November and December each 8% of queries.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rpeschetz/365015550/