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Skyscanner’s guide to booking cheap flights at the right time

Yes, the rumours are true - there is a best time to book for the cheapest flight tickets. Skyscanner has crunched three years worth of data to bring you the following findings. Did you know that late July and December are the most expensive periods to travel in, or that November is one of the cheapest? We show you how to save up to 20% on your plane ride by merely timing it right, so don’t press ‘buy’ on your next vacation till you’ve read this!

1. United Kingdom (Book 19 weeks ahead, 9.8% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: November

Thinking of heading to Liverpool to see Liverpool FC’s Anfield and the birthplace of the Beatles, or dreaming of a trip to watch the FA Cup Final live in cosmopolitan London this May? You could save close to 10% of your airfare if you book your flight to the UK a good 19 weeks in advance, so start your planning early.

More a party animal than football fan? Consider joining in London’s Notting Hill Carnival in August – one of Europe’s biggest, bestest and craziest street festivals – but you’d have to book your air tickets by late March for maximum savings. If not, fireworks-lovers can consider travelling to London during the UK’s cheapest month, November, for a personal experience of the city’s spectacular pyrotechnics during Bonfire Night (also known as Guy Fawkes’ Day).

Cheap flights to United Kingdom

Liverpool Football Club's home stadium, Anfield.
Make your wish of watching a live Liverpool FC game at Anfield come true. Photo Credit: LovelyLeftFoot / Flickr

2. Thailand (Book 20 weeks ahead, 19.7% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: September

There’s something in Thailand for everyone – plenty of sun, sand and sea in tropical paradises like Krabi, Koh Samui and Phuket, shopping galore in capital city Bangkok, waterfalls and lakes in Hat Yai and the mightiest of street water parties, Songkran, in Chiang Mai. Already a relatively affordable destination in itself, a holiday in Thailand becomes unbelievably wallet-friendly when you factor in the fact that you can get close to 20% off your airfare if you book 20 weeks in advance – you can even score extra-happy savings travelling in low season September.

The recommended plan? Book your flight to Bangkok in the beginning of May and fly off in mid-September; you’ll be there in time for the amazing Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music, so you can intersperse artsy top-rated acts amidst your shopping escapades.

Cheap flights to Thailand

Vendors hawk their wares in boats within Bangkok's floating market.
Shopping in Bangkok is an experience you don’t want to miss. Photo Credit: Thinkstock

3. Singapore (Book 4 weeks ahead, 19.9% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: April

For those who can’t plan that far back ahead, you only need to book 4 weeks in advance for a stunning 19.9% savings on flights to little red dot Singapore. Walk through the Garden City’s pristine streets and lush greenery, admire the iconic Marina Bay Sands and get a taste of Hollywood glamour in Universal Studios Singapore. You can also keep little ones entertained at the internationally-acclaimed Singapore Zoo, frolic on picturesque Sentosa Island’s beaches and get a bird’s eye view of the whole glittering nation from atop the Singapore Flyer.

You may have also heard of Singapore’s mind-blowingly tasty street food – aficionados are advised to book their flights in March so they can fly to the island in April to catch the World Street Food Congress, an event which brings the best of Singapore’s street food vendors together. (And it happens to fall in the cheapest month to travel to Singapore – a happy coincidence!)

Cheap flights to Singapore

A steaming bowl of Singapore's prawn noodles.
An entire congress celebrating street food like this in Singapore – yes, it’s for real. Photo Credit: Thinkstock

4. Indonesia (Book 19 weeks ahead, 10.7% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: April

Heard too much about nearby beach paradises Bali and Batam, but still haven’t been? It’s finally your turn – if you book your flight tickets 19 weeks in advance, you can save up to 10.7% of your airfare there. Don’t worry, summer never ends on the island so you can skip the crowds and inflated prices during July and August, and travel at a more sedate (and cheaper) period like April for the same experience.

But also don’t forget Indonesia’s other gems – the ‘Champs Elysees of the East’ Bandung, with its abundance of factory outlets, magnificent Borobudur’s homeplace Yogyakarta, and colourful capital Jakarta.

Cheap flights to Indonesia

A white sand beach in Bali.

Travel to Bali and Batam in off-peak season for cheaper airfares and less bodies on the beach. Photo Credit: Thinkstock

5. Taiwan (Book 19 weeks ahead, 11.3% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: October

One of Asia’s favourite playgrounds, Taipei is known for its amazing food, great shopping, pretty scenery, the supertall skyscraper Taipei 101, tasty food and – did I mention the food? Any time of year is great for hitting up those hopping night markets for guilt-free shopping and sinfully delicious street food, but October is known as one of the cheapest times to travel there and is also the month of the country’s Double Ten National Celebrations, so-called as their independence day falls on the 10th of October. Join in the nation’s jubilation on this day; you get to enjoy their annual street parade, wave an ROC flag and gape at their spectacular fireworks at night.

Be sure to book your tickets 19 weeks in advance for savings of up to 11.3%, so that means you should be ready to click ‘book’ by May.

Cheap flights to Taiwan

The skyline of Taiwan at sunset.
Be there with the Taiwanese in their beautiful city this 2016 as they celebrate their independence day. Photo Credit: Thinkstock

6. France (Book 18 weeks ahead, 11.3% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: November

Is there anything better than a trip to the City of Love with your other half by your side, or a kiss shared under the Eiffel Tower?

Yes, actually! There’s a lot more to France than Paris, and it’s high time you got to enjoy the other French regions too. Make a date with your significant other to catch the Cannes Film Festival or Monaco Grand Prix in May this year – but be sure to book your flight tickets by February to save 11.3% on your airfare. Otherwise, a trip to Nice for the beautiful beaches of the Côte d’Azur or Bordeaux for wine tours will score you major brownie points as well.

Cheap flights to France

The city of Monaco.
Watching the Grand Prix in the glitzy French city of Monaco is an experience you won’t soon forget. Photo Credit: Thinkstock

7. South Korea (Book 12 weeks ahead, 12.1% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: September

Ah, the land of glossy K-pop stars, tear-jerking TV dramas and Gangnam style. Seoul is another one of North Asia’s must-go destinations thanks to its super-amazing barbecued beef, fried chicken, shopping malls like Myeongdong and amusement parks like Lotte World – but if all that’s been-there, done-that for you, here’s a suggestion to shake things up: how about attending the Boryeong Mud Festival with your mates this year instead?

Held in mid-July, this is the perfect chance for you to muck around in skin-enhancing mud. Otherwise, the annual Fireworks Festival held at Gwangalli Beach in Busan also calls your name – spread your beach blanket out and enjoy a night of eye-popping laser and fireworks shows being played out in the sky above you this October.

Can’t wait already? Remember to book your flights 12 weeks in advance, you know why!

Cheap flights to South Korea

Fireworks in the sky.
Imagine watching this light show above the sea whilst lying on a beach. Photo Credit: Thinkstock

8. The Netherlands (Book 18 weeks ahead, 11.7% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: February

Paris may be known as the City of Love, but many a couple has fallen in love in (and with) the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. Visit pretty windmills and tulip fields, take a boat down the city’s canals, have a look at Anne Frank’s and Van Gogh’s dedicated museums, and relax by the gorgeous Vondelpark – if you’re there anytime from May to September, you even get to enjoy Vondelpark Open Air Theatre shows. Enjoy music, dance and theatre performances held in one of Europe’s prettiest city parks – just be sure to book your air ticket there 18 weeks in advance!

Cheap flights to The Netherlands

A windmill and tulip field.
Let your eyes and soul relax amidst the Netherlands’ idyllic natural beauty. Photo Credit: Thinkstock

9. Hong Kong (Book 16 weeks ahead, 14.2% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: June

The haunt of Southeast Asians running away from their region’s unrelenting heat, Hong Kong’s weather is famous for its pleasant mildness (except during summer). On top of that, no dim sum ever tastes as good as in its home country, providing another strong incentive to travel to the city. But for comic book lovers, Hong Kong in July will prove almost irresistible – that’s when Hong Kong Comix Boom lands in the city, bringing the best of local and international comics artists together for a meet-and-greet and exchange session. If you’ve already got this event in your sights, book your tickets in April for a good 14.2% discount.

But if you’re travelling with kids in tow, consider giving them the treat of their lives this year-end by celebrating your Christmas at Hong Kong Disneyland with all their favourite cartoon characters. We promise there won’t be a need for any other presents after the Disney Sparkling Christmas experience, that’s how good it is!

Cheap flights to Hong Kong

The cityscape of Hong Kong lit up with lights at night.
Book your tickets to Hong Kong 16 weeks in advance for more savings. Photo Credit: Thinkstock

10. Vietnam (Book 17 weeks ahead, 22.3% savings)

Cheapest month to travel: September

One of the most underrated jewels of Asia, Vietnam has so much to offer tourists – from the beautiful islets, sparkling blue Karst lakes, towers and caves of Ho Chi Minh’s Halong Bay to well-preserved ancient architectural wonders in Hanoi. Even more precious, though, is this beautiful country’s culture – an integral part of which you can witness if you travel there in September. If you’re not too squeamish, watch a centuries-old tradition take place at the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival in Haiphong City this year. Every bit as ingrained in Vietnamese tradition as Spain’s bull and matador fights, Do Son’s buffalo fights are deeply intertwined with spiritual rituals and represent the people’s hope, belief and faith for a better year ahead. Be sure to book your air ticket in March – you could enjoy a stunning 22.3% discount.

Otherwise, spending Mid-Autumn Festival in any part of Vietnam also promises to be an eye-opening experience for the whole family. The Vietnamese spare no expense in decking their country out in lanterns and light – there’ll be plenty of cool lantern toys in all shapes, colours and sizes on sale too for your children to join in the fun. You’ll also be able to enjoy lots of lion dances happening on the streets, stuff yourself full of ceremonial sweet dumplings and cakes, and admire a gorgeous full moon in lovely cool weather.

Cheap flights to Vietnam

A market selling mid-autumn festival sweets and toys.
Ho Chi Minh transforms into a magical land of light during Mid-Autumn Festival. Photo Credit: PeteSaigon / Flickr

Ready to start booking your 2016 holidays? Find cheap flights, hotels and car rental via Skyscanner today, or download our free mobile apps for easy browsing and booking on the go.