Best time to book travel

12 million January bookers have missed out on the best priced flights

You can save as much as 92% on your train, plane and bus travel if you book at the right time

Book 12 weeks in advance for trains

Book 3 months in advance for coach or during their sales

Book flights at the right time for your destination, this is typically 5 weeks in advance BUT can range from 3 weeks (Greece) to 21 weeks (USA)!


Need to know

You can save a BUNDLE if you know the BEST times to book your transport


  • The last week in July and the first week in August are on average the busiest and most expensive times to book. 
  • If you're willing to travel on a Wednesday you can save even further. A family of four could save as much as £300 on a trip to the USA by doing this (see below)!
  • Sign up to price alerts and widgets which will allow you to see when the lowest fares become available. You can sign up to price alerts on Skyscanner by searching for your chosen route and then clicking on their 'Get Alerts' button at the top of the results
  • Shop around - the budget airlines don't always have the best prices, your closest airport won't always have the best deal, and booking outward and return with the same company may not prove cheapest
  • Flying indirect could cut costs (but increase time spent in airports...)
  • Skyscanner, the online flight comparison site, has compared 200 million searches and put together the BEST times to book depending on your destination! HANDY! 



Average off-peak summer price (June)

Average peak summer price (last week July - first week of school hols)

Average price for end summer (last week August - final week of school hols)

Best time to book (weeks before departure)

Best day to fly (1st week of school holidays) & the saving for a family of 4 (compared to flying on  the Saturday)





7 weeks

Wednesday (save £22)





22 weeks

Wednesday (save £300)





8 weeks






14 weeks

Friday (save £75)





5 weeks

Friday (save £133)


  • The best time to book train travel is 12 WEEKS BEFORE TRAVEL
  • Booking in advance can save you as much as 92%! An advanced single ticket from London Euston to Manchester Piccadily will cost £12.50, buying on the day will cost £160!!!
  • You can sign up to get an alert email when advanced tickets become available on the Trainline



  • Megabus are very cheap, their tickets become available around three months in advance but the lowest fares are limited in availability so the earlier you book the better
  • Megabus also have a free seat sale for travel until 20th February, if you enter your journey a £0 ticket may be available
  • National Express tickets become available around 5 months in advance. Their cheapest fares sell out fast, so again, the sooner you book the better
  • National Express regularly have 'Fun Fares' which are snapped up quickly

Where to book



Why we like it:

  • will compare flights to find you the cheapest deal
  • also compares hotels and car hire
  • very quick
  • app available
  • free to use

Watch out:

  • airlines may charge additional fees for luggage, check-in and similar


Why we like it:

  • find the cheapest train fares 12 weeks before travel
  • also displays timetable
  • will display 2 singles if they are cheaper than a return
  • pick up tickets from outward station for free

Watch out:

  • £1.50 booking fee

DB Bahn

Why we like it:

  • GREAT place to book train travel within mainland Europe
  • book online for free rather than phone (8p per minute)
  • print out tickets at home
  • MUCH CHEAPER than raileurope and similar sites

Watch out:

  • originally a German site

Mega Bus

Why we like it:

  • fares from £1
  • free ticket sale for travel until 20th February
  • European destinations also available
  • book 3 months in advance

Watch out:

  • 50p booking fee
  • lowest fares sell out fast
  • traffic...

National Express

Why we like it:

  • fares from £5
  • print tickets
  • £7 tickets to the airport
  • save 25% with group travel
  • lots of other offers on their site including London 2 for 1s

Watch out:

  • 50p booking fee
  • lowest fares sell out fast
  • traffic...

The inside track

  • Coach is not only cheaper than train but, in some cases, doesn't take much longer. Some National Express routes take the same amount of time as the train including: Portsmouth to London, Liverpool to Manchester and Bournemouth to Heathrow    
  • You can use your loyalty points to help you save on flights, nectar points can be spent on easyjet flights and Clubcard points can be spent on AVIOS
  • Going direct to the ferry operator is the cheapest way to book ferry travel, you may be able to pick up a last minute deal in the quiet month of June, but during peak months you're unlikely to be able get cut prices tickets 

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