If you’ve been putting off purchasing holiday travel tickets, you could be in luck. Hopper, an airfare prediction app, forecasts that domestic airfare prices will drop beginning in August—and stay at an average of $248 until November.
Pre-holiday, your best months to purchase are August and October, when the prices are forecast at $245. And if you’re planning to travel over spring break, buy your tickets in December, when prices are expected to be at an average of $241—a full 12.5 percent drop from July. Though fall prices are usually, on average, lower than those in the summertime, this year’s expected autumn rates would be the lowest the market has seen in four years. According to Hopper, the app has consistently predicted airfare trends within a single percentage point since beginning to release price indices in April.
Patrick Surry, chief data scientist at Hopper, says the decreases are driven by lower fuel prices, which account for a third of expenses for a typical airline; the entrance of low cost carriers like Frontier, Southwest, and JetBlue into different markets; and the unbundling of services, which might mean you’re paying more in add-ons than you were for the all-inclusive flight three years ago.
If you’re planning on traveling with the whole family in tow, Surry recommends purchasing tickets more than a month in advance for the best prices and availability. And make sure you do your homework: It might seem great to fly from Boston to Orlando for $249, but you could be missing out on the best deal if you have to pay for two additional checked suitcases filled with all the gifts from the grandparents.
Though Hopper only calculates price indices for domestic fights, Surry says August is a good time to travel internationally, as well. With the exchange rate in favor of the U.S. dollar, you can finally take that European vacation you’ve been dreaming of—at a dream price.