Guide for finding the cheapest time to book your holiday

Written by The ReReport

WE DON’T want to alarm you, but as of tomorrow, there are 17 weeks until Christmas Day.

We’re not saying this to make you panic about Christmas shopping or a break out in a cold sweat at the thought of untangling fairy lights.

But it is relevant if you’re hoping to get away over the Christmas break, because when it comes to saving big bucks on the trip, golden hour is approaching.

According to new data from Skyscanner Australia, you’ll find the cheapest prices on airfares for the festive season when you make your booking 17 to 18 weeks out from the holiday.

The data suggests if you strike at that time, you can save an average of 24 per cent on the cost of your flights.

So if you’re looking to travel during Christmas week, the best time to book is now.

Skyscanner’s analysis of festive season travel data also looked at the top destinations Aussies will be holidaying over Christmas, and the week each destination will see prices drop the most.

For example, if you want to travel from Sydney to Melbourne over Christmas, aim to book in the week starting with September 3 — you’ll get an estimated saving of 29 per cent on those airfares.

These are the other recommendations from Skyscanner Australia:

Sydney to Bali: Book the week beginning September 24 — save an estimated 7 per cent

Sydney to London: Week beginning September 24 — 21 per cent

Melbourne to Perth: Week beginning September 10 — 22 per cent

Melbourne to Tokyo: Week beginning September 17 — 13 per cent

Melbourne to Singapore: Week beginning September 10 — 18 per cent

Perth to Sydney: Week beginning September 10 — 29 per cent

Perth to Singapore: Week beginning September 3 — 28 per cent

Adelaide to Sydney: Week beginning August 27 (now!) — 46 per cent

Adelaide to Bali: Week beginning October 8 — 40 per cent.

“There are number of factors that come into play which affects when is the best time to book for different destinations,” Skyscanner Australia’s travel expert Michael Grierson told

“The airfares on your chosen destination is largely affected by changes in supply and demand factors.

“On the supply side, factors such as the number of airlines operating on that route and number of flights flying out from Australia during the Christmas period affects the availability of flights. “On the other hand, factors such as popularity of the destination and number (of) bookings made, affects demand.

“Together, supply and demand factors work hand-in-hand to affect airfares and when the best time to book is for a particular route.”

Skyscanner’s research also found most Australians will be starting their Christmas holidays on December 21 and returning on January 5.

But December 21 is the most expensive date to fly, with airfares on that date about 12 per cent higher than the December average.

If you aim for December 23, airfares will be about 3 per cent cheaper. And flights are about 9 per cent cheaper if you fly on Christmas Day itself.

This year, Bali is tipped to remain the top location for Australians going away over Christmas, followed by Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland and London, according to Skyscanner Australia.


1. Skyscanner Australia is encouraging travellers to book their airfares 17 to 18 weeks before Christmas, when average flight costs are the lowest.

2. Avoid flying on December 21 this year, as fares are set to be about 12 per cent higher that day.

3. Don’t leave your booking to the week before you fly — you’ll be hit with hefty premium prices.

4. Consider other Australian cities to depart from. There are big savings on domestic travel in the lead-up to Christmas, so it could be worth your while to fly to another city first, before heading to your destination. Compare some options.

5. Consider destinations that aren’t the most popular routes — less congested flights normally offer cheaper fares.

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