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Flying Smart: When to Book Flights to SAVE Big on Top U.S. Routes

Flying Smart: When to Book Flights to SAVE Big on Top U.S. Routes

Summer is officially in full swing, which means one thing to us at Yahoo Travel: vacation! Although if you’ve booked a flight recently, you’ll notice that summertime flights can be hard on your bank account. To help you out, we asked the folks at Kayak.com for the top 10 U.S. routes (round-trip) and when to book to get the best prices. 

New York City to Los Angeles (NYC / LAX)
Book your flight 5 or 6 months in advance to save up to 20%. Fares increase steadily as the departure date approaches, so don’t procrastinate. Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $454.43.

*NYC = all New York airports (JFK, EWR, LGA)

New York City to Miami (NYC / MIA)
Book your flight 5 months out from departure to save up to 22%. The next best times to book are 4 and 6 months in advance. If you miss that window, don’t sweat. Airfare doesn’t increase dramatically until a month before departure. However, out of the top ten US routes, NYC/MIA is the route you can save the most on by booking at the right time (5 months out). Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $372.82.

Related: Yahoo Travel Gets Results: NYC Airports Will Get Free Wi-Fi 

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Summertime is the best time to get away (Photo: Thinkstock)

New York City to San Francisco (NYC / SFO)
Book your flight 5 or 6 months out to save up to 13%. This is another wildly popular route, so do not wait to book your flight. Prices increase dramatically as the departure date approaches. Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $448.04. 

New York City to Las Vegas (NYC / LAS)
Book your flight 6 months in advance to save up to 17%. In the week before departure, the NYC/LAS route saw a 53% jump to an average airfare of $736. Lesson: don’t wait! Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $482.06.

Related: Confused By Airline Rules, Cancellation Policies? Know Your Passenger Rights

Los Angeles to New York City (LAX / JFK)
Book 5 months out to save up to 18%. LAX/JFK saw the biggest jump in airfare one week before departure at nearly 55% up to an average of $698. Again, prices rose steadily after the 5-month mark, so book your flight as early as you can. Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $453.02. 

Los Angeles to Honolulu (LAX / HNL)
Book your flight 4 months out from departure to save up to 6%.  Airfare doesn’t fluctuate much as the departure date approaches, so you don’t have to worry about booking too close to the flight date. In fact, you may end up paying a little more than average if you book at the 6-month mark. Lesson: don’t book too early! Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $549.68.

Related: The 14 People You Don’t Want to Sit Next to on a Plane

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Ride the savings, then ride some waves in Honolulu (Photo: Thinkstock)

New York City to Fort Lauderdale (NYC / FLL)
Book your flight 5 months out from the departure date to save up to 19%. The next best times to book are 6 months out (up to 15% savings) and 4 months out (up to 13% savings). Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $332.13.

Los Angeles to New York City (LAX / NYC)
Book your flight 5 or 6 months out to save up to 17.9%. If you miss this window, don’t sweat. You can still save an average of 12-14.5% if you book 8 to 12 weeks before departure. Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $442.60. 

Related: Bumped From Your Flight? Here’s $1,300. 

Boston to Los Angeles (BOS / LAX)
Book your flight 6 months out to save up to 16%. If you wait until 4 weeks out, you can still save around 10% on your flight. Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $427.48.

Boston to San Francisco (BOS / SFO)
Book your flight 5 or 6 months in advance to save up to 13%. Procrastinators can still find below-average fares until 3 weeks out from departure. Average airfare within 6 months of departure: $448.54­.

** All percentage savings are compared to the average airfare found for all searches conducted for each route within 6 months of departure. Source: Kayak.com

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