This blog post was updated on August 4, 2021.
It sucks when your vacay mood gets ruined the moment you get to the airport only to find hordes of people are already there. Once you get through the busy check-in and finally get on the cramped plane, pushing your way through the cramped aisle just to get seated won’t help either. We know. We’ve all been there. That’s why booking your trip on the least busy day to fly is something to keep in mind if you just can’t stand crowds. But it’s not always easy. Sure, it’s no secret that if you fly on Christmas Eve you’re going to share your flight with a LOT of people. But apart from that, you’ll have to rely on a tricky combination of common sense and pure luck to start your vacation in peace.
Luckily, there are some tricks you can follow. For starters, it’s important to learn that, although choosing the correct day is key, you also have to be aware of the month and even the hour of your flight. If you manage to combine this know-how wisely, your trip will not only be less crowded…but also a lot cheaper! Just follow these useful tips and you’ll be chilling your way to your destination in no time!
Least Busy Months
Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do. That Thanksgiving family dinner just can’t be avoided, and you have to travel on the busiest week of the year. If, on the other hand, picking any time of the year for a trip is a viable option, then avoiding national holidays should be a no-brainer. Yeah, making the most out of the Memorial Day Weekend sounds great. But oh boy, it’s gonna be packed! Why not try a different season? As a general rule, flying in quiet months between holidays is your best bet to get a cheap, less crowded flight. You should definitely try the second half of January, the first days of February, early May, or the most part of September and October. Oh, and be careful with March and April if you don’t want to share your long-awaited trip with a wild bunch of Spring Break partygoers!
Flying abroad? Well, then forget all we just said. Kind of. You see, these tips might substantially change when your destination is outside the US. Every country has its own national holidays, after all, so be sure to check first if it’s Carnival season when flying to Venice or if Spain is observing its Holy Week. Doing the proper research on this might save you big lines at the airport!
Lastly, consider booking your summer vacation to places like Australia, where June, July, and August are winter months and, consequently, low season. Granted, you might find the weather is not the best, but it’s not going to be tourist-ridden either. When booking, always remember the so-called “shoulder season“: those months between peak and off-peak seasons, when the climate is not that awful and you might actually get an affordable fare. Just be sure to track hurricanes or monsoon seasons wherever you go and you’ll be fine!
Least Busy Days
Nobody wants to ask for days off at work to get a vacation started. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what you’ll have to do if flying on the least busy day of the week is a priority for you. Since the vast majority of travelers will try to book their flights for a convenient Friday evening, Tuesdays and Wednesdays emerge as the best days to fly without crowds. If you can extend your vacation during the weekend, that’s always ideal. But be mindful of your return date: although Sundays are, hands down, one of the busiest days, many people actually prefer to come back to work on Mondays or even take that day off to rest from a long flight. Tuesdays, again, look like a safe bet.
You may also like: 9 Tips for Reducing Your Stress at the Airport
Least Busy Hours
Last but not least, picking the perfect time for your flight is just as important as the day and the month…if not more! Just think about it. No one is eager to wake up at 6-8 am to board that early flight. And that’s exactly why both the airport and the aircraft will be quite empty. Booking at noon? Whole different story. So, if your priority is to avoid herds of frequent flyers, always remember that the early bird gets the worm!
But if you just can’t rise and shine THAT early, then midnight flights might be your answer. Have no problem at all sleeping in-flight? Well, good for you! Many people hate it and will try to avoid that situation at all costs when booking cheap flights…which means a less crowded trip for you. So bring a comfy travel pillow to the airport and prepare to enjoy a (hopefully) quiet flight!