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The best travel periods for flying & the top tools to find cheap flights

The Ultimate Guide To Finding Affordable Flight Tickets

Singapore is one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in Asia, but it’s nice to get away from the constant hustle and bustle too. Quick trips around Asia to enjoy great food and shopping are favourite getaways for many Singaporeans.

Moving further away from Asia, European holiday destinations like Denmark, Norway and Sweden have also become popular. Here are some quick tips to help you find affordable flight tickets:


Smart flyers save in shoulder travel periods

1. Travel during off peak seasons

If you’re planning a getaway, avoid travelling during the holidays unless you absolutely have to. Peak travel periods like Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year and Singapore school holidays are always the most expensive times to travel.

The best deals can usually be found in the shoulder travel periods – March, April, May and September, October, November – which fall between the peak and low seasons. September is a great off-peak month for cheap travel to Europe and America: the summer holidays are over, the peak tourist season is finished and cities are quieter.

On the other side of the world, September is the start of spring in Australia and New Zealand. The weather is warmer but it’s still the low season and therefore not busy. In Asia, it’s the rainy season so planes are rarely filled to capacity. Cheap flights are everywhere as airlines look to fill empty seats.


Smart flyers save more by booking early

2. Book two to six months in advance

When making travel or holiday plans, it is always a good idea to book in advance. Japanese economist Makoto Watanabe calculated that the best time to book an airline ticket is two months before flying out1. Of course, if you’re travelling to a really popular destination then it makes sense to make your flight booking even earlier.

According to travel aggregator Skyscanner – which is used by 60 million people a month – Singaporeans can save up to 15% by planning and booking short-haul flights within Asia in advance3.

The best time to book flights to Bangkok, Bali, Phuket and Hong Kong is typically 6 months2 before leaving because they’re all so popular. However, Kuala Lumpur and Manila are the exceptions to this rule. The best time to book a flight to KL is seven weeks before travelling and 16 weeks in advance to Manila2. That way you can be sure you’re getting the best price.

Skyscanner’s data also showed that Singaporeans can save on long-haul flights by booking five to six months prior to travel3. According to their data, you could get discounts of up to 30% for tickets to popular long-haul destinations like New York, Paris and Honolulu3. Therefore, book your flights early or you may miss out on cheap flight deals when planning too close to your travel dates.


Smart flyers save by flying Tuesday and Wednesdays

3. Fly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays

One of the easiest ways to get cheap flights is by being flexible with your travel dates and timing. The savings you can make by travelling either a day earlier or later can be significant so it’s well worth having a little leeway with your dates.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the two best days to fly if you really want to save. Flights are usually not as full because most people travel on the weekend. Mondays are popular travel days for business travellers and they usually return home on either a Thursday or Friday, so most of the seats are taken on those days too.

If you must stick to the day you travel, changing your flight to a different time of day can save you hundreds of dollars on many airlines (although this might not be possible if you’re flying with a low budget carrier). Most airline booking sites display a range of timings, so plan the day and time you fly around the rates for better prices.


Smart flyers save by carefully choosing the best months to travel

4. Don’t travel to destinations during major celebrations

Different seasons, major carnivals, wildlife migrations and popular sporting events can heavily influence the price of plane tickets.


Northern Hemisphere

Chinese New Year, the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and summer holidays are all peak times when millions of people are travelling in the northern hemisphere. Unsurprisingly, air ticket prices skyrocket during those periods. That said, February and March are two of the cheapest months to travel to the northern hemisphere, especially to Europe and the US.

Unless you’re going home to visit family and friends or really want to join in the festive celebrations, it’s best to avoid travelling around Asia during Chinese New Year as domestic travel is at its peak in countries like China which accounts for the increase in air ticket prices.

By March, April and May, it’s spring across the Northern Hemisphere and the warmer weather and great fares make it an ideal time to travel to the Europe and America. September, October and November are also good off-peak travel months to head north.

Northern hemisphere annual festivals and events at a glance


Low Season

(Cheapest flights)

Shoulder season

(Cheaper flights)

High season

(Expensive flights)

January Vienna Ball Season

Sundance Film Festival (US)

Sapporo Snow Festival (Japan)

Super Bowl (US)

February Carnevale (Venice)

Copenhagen Music Festival

New York Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Milan Fashion Week

March Comic-Con (San Diego, US)

Mardi Gras (New Orleans, US)

St Patricks Day (Ireland)

Amsterdam Tulip Festival

April Coachella Music and Arts Festival (California, US)

Masters Golf Tournament (Augusta, US)

Boston Marathon (US)

Cherry Blossom Festival (Japan)

May Cannes Film Festival

Stars Of The White Nights Festival (St Petersburg)

Chelsea Flower Show

Fiesta de San Isidro (Madrid)

June Art Basel (Switzerland)

Glastonbury Festival

Tour de France

July Running of the Bulls (Spain)

Montreux Jazz Festival (France)

Independence Day (US)

Gion Matsuri Festival (Kyoto, Japan)

Hajj Pilgrimage (Saudi Arabia)

August Notting Hill Carnival (UK)

Edinburgh Festival

Berlin Beer Festival

Tomato Festival (Spain)

Lollapalooza Music Festival (Chicago, US)

Burning Man Festival (Nevada, US)

September Oktoberfest (Munich)

Venice Film Festival

Galway Seafood Festival, (Ireland)

October Belfast Arts Festival

Halloween (US)

November Lord Mayor’s Show (London)

Guy Fawkes Night (UK)

Thanksgiving (US)

December Day of the Dead (Mexico)

Christmas markets (Europe)

Natale Christmas Nativity (Italy)

New Year’s Eve Times Square (US)

Southern Hemisphere

Brazil’s Rio Carnival in February, whale migrations in Australia and New Zealand (May-November), Kenyan wildlife migrations (July-November) and the peak tourist season in Antarctica (November-March) attract travellers from all over the world. Air travel can be expensive to those destinations during peak times: although bargains can still be found during shoulder periods.

March, April and May are great months for finding cheap flights to countries in the Southern Hemisphere. The weather is still mild so it’s ideal for sightseeing and swimming. September, October and November are also good months for cheap fares to Indonesia, the Maldives, Australia, NZ, Fiji, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Madagascar and the Seychelles.

In conclusion, try not to travel in January, February and December if you’re looking for cheaper plane tickets to countries in the southern hemisphere.

Southern hemisphere annual festivals and events at a glance

Low Season

(Cheapest flights)

Shoulder season

(Cheaper flights)

High season

(Expensive flights)

January Australia Day

Antarctica (icebergs, penguins, whales

February Rio Carnival (Brazil)

Day of the Sun Festival (San Juan, Argentina)

Carnaval de Oruro (Bolivia)

Antarctica (penguins, whales)

March Lollapalooza Music Festival (Chile)

Aymara New Year (Bolivia)

Santiago Film Festival (Chile)

Antarctica (whales)

Sumba Jousting Festival (Indonesia)

April Buenos Aires Film Festival (Argentina)
May Whale watching (Australia/NZ)
June Fez Festival of World Sacred Music (Morocco)

Inca Festival of the Sun (Peru)

Life of Buddha Festival (Indonesia)

Whale watching (Australia/NZ)

July Whale watching (Australia/NZ)

Masai Mara Wildlife Migration (Kenya)

Eid al-Fitr (Indonesia)

August Tango Festival (Argentina)

Whale watching (Australia/NZ)

Masai Mara Wildlife

Migration (Kenya)

Jember Fashion Carnival (Indonesia)

September Lake of Stars Music Festival (Lake Malawi, Malawi)

Mistura Culinary Festival (Peru)

Flower Fair (Colombia)

Masai Mara Wildlife Migration (Kenya)

Whale watching (Australia/NZ)

October Beer Festival (Argentina)

Whale watching (Australia/NZ)

Masai Mara Wildlife Migration (Kenya)

November Whale watching (Australia)

Masai Mara Wildlife Migration (Kenya)

Antarctica (icebergs, elephant seals)

December Antarctica (icebergs, penguins, whales, elephant seals)
Smart flyers save with connecting flights

5. Fly “Direct”

“Non-stop” and “Direct” flights are not the same thing, and there are key differences which can mean big savings on your next air ticket.

A non-stop flight flies from one airport to another without stopping anywhere along the way. Airlines generally charge hundreds of dollars more for this privilege because it gets you to your destination faster3.

On the other hand, a direct flight makes at least one stop along the way. You’ll face a wait anywhere from an hour up to a day during a stop on direct flights. If you have a connecting flight you may even fly to your final destination on a completely different airline.

If you’re not in a hurry, there’s a very good chance you can save 20-30% on your ticket by booking a direct or connecting flight3.


Smart flyers save by using flight alert apps

6. Use price alerts to act quickly

Most good flight comparison websites offer price alerts. These handy tools can help you secure the cheapest flights available by staying up-to-date with fluctuating flight fares.

If you’ve been hoping to score a cheap flight on a certain route, price alerts take the stress out of checking back every day. Or every hour. They keep track of everything and email or text you when prices go down so you can take advantage of great deals. FlightBoard and GateGuru are all flight tracking apps that you should have on your phone.


Smart flyers save by buying directly from airlines

7. Buy directly from airlines

Going directly to an airline’s website is a great way to save. You may also find exclusive fares which are not being shared with travel search engines. When you deal directly with the airline, you can view a range of different fares, mix and match travel dates, see all fees and fully customise your fare with meals, seats and checked bags.

You’re protected from additional booking fees, third-party charges and cancellation fees too. Some airlines offer extra miles, free WiFi, food and drink credits, airport lounge access and priority boarding when you book direct.

It pays to look on the websites of carriers like Singapore Airlines, British Airways or Air New Zealand – or budget airlines like Scoot and Air Asia – for daily special fares and other package savings.


Smart flyers save by hiding their browsing history

8. Go Incognito

Use Incognito mode on Google Chrome when searching for flights to keep websites from tracking your browsing history. Sites like Kayak, Expedia and Priceline can raise the price of the same flight each time you search for it but Incognito mode prevents this from happening. Clear your browser cache and cookies between searches too. Sometimes old cache data displays outdated prices from an earlier search and you might miss out on new deals


Smart flyers save with airline promos, flash deals and mega sales

9. Follow airlines’ social media channels

You can also follow the airlines’ Facebook pages and Twitter feeds to enjoy exclusive promotions and flash deals. Some of these deals can be eye-popping. Especially when airlines slash prices during popular annual sales in Singapore:




Shopee 10.10

Oct 1-10

Lazada Sale

Oct 10

Singles’ Day

Nov 11

Black Friday

Nov 29

Cyber Monday

Dec 2

June Flight discounts
July Flight discounts
October Flight discounts Flight discounts
November Flight discounts Flight discounts
December Flight discounts
Smart flyers save with the best card for travel

10. Use a credit card with proven perks

Get your next trip off to the best start possible with the right credit card for travelling. We’d recommend the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card – for every S$1 spent, you’ll earn up to 3 miles* when you charge a minimum of S$2,000 on eligible spend in a statement cycle (based on transaction posting date), plus complimentary Priority Pass Airport lounge access and exclusive dining privileges. The Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card is everything you need when you head off on your next great overseas adventure.

This article is brought to you by Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited. All information provided is for informational purposes only.

1Source: Asiaone – 5 exotic destinations more Singaporeans are travelling to

2Source: Economist – The Eight-Week Rule

3Source: Skyscanner – Skyscanner’s Definitive Guide to Scoring Cheap Flights 


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