Google unveils new feature that reveals the best time of year to book flights

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By Dan Sears

Travelers are forking out big money for airfares at the moment, but a new Google tool may help with snagging cheaper flights.

While Google Flights already show whether current prices for your flight search are low, typical or high compared to past averages for the same route, it can now tell you the cheapest time to book trips.

According to its “reliable trend data”, the new search function offers insights on whether prices are overblown or at a discount.

“For example, these insights could tell you that the cheapest time to book similar trips is usually two months before departure, and you’re currently in that sweet spot,” Google said in a blog.

“Or you might learn that prices have usually dropped closer to takeoff, so you decide to wait before booking. Either way, you can make that decision with a greater sense of confidence.”

A new Google Flights feature can tell you the best time of year to book your trip.
A new Google Flights feature can tell you the best time of year to book your trip.
Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

To help with this, travelers can turn on price tracking on Google Flights to receive automatic notifications for when fares drop significantly on chosen destination and dates.

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Users will be notified via email — providing they are signed up with Google.

If you aren’t tied down to any specific dates, users can turn on “any dates” to receive emails about deals anytime in the next three to six months.

If you spot a rainbow “price guarantee” badge on certain flights, it means Google is confident the fare will not drop.

However, if you do book and that specific flight does drop, the tech titan will pay you the difference.

“When you book one of these flights, we’ll monitor the price every day before takeoff, and if the price does go down, we’ll pay you back the difference via Google Pay,” the blog explains.

However, as of now, the price guarantees are only part of a pilot program available for a select group of flights in the US.

Meanwhile, it also revealed other tips to help you travel on a budget.

“Last year, we shared money-saving insights based on historical pricing trends on Google Flights, the blog continued.

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“We ran the numbers again with the latest data, and most of the tips from 2022 still hold true — taking a layover or avoiding weekend departures are among the best ways to save on your next flight booking.”

However, it noted the best time to book flights for the holiday season is in early October. “Average prices tend to be lowest 71 days before departure — a big change from our 2022 insights, which found that average prices were lowest just 22 days before departure. And the typical low price range is now 54-78 days before takeoff.”

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