What are the best days to book a holiday trip?

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As the end-of-year holidays approach, the travel world is experiencing a particularly busy period and average flight prices are even up 19% compared to the previous year.

The good news ? KAYAK, the world’s leading flight and hotel search engine, helps travelers with the Christmas and New Year version of the “Best Time to Travel” tool. This release aims to provide travelers with information on the best time to book their flights, as well as the cheapest days to travel on more than 8,000 routes around the world. A welcome initiative for travelers who wish to plan their trip during this busy period.

Holiday travel: prices skyrocket

As the holiday season approaches, travel excitement is at a fever pitch.

Recent data from KAYAK reveals a wave of enthusiasm, with a marked increase in flight searches. Indeed, travelers are showing an increased propensity to jet off to far-flung destinations, with a significant increase in searches.

Flight searches for the Christmas and New Year period have increased significantly compared to 2022, with an average increase of 11% for domestic flights, 28% for international flights and 35% for flights to the interior of Europe*.

End of year: the French dream of escape

For the end of year period, the aspirations of French travelers are awakening for distant adventures. KAYAK.fr research data highlights a strong preference for exotic destinations, revealing French travelers’ preferred choices for end-of-year holidays.

Saint-Denis de la Réunion, Tunis and Cancún top the podium of the most popular destinations for French travelers for the end-of-year holidays. A thirst for exoticism and escape which translates into travel requests.

For the 10 most popular destinations, the Christmas and New Year version of KAYAK’s Best Time to Travel tool recommends careful planning, with reservations made between 26 and 72 days in advance at the peak of the season . This foresight can make all the difference, with prices varying by up to 56%** between the lowest rate and the median rate during this period.

Zanzibar, with its white sand beaches, is a good example. To get the lowest rates, we recommend booking a 7-day trip departing from Paris 40 days before December 19, which is expected to be the most cost-effective departure date this year, i.e. around on November 9. Last year, travelers got the best value for money at around 695 euros, while the median fare during this period reached a peak of 1224 euros, representing a substantial difference of 43%**.

“While we recommend travelers book flights from France at least 72 days in advance to get the best prices, the Christmas and New Year version of our Best Time to Travel tool is a fantastic tool to help travelers travelers to identify the best time to book their trip and find the most affordable travel dates for their desired destination,” says Eva Fouquet, Senior Vice President of KAYAK.

Most searched itineraries (from Paris, France) during the 2023 holidays, based on searches on KAYAK.fr**.

The 10 most popular destinations

  • Saint-Denis, Reunion, France – Best price for a return flight: €923
  • Tunis, Tunisia – Best price for a return flight: €185
  • Cancun, Mexico – Best price for a return flight: €494
  • Port Louis, Mauritius – Best price for a return flight: €1,087
  • Prague, Czech Republic – Best price for a return flight: €109
  • Dublin, Ireland – Best price for a return flight: €89
  • Phuket, Thailand – Best price for a return flight: €1,101
  • Los Angeles, United States – Best price for a return flight: €496
  • Zanzibar, Tanzania – Best price for a return flight: €695
  • Mexico City, Mexico – Best price for a return flight: €610

What is the best day to travel?

The end of the year is known to be a busy travel time, and trip planning becomes a crucial step for many travelers looking for a getaway. Some general rules are intended to help travelers save money during the holiday season. Unsurprisingly, Fridays during the period will be the busiest days for travelers, with average prices around 159 euros. Mondays are generally the cheapest days for flights, with an average price of around 147 euros, which is ideal for those looking to save money. Finally, Sundays are generally the least busy days, with an average price of 162 euros, which provides a more peaceful atmosphere for flying*.

While this is general advice, KAYAK’s Best Time to Travel for Christmas and New Year tool uses predictive data and user-friendly charts so you know exactly which days to fly to your destination, based on your budget , by forecasting the evolution of flight prices on different travel dates.

Take for example the Paris – Saint-Denis, Reunion route (one of the most searched flight routes by KAYAK during the holidays). It is recommended to start a week-long trip on December 19 to save up to 33% on flights compared to the most expensive dates**.


*KAYAK considered flight searches from 01/15/2023 to 09/18/2023 for travel from 12/15/2023 to 01/08/2024.

For year-over-year comparison, the same search and travel dates were used in 2022. Prices are average, subject to change and cannot be guaranteed. Percentages are approximate.

**This information was collected by Kayak’s Best Time to Travel tool

Catherine Mills Avatar