Buying plane tickets can be hectic, particularly if you’re on a tight budget. Booking a flight eight months in advance might not be possible. So you might have to go the distance to find a cheap ticket, and that might involve setting up multiple alerts or downloading apps that’ll notify you when there’s a can’t-miss flight deal.

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Whether you’re planning a lengthy sabbatical or a summer rendezvous, you might be wondering which day is the best day to buy plane tickets. We’ll fill you in on how to figure out when to book a trip and how to save on flights for holiday travel.

When You Should Buy Plane Tickets

If you’re planning to fly somewhere in the U.S., it might be a good idea to book your flight 54 days in advance. According to 2015 data from cheapair.com, plane tickets were least expensive at that point, on average, based on an analysis of about a billion airfares. But the truth is, there’s a lot of variation, depending in part on where you’re going, how full the flight is when you book and how popular your destination will be when you take your trip. Other experts say that the sweet spot is now about 57 days out.

So it isn’t possible to say with 100% certainty that the best day to book is x numbers of days before your departure date. In fact, data shows that the optimal time to purchase a domestic flight could be anywhere between 112 and 21 days in advance. But occasionally (though very rarely), procrastinating pays off big time.

You might be sad to learn that there isn’t a hard and fast rule saying you should book on one particular day every time you want to travel. Still, it helps to know that there’s a method to the madness of charging consumers for flights. When flights initially go on sale (usually 335 days ahead of time), they tend to be quite expensive. Over time, however, prices fall gradually and then typically shoot up pretty rapidly two weeks prior to your departure.

Related Article: The Most Affordable Travel Destinations in the U.S.

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The Worst Times to Buy Plane Tickets

While trying to pinpoint the best time to book a flight can be tricky, there’s plenty of proof that suggests that the worst time to buy tickets is 13 or fewer days before your plane is scheduled to take off. You run the risk of having to pay a lot more than you gambled for: $75 more for a flight booked between 7 and 13 days of departure and almost $200 more for a flight booked a week in advance (in comparison to a flight booked 112 to 21 days out). Yikes!

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The numbers also say that Fridays are the worst days to lock down flights. On Fridays, ticket prices, on average, tend to be 13% higher than they are on Sundays. Generally, if you want cheap flights, you’re better off searching for flights over the weekend.

During the week, Tuesday is considered the best weekday to buy plane tickets because you’re more likely to find discounts. But again, that’s not always true.

Holiday Travel

Booking a flight for holiday travel is a totally different beast. Many people travel over the holidays, so it’s usually best to buy plane tickets early. When we say early, we mean at least a few months ahead of time (although sometimes you can get lucky if you wait until two to four weeks before the holiday to book).

If you can play around with your trip dates, it’ll be easier to find cheaper tickets. Also, flying out on an actual holiday – like the Fourth of July or New Years Day – is typically less expensive. If you can’t dip out early after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, however, you might want to avoid returning the day that everyone else is likely to be returning (like the Sunday after Thanksgiving).

Related Article: The Most Efficient U.S. Airports

For anyone who still needs to purchase plane tickets for a 2016 summer trip, it might be a good idea to avoid flying on a Friday or a Sunday. Flights that depart on those days over the summer are expected to cost more. Those that take off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are expected to be the cheapest flights.

If you’re desperate to find a good deal, you can use an app like Hopper that’ll tell you when it’s best to book.

Final Word

Even the savviest travel expert can’t guarantee that you’ll find the cheapest plane tickets on a particular day. But understanding that ticket prices tend to follow a pattern and using tools and apps can make it easier to figure out the best day to buy plane tickets for your trip. And regardless of what day it is, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on prices and to snatch up a ticket if it seems reasonably priced.

If you’re going abroad, the early bird usually gets the worm. One report suggests that to get the cheapest fares, Americans might want to book their flights to Europe 176 days before their departure dates. If you’re leaving the U.S. to go to South America or Asia, prices are least expensive, on average, 90 days and 160 days (respectively) in advance.

The post What’s the Best Day to Buy Plane Tickets? appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

 


Top 4 Dividend Investing Rules for Millennials to Follow

When it comes to the stock market, millennials aren’t exactly embracing it with open arms. Recent reports show that they hold most of their investments in cash. While cash is king in terms of liquidity and safety, it doesn’t have the same return potential as a stock or a mutual fund. For young investors who are cautious about investing, dividend investingmay be something worth considering. If you’re ready to give it a try, here are four tips to keep in mind.

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1. Stick With Established Brands

Dividend stocks are securities that pay shareholders a portion of the company’s earnings. If you don’t know a lot about them, it’s a good idea to consider investing in a company with a track record of consistently paying out dividends.

For example, the dividend aristocrats are S&P 500 companies that have paid out dividends at an increasing rate for at least 25 years in a row. Some of the blue-chip stocks that fall under that category include companies like AT&T, Chevron and Coca-Cola. Putting money into those kinds of companies can be reassuring to millennials who are nervous about investing in stocks.

2. Don’t Be Wowed By Overly High Yields

dividend milli 2 Top 4 Dividend Investing Rules for Millennials to Follow

While dividend stocks can provide you with a steady stream of income, not all of them will produce the kinds of investment returns you’re looking for. One of the easiest ways to compare dividend stocks is to look at dividend yields. If you’ve got your eye on a stock with a yield that’s much higher than others in the same sector, you may need to think twice about investing in it.

An above-average yield can disguise a stock that’s on shaky ground. Even if it has a high divided yield, a company may have difficulty maintaining the same payout level from one year to the next. If you come across a company that’s paying out dividends at a much higher rate than its competitors, you’ll have to ask yourself whether that’s really sustainable.

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3. Reinvest Automatically

When you purchase a dividend stock, you have the option of getting your dividends paid out to you or reinvesting them in additional shares. If you’re still living like a broke college student, getting a check for a few hundred or a few thousand bucks may feel like hitting the jackpot. But in the long run, you might be better off reinvesting those earnings.

4. Pay Attention to the Payout Ratio

dividend milli 3 Top 4 Dividend Investing Rules for Millennials to Follow

Simply put, the payout ratio is the fraction of a company’s earnings that are paid out to investors as dividends. This is essentially a measure of how sustainable a company’s cash flow is.

Without getting too technical, it’s best to steer clear of any dividend stock whose payout ratio is near or at the 100% mark. That means the company is paying out everything it has coming in, which could suggest that it may not be able to pay its shareholders consistently in the future.

Related Article: The Newbie Investor’s Guide to Fees

Final Word

While stocks tend to be volatile, investing in dividend stocks can be a good way for millennials to play the market without exposing themselves to more risk than they’re comfortable with. Taking the time to fully vet different dividend stocks before jumping in is important for young investors who are ready to expand their portfolios.

 

 

 

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