Thinking of taking a long haul flight? Read the following advice on the best time to book.

With so many different deals available and with prices changing from day to day, deciding when to book to get a bargain flight price can be a real dilemma. Should you book well ahead or try to get a last minute saver? Knowing your way around how airlines’ booking websites work can save you a considerable amount of money, reports the Daily Telegraph.

As a rule of thumb, it’s better to buy as soon as the airline opens its booking period, so have your credit card ready if you’re planning to go to a popular destination. If the airline is sure seats are guaranteed to sell quickly, they’ll restrict the number of tickets offered at the lowest price. Their booking websites are programmed to keep fares low until people start to book. Once the first batch of seats are sold and demand starts to increase, ticket prices will rise accordingly, so expect prices to rise the closer you get to your departure date.

Regular surfers will know that sometimes prices fall again, often because a plane won't fill up as quickly as expected. The airline needs to fill the plane and reduces prices to attract sales closer to departure. Cancelled tickets can come onto the market too, at a higher fare at first but then the price will fall if the seats don’t sell. So there is an element of chance in the final price that you'll pay.

At this time of year though, keep in mind that airlines will soon be announcing their New Year offers, so don’t rush to book until they’re out. Also, keep an eye on newspaper advertisements and fare agents such as Trailfinders, Travelbag or STA. And bear in mind that it's cheaper to fly midweek and normally on early morning flights. Bon Voyage!

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