Getting tips on travel is kinda like getting dating advice from relatives at a wedding. Every time you look up, someone is offering some sage wisdom about how to time it right, avoid the pitfalls, and get the most for your money, so to speak. And listening to all of it gets you so overwhelmed that you just wanna say “forget it” and stay home with a bottle of Chianti and Netflix.
Of course, unlike with dating, the travel world has actual, quantifiable authorities who base their advice on more than astrological signs and rom-com plots — authorities like Kayak, the travel booking site that’s been tracking airfare history almost as long as your Aunt Shirley has been asking if you’ve “met anyone.” Last year, Kayak crunched an incomprehensible amount of data to come up with, by all accounts, the most comprehensive and user-friendly travel-hack guide to date. And it’s now an indispensable tool when planning any vacation.
If you’re looking to plan a trip, the guide leads you along breaking down destinations in different categories like “Beach,” “Trending,” and “Wallet-Friendly.” It even throws in some curated “Kayak Picks” if you’re looking for some inspiration. Under each category, you can pick from a number of destinations, like Mexico City under “Trending” or Houston (one of our favorite destinations for 2019) under “Wallet-Friendly.”
Once you select a destination, the guide shows you a handy bar graph with the median airfare to said city broken down by month. (Hotel rates are also broken down by month further down the page.) It also gives you a quick “Hacker Tip,” offering up some activity and dining advice, and finds the cheapest airfare from your home airport. It also gives a line graph representing how airfare to that destination fluctuates based on how far in advance you book.
You’ll also find a handful of food recommendations, activities, and weather reports at the bottom of the page.
Under its “When to Fly” tab, it also breaks down the cheapest places to travel each month of the year based on historical airfare data and will tell you how far in advance you need to book for different regions around the world. For example, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East all see the cheapest flights about six months out. So if those are on your summer travel wish list, start looking now.
North America, South America, and the Caribbean, however, have the best airfares a month out. So maybe hold off on booking your summer pilgrimage to Disneyworld for a minute.
Kayak’s guide will even craft a clever out-of-office message for your email based on stuff like how often you check your email and your favorite drink.
We’re not saying this is the be-all, end-all of travel advice, as all of the info in Kayak’s guide is predictive and, while generally accurate, is never a guarantee. But your odds of success with this are probably still a lot better than anyone your family tries to set you up with. And it’s definitely more fun to fantasize about.