Kayak, the travel search giant, took a look at more than a billion search inquires throughout 2012. Crunching the numbers, they came up with some interesting information. Based on what those who visit the popular website were looking for, Kayak has some tips aimed to save on travel. Considered a snapshot of information, the study is relatively harmless and can be a generally helpful budgetary tool.
Look through a billion sets of data on any given topic and certain similarities are bound to rise to the top. It is often what we do with the data that counts. In the case of search data, if millions of people were looking for information on “cruise fire,” for example, it does not necessarily mean that cruise ships are inherently dangerous.
But if accepting some notions about those who use Kayak, like that everyone visiting the site is looking for the cheapest flights, the results can verify (or not) preconceived notions we have, booking strategies and more.
Let’s break that Kayak study down a bit and see if there is some useful information that may be of benefit to travelers – some guidelines rather than rules.When to buy-
Kayak found the least expensive airfares to be within 21 to 35 days of departure. That adds some validity to the buying strategy held by many travelers to hold out and wait for a last minute deal.
If that strategy makes you nervous, you’re not alone – and for good reason. Waiting until the last minute can also leave us with a limited seat, flight or airline selection. Those are important considerations when, say, travel includes a family with children who want to sit together, someone with specific flight time requirements or a traveler wanting a certain airline.
Going on a trip and don’t really care when you get there, what airline you use or traveling alone? Waiting until the last minute can be a good idea.
Still, the factors that fuel the Kayak data can change, making today’s strategy obsolete tomorrow. Hooking up with a free service like Airfarewatchdog can bring real-time confidence in the data we collect and base our buying strategy on.
When to fly-
It was no big surprise to see the Kayak data indicate that September was a choice month for low airfare, with average rates coming in at the year’s lowest. Pretty much any travel professional could have verified that though, as September is traditionally a low-travel month. That works for airfare, hotel stays and even cruise travel as does the first weeks of November and December, otherwise busy travel months at other times.
Kayak data also revealed the most searched destinations, least busy times to fly and more. A snapshot of such factors, based on 2012 data, can surely help guide buying decisions but needs to be looked at as just that, a “snapshot” of information, not the word of a travel god.
See Kayak’s full Where To Go and How to Save guide for more.
Much of what we get in the way of travel tips depends on the source too and advice changes over time. The video below, from three years ago, encourages an entirely different strategy on buying airfare.
[Photo credit - Flickr user dcaceresd]