Best day to buy cheap flights? It's not what you think.

Cheap flights are easiest to find on Tuesdays, according to conventional wisdom. But according to a new report, the best time to buy cheap flights is actually later in the week, and you'll maximize savings by traveling on certain days. 

Lucas Jackson/Reuters/File
An airport worker leads JetBlue planes onto the tarmac of the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. According to a recent study, finding cheap flights is more dependent on which day you travel than on which day you buy airfare.

If you're a frequent flier — or just a savvy travel shopper — chances are you have all kinds of tricks up your sleeve to find cheap flights and  the best deals on airfare. But a report by Hopper surveying ticket prices may give new insight on your bargain hunting. Hopper looked at popular domestic and international ticket searches (routes that had at least 20 searches a day) since January 2013 to figure out the best days to book, the best days to travel, and how much you can save. With savings of up to 30%, we're definitely interested.

When to Buy

For travel shopping, Hopper's results defy the conventional wisdom that Tuesday is the best time to buy airfare. Hopper's data say that Thursdays are actually the best day to buy whether you're shopping for domestic or international travel. However, the savings you'll find by picking the right day to buy are the lowest, with an average of $10 in savings for domestic flights and $25 in savings for international flights.

The worst times to buy are the weekends, with Saturday having the highest prices for domestic travel and Sunday having the highest prices for international travel. So while you might plan your next vacation during the weekend, hold off on clicking "buy" until later in the week.

When to Travel

To maximize savings, though, you'll want to pick the right travel dates; and it's no surprise that bargain hunters should avoid traveling around the weekends. Hopper looked at its pricing data and calculated how many markets had their lowest prices on each day of the week to determine which days were the best buys. Though your shopping experience may be different (as pricing can vary greatly from market to market), Hopper's data showed Wednesday was the cheapest day to depart, with a savings of $40 for domestic travel or $60 for international travel. Surprisingly, however, the most expensive day wasn't Friday or Saturday, but Sunday.

It's similar for a return trip, but with even greater possible savings. If you're booking a domestic flight, you should look for a Wednesday return time, while if you're booking an international flight, you should look for a Tuesday return time. The worst day to head back home is Friday, with prices $45 higher for domestic flights and $60 higher for international flights. As an added perk, if you take Hopper's travel advice, you'll be flying on the least busy days of the week, which means fewer crowds and shorter lines.

Though it might not sound like much, if you add up these savings, you're scraping up to $95 off the cost of a domestic flight and up to $145 off the cost of an international flight — and that's not too shabby.

Have any travel savings tips we haven't mentioned here? Let us know in the comments!

Elizabeth Harper is a contributor for Dealnews.com, where this article first appeared: http://dealnews.com/features/The-Best-Days-To-Travel-And-Buy-Airfare-May-Surprise-You/1031085.html

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