When are the cheapest flights: Skyscanner's guide

When are the cheapest flights: Skyscanner's guide
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally published on the global travel search engine Skyscanner.

Rejoice, because vacations just got cheaper! Skyscanner has crunched 3 years worth of data to reveal the cheapest times to book a flight to your favourite holiday destinations. Did you know that September is the cheapest month to travel, and December the most expensive?

1. Hong Kong: book 20 weeks ahead, 12.3 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: January

Hong Kong, a towering city perched opposite the sprawling Pearl River Delta, is an all-you-can-eat special showcasing the very old to the intensely post-modern. Street food or fantastic restaurants, fashion, bargains, or high-end luxury: no matter what your taste, you'll find something to sate yourself on. Events you can't miss:

October 31: Halloween

This year, Skyscanner recommends heading over for Halloween, when the Hong Kong weather is cool. The city's unique history combines the best of the west with thousands of years of ghostly Chinese history, making it the perfect platform for a frighteningly fun Halloween spook fest. Theme parks like Ocean Park and popular nightlife spot Lan Kwai Fong dive headfirst into the festivity. Celebrations are city wide, and locals as well as expats join in the fun. To experience Halloween in Hong Kong, be sure to book your tickets in Mid-June.

December: Christmas

But, if you prefer jolly Santas to phantoms, Christmas is another western holiday done with gusto in Hong Kong. Disneyland pulls out all the stops for this one, but the festive atmosphere can be felt throughout the islands. As a bonus, Christmas shopping is nicely priced and you won't break the bank finding the perfect present for all the good little boys and girls in your life. Make sure to book in early August for your Christmas holidays in Hong Kong!

2. Indonesia: book 18 weeks ahead, 10.4 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: January

Indonesia is full of destinations we adore: from the close at hand, like Batam and Bintan, to the slightly further afield, like Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta on mighty Java. Of all the gleaming jewel-like islands spread throughout the Indonesian archipelago, Bali has long shone the brightest. Picture it: the Bali beach spread pristinely beneath your feet as the waves lap at your ankles, smells of freshly roast prawns waft by and a cold beer chills your hand, and whatever troubles you brought with you to the island were left behind at the airport when you disembarked. Events you can't miss:

September 29: Ultra Beach Bali

September is an excellent time for a glimpse of Bali's wild side. Ultra Beach Bali kicks off on the 29th, and party people from all over the world will be converging at Seminyak to dance the night away to some of the best new electronic dance music. Book your tickets before end May to party in Bali.

October (TBC): Kuta Carnival

If you feel like extending your stay, October is when Kuta will be throwing its annual Kuta Carnival. This showcase of the breadth and depth of the island is a great chance to experience local art and culture. It's far from a museum display however; audience participation in dancing, crafting and physical activities are fully encouraged. Don't forget to book in June to enjoy the Kuta Carnival.

3. Thailand: book 14 weeks ahead, 9.2 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: September

There's just something magical about Thailand that keeps travellers coming back for more, all year round. There is a stunning variety of scenery here, from deep jungles teeming with tropical life and bustling cities humming with vibrancy and creativity, to temples capped in gold and hill towns like Chiang Mai, with its cool and clear mountain air. People come here to dive into Bangkok's frenetic party scene or to step out of the rat race onto islands like Krabi and Koh Samui to take a minute to breathe. From Chiang Rai to Phuket, there's a vacation for everyone. Events you can't miss:

June 24-26: Phi Ta Khon

June is a great time to head up here to witness Phi Ta Khon, known as the Ghost Festival. These dates are selected by a special group of locals who consult with the underworld to determine the most auspicious time to hold the festival. In 2016, that time is June 24th through to the 26th. This fascinating festival is part of an important Buddhist holiday, and offers a glimpse of local life. Book your flights in mid-March for Thailand.

November 15: Loi Krathong

During the full moon of the 12th lunar month on 15th November this year, Loi Krathong kicks off, and it is a sight to behold. This is the famous lantern festival, when the waters and skies of the entire country fill with spectral lights. These lanterns are lovingly prepared by locals and lit to honour the spirits of the water which provide us with the stuff of life. For Loi Krathong, book at the beginning of August.

4. Philippines: book 4 weeks ahead, 5.4 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: September

The Philippines are a beautiful choice for any tourist looking for a great time even that isn't too far away. Boracay's beaches rule the day and the night, Cebu is an island of delights, and Manila is a city full of shopping and shenanigans. Throw a dart at a map of the country and it's bound to strike someplace bounteous. And with its gorgeous tropical climate, there is never a bad time to go. Events you can't miss:

May 1: Laboracay

May 1st sees the beaches of Boracay transformed into a massive 24-hour party called Laboracay, featuring music, events and action on the beach. Adrenaline junkies will find just as much to love about this event as the party people, as a sports carnival will be on offer, with activities like parasailing and beach volleyball tournaments. Get your tickets in early April for the best deals to the Philippines.

December 19: Lantern Festival

For something calmer and more picturesque, tourists can visit on the 19th of December, for San Fernando City's Lantern Festival. The Philippines' "Christmas Capital," just north-west of Manila, San Fernando transforms itself to a blazing tree of light, casting a glorious glow across the city. Start booking around November 20th to enjoy the best prices for this festival.

5. South Korea: book 19 weeks ahead, 9.3 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: May

Korea is an economic powerhouse these days, and they certainly excel at showcasing their culture to the world. Seoul rules the school of course as a high-tech enclave of music and pop culture. But beyond the k-pop glitz and glamour, you'll find centuries of history and culture lovingly preserved by the proud people of the Land of the Morning Calm. For a complete K-vacation, start with Seoul, then head south to Korea's second city, Busan, and finally jump on a ferry over to Jeju Island aka the Hawaii of Korea. You'll see the astounding range of things on offer, from food and drink to entertainment and spas, and return feeling rejuvenated. Events you can't miss:

July (TBC): Boryeong Mud Festival

Happening in mid-July is the Boryeong Mud Festival, a summertime extravaganza happening in a coastal town south-west of Seoul, where millions of visitors come to frolic in vast mud pits. While this may or may not sound like your cup of tea, the mud itself is famed for its rejuvenating effects and is regularly used in Korean cosmetics, a topic which the locals know a thing or two about. Check out tickets in early March for this festival.

May 6-8: Lotus Lantern Festival

For a taste of old Korea, you won't want to miss the summertime Lotus Lantern Festival from 6 May to 8 May 2016, a celebration with over a thousand years of history, held in Seoul. This traditional festival will move you with its simple, elegant beauty. Thankfully, it's also during the month when it's cheapest to travel to Korea!

6. Malaysia: book 1 week ahead, 7.5 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: November

When it comes to choosing a holiday destination, sometimes sticking close to home is the better option. Consider Malaysia. Her beaches in Langkawi rival any to be found in Thailand or Indonesia, and Kota Kinabalu makes for a great jumping off point for some of the finest mountain treks in South East Asia. If food and city life are your things, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Penang are three of the most charming cities around. Events you can't miss:

August 5-7: Rainforest Music Festival

Something exciting is brewing in the jungles of Borneo this August. August 5th through 7th is the 19th annual Rainforest Music festival, which in recent years has been lauded as being one of the top international music festivals in the world. A showcase of indigenous music replete with performances and workshops, this festival is an amazing chance to hear some of the best music in the world in enchanting surroundings. Book your tickets at the end of July to go to the Rainforest Music Festival.

September 30-October 2: Malaysian Grand Prix

If music isn't your main mania, you might want to head north at the end of September for a shot of adrenaline to the roar of the most powerful car engines in the world. For that is the season of Formula 1, the Malaysian Grand Prix, to be held from 30 September to 2 October 2016. Don't forget to buy tickets in the third week of September for some excitement in Malaysia.

7. United Kingdom: book 19 weeks ahead, 11.0 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: March

From Big Ben in London to the hometown of the Beatles and the English Premier League, to castles in Ireland and medieval old towns in Edinburgh of Scotland, you're most likely to fulfil some of your childhood dreams in the UK. This enchanted kingdom (queendom, actually) is a wonderland for tourists, with an astounding range and breadth of sights and sensory experiences for you. Once you've flown into London through Heathrow, it doesn't really matter what direction you set off in, for you are sure to encounter something wonderful. Events you can't miss:

June 22-26: Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival is a five-day festival of contemporary performing arts. It plays host to dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and some of the hottest bands. If you're one of the lucky ones who scored a ticket for this year's festival from 22 June to 26 June 2016, remember to only pack what you need and to bring things that you can take home. Get your tickets in the second week of February to score some good deals to the UK.

August 5-29: The Fringe

Also, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (The Fringe) is the world's largest arts festival, spanning 25 days of comedy, arts music and more from 5 to 29 August 2016. Established in 1947, this annual event is a showcase for the best of the performing arts in Britain. This festival has launched some notable careers, and is your chance to catch the next rising star. You should book at the end of March for flights to the UK.

8. Australia: book 17 weeks ahead, 15.4 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: May

Australia needs no introduction; will 2016 be the year you finally make it down under? There is plenty to see and do while there; climb the Harbour Bridge and take in the sights at the Opera House when you're in Sydney. Learn to surf In Bondi Beach, and hit up some hot parties in Darlinghurst. Soak up Melbourne's vibrant arts and music scenes, and then unwind after a night of pints with some perfectly poured flat whites at a local cafe. Perth and neighbouring Fremantle are great cities in their own right, and have the advantage of being surrounded by some amazing and beautiful parks and wilderness areas. The vineyards of nearby Margaret River are a wine lover's dream come true. Events you can't miss:

July 24-26: Splendour in the Grass

We're sure you've heard of Laneway, but Australia is also home to several other exciting events as well. Splendour in the Grass, held from 24 to 26 July 2016, is a music festival that has been held annually since 2001. Beloved by music fans and musicians alike, it has plenty of attractions beyond just the stages, like a comedy club, excellent food and drinks, a craft area and hair stylists. Buy your tickets in the end of March for some fun times in Australia.

November 18-20: Margaret River Gourmet Escape

Happening from 18 to 20 November, the Margaret River Gourmet Escape is a celebration of the amazing food and drinks to be found in this beautiful coastal region south of Perth. This big foodie event already attracts dozens of the biggest names in the culinary world each year. While you're at it and following some celebrity chefs, make sure you don't skip out on the areas' vineyards, microbreweries, and local food producers to enhance your Margaret River experience. Start planning and buying in the mid-July for your trip to Margaret River.

9. Taiwan: book 20 weeks ahead, 12.2 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: July

Taiwan is a destination on many travellers' bucket lists. On this island, you will find a culturally eclectic mix of Chinese, Western, Japanese, and indigenous influences. There are several impressive nature parks, a wide selection of hot spring resorts and many smaller nearby islands for you to explore. Taipei is surrounded by mountains and in it you will find a mixture of quaint 20th-century architecture mixed with sleek, ultra-modern 21st century constructions. A port town in the south, we adore Kaohsiung's Love River, with its walking paths and cafes along its banks, and cruise boats floating in its waters. Taichung is an industrial city on the island's west side, which is blessed by dry sunny weather and beautiful beaches. Coming here will enable you to explore gorgeous areas like Sun Moon Lake, and check out remnants of the Japanese Colonial period. Events you can't miss:

July 8-10: Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival

Ho Hai Yan Gongliao Rock Festival in July is one of Taipei City's most famous major summer events near the sea, mixing the creative spirit of indie music seamlessly with seaside vibes. If you are into indie music and love music festivals, don't miss out on this one! Reserve your tickets in the middle of February for some rock and roll!

June-August: Taiwan Balloon Festival

Another quirky summertime event is the Taiwan Balloon Festival (June to August), where you'll be able to catch a glimpse of big and colourful hot air balloons floating through the blue sky. You'll be able to experience tethered flights, cultural events, balloon rides a glow-in-the-dark music concert, and much more. You can start snatching those tickets in January.

10. Vietnam: book 19 weeks ahead, 12.3 per cent savings

Cheapest month to travel: October

Vietnam is always a hit with everyone. It has everything you would want in a vacation be it with family or friends; chaos, colour, nature and adventure. Let us not forget Vietnamese food, history and people. Whether you decide to go Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, one thing you'll be impressed by will be Vietnam's alluring landscape. It is hemmed by rugged mountains in its west and the sea in its east. Its north and south are their green paddy fields, buffaloes and farmers in straw hats that you have long seen in postcards. And who could forget the emerald waters of Halong Bay or white sandy beaches of Phu Quoc? Events you can't miss:

October 14: Hoi An Full Moon Festival

One big event is the Hoi An Full Moon Festival (14th October). This full moon festival features colourful lanterns lit by candles, lining the streets in the area between Japanese Covered Bridge and Cau An Hoi Bridge. Have a first class experience by riding in the boats manned by local people, who will be able to navigate through the lanterns for you. Buy your flight tickets from end-May to Vietnam.

September 15: Mid-Autumn Festival

Another memorable event, held slightly earlier in the year, is the Mid-Autumn Festival (15th September). This historic event, also known as Tet Trung Thu, was originally celebrated to give parents time to catch up with their children after the summer harvest was completed. When Tet Trung Thu draws near, you will start to see lion dances and stands selling mooncakes, locally known as banh trung thu, all over Vietnam's streets. Early May would be a good time to buy tickets for your Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.

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