Travel Savings, With the Help of Data Visualization

Data doesn’t take a vacation but, with its help, you can. Travel prices fluctuate depending on destination, day of week and time of year. Summer can be especially hectic as it’s a busy travel season and prices follow that demand. Fortunately, if you have flexible travel dates, you can use travel data to save money across the board — and the world. Sarah Schlichter, editor of, suggests avoiding some travel times, such as July 4, entirely. Prices are high and crowds are heavy. But, fortunately for those who must fly on the always-popular summer travel holiday, this year it falls on a Wednesday, meaning that prices are less severe than when it’s on a Friday, Monday, or the weekend. Data shows that even for those who do travel for the Fourth of July holiday, there are better days to do so to maneuver cheaper prices. Using five years’ worth of travel data, Travelocity determined that it’s cheapest to depart before the holiday and return mid-week, with costs varying more than $200 over the week. (Chart by Drew Skau using this data) For those who can’t fly mid-week, try paying attention to which weekend you fly. Travelers will find much better deals at the end of August, according to Travelocity. (Chart by Drew Skau using this data) According to Schlichter, whose website offers additional tips for finding cheap airfare, “the fares are lower for later in the summer, the last couple of weeks of August, because people are starting to go back to school.” She suggests, if at all possible, putting off travel until right after Labor Day. “It’s still summery weather, but there are much lower fares and smaller crowds,” she says. After all, if the dates don’t make a difference, the dollars do. Rani Molla has a digital media master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School. She’s a journalism reader, writer, photographer, videographer, data visualizer and general doer. Follow her on Twitter.

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