When you book a vacation, flight tickets are typically the most expensive part of the trip. Contrary to popular opinion, waiting till the last minute will not give you a good deal on airfares. Here are some tips to help you save money on flights.
Airlines increase prices in the last few weeks before the departure date. Book flights 1-3 months prior to travel date for domestic flights. For international flights, book 5-10 months in advance. In addition to getting a good deal on prices, you may also be able to score better seats on the flight.
Be prepared to fly out of another airport that is close to you because your home airport may not offer the best deals. A couple of hours’ drive may save you hundreds of dollars.
Also, be prepared to travel mid-week, and return on a Saturday, not Sunday. Prices tend to be high on Mondays and Sundays. Flying on actual holidays such as Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas will give you good deals as fewer people fly on those days.
Have an open mind when planning vacations. If you can travel to places where deals are available, you will save a bundle on your vacation.
Book Single Tickets, Not Group Tickets
When searching for tickets, look at ticket prices for one person and not for the entire group. Airline price algorithms will give you the highest price for all the tickets, even if some of the tickets are available for a lower price. For example, let’s consider that you are booking tickets for a party of four. Two tickets are available for $100, the third ticket is available for $150, and the fourth for $200. If you book as a group, the pricing algorithm will show you four tickets available for $200, the highest price.
Book tickets separately, and then see if you have the option to choose seats together when you check out.
Sign Up For Alerts On City Specific Sites
Sign up with websites that offer city-specific flight deals such as escapehouston.com or escapeaustin.com. These websites monitor flight deals for those cities and send you alerts.
Consider Discount Airlines
Discount airlines such as Southwest, Frontier, and JetBlue offer great prices on domestic flights if you book early. If you are traveling to Europe, consider Norwegian airlines.
Use Award Miles and Travel Points
If you have a credit card that offers miles or points, use them when you travel. Some credit card companies such as Chase have their own travel portals where you can redeem the miles.
Credit cards also give you the ability to transfer miles to specific airlines, and then you can book the tickets directly on the airline’s website.
Use 24-Hour Cancellation Policy To Your Advantage
US regulation allows passengers to cancel the flight ticket free of charge within 24 hours of booking, if they booked directly with the airline at least seven days before travel for domestic travel. If you are booking with OTAs such as Expedia and Priceline, understand their cancellation policies.
If you see a fare you like, go ahead and book it. You will have 24 hours to think about it. If you think it won’t work out, go ahead and cancel it within 24 hours and get a full refund.