Flights expenses are usually a big chunk of your vacation budget. Finding ways to save money on flights can be time-consuming and confusing. The guide below will save you time and money when you are searching for flights.
How to save money on flight tickets
1. Know what’s included in the flight ticket
Every airline has a different policy when it comes to carry-ons and personal items. Before you book the tickets, find out what you are allowed to bring in a flight. Can you bring a carry-on, or just a personal item? Find out the cost of checking in a piece of luggage.
2. Be flexible on dates
A little flexibility on dates will save you a lot of money. Small changes such as flying mid-week and avoiding Sunday travel can unlock savings. Find a way to take vacations when popular destinations are not busy with tourists. Go to places that are not popular tourist destinations.
3. Use 24-hour cancellation policy
If you book your flights at least one week before the the departure date, you can cancel the flight in 24 hours without any repercussions. That’s the law. If you see a price that you like, go ahead and book it. If you change your mind or if the price drops, you can cancel the reservation in 24 hours.
4. Comparison sites
If you use popular websites like Travelocity, Expedia, or Orbitz to compare prices, you will notice that the results are often similar. Expand your search to include websites like Google Flights, Momondo, Kayak, Air Fare Watchdog, and Skyscanner. Since not all airlines are included in these searches, (especially Southwest) remember to visit the airlines’ website directly.
5. Buy early but not too early
For international flights, the best prices are 3-6 months before departure date. But if you are traveling during holidays or peak travel time, you need to book even earlier. Start looking early, and when the deals come around be ready to book.
6. Basic economy is fine, read the fine print
Basic economy tickets are cheap. But they come with a lot of restrictions and smaller legroom. You cannot change your basic economy tickets after you buy them. Carry-ons are usually not allowed. In most cases, you will be limited to just a personal item. You will be the last group to board.
7. Use the right credit card
If you frequently use a particular airline, it may be worthwhile to get that airline’s credit card. You will get free check-in luggage, lounge passes, and other benefits. Even if you are not using an airline-specific card, use the right credit card to maximize points, get trip insurance and rental car insurance benefits.
8. Use nearby airports
Don’t just look for tickets from your departure city. If you are willing to fly from a nearby city, it will save you a lot of money. In many cases, you may even be able to book a hotel for a night in another city with the money you save.
9. Book tickets separately
Airlines have many pricing tiers. If you are booking tickets for a group, and the lower-tier tickets run out, you will get the higher-tier price for the entire group. To prevent this, look for prices buying all the tickets at once and for one ticket, and see if it’s worth booking separately.
10.Don’t always book round trips
While booking round trips tickets are convenient, you may be able to save money by booking two one-way tickets. Always check one-way prices and compare prices with round trip tickets before booking your tickets.
11. Use red eyes and stops
Not everyone likes red-eye flights and stops along the way. But if you are flexible with those, you can save hundreds of dollars.