Keys to Saving on Airfare When Traveling
If you have a trip planned, airfare can take up a large part of your budget. With airlines increasing their rates on flights, it’s even more important to look for ways to save when you’re traveling.
Video: Cheapest Days & Times to Fly
Shop Around for Cheap Flights
One of the first things you can do is shop around for your airline ticket, especially if you’re used to flying with one airline. Check out the prices of each air line to get the best rates. Also visit online travel agencies like Expedia, Bestfares.com, Travelocity, and Orbitz who often have cheaper rates for flights than the airlines. The more you shop around for a flight price, the better your chances at getting a good rate.
Be Flexible On Trip Dates
When you’re looking online, many websites now let you search within one or two days before and after your desired departure and return dates. You may be able to get a cheaper flight that arrives one day sooner and returns one day later than you originally planned. Look at flights that depart and return on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Saturdays since these are the least traveled dates. If you find a lower airfare by adjusting your departure dates, make sure the discount won’t be negated by the cost of staying in a hotel an extra night or two.
Fly Into a Nearby Airport
You can also save money by flying into a nearby airport. Many airlines and online travel agencies now allow you to search for flights at airports within a certain range of your destination. For example, if you were planning to visit Cincinnati you could fly into the Dayton, OH airport which is only 60 miles away.
Book Your Flight Early
Make your flight reservations early, especially for major events, like the Super Bowl, or the holidays. The closer you get to the event or holiday, the higher your airplane ticket will be.
Make Online Reservations
Buy your ticket online. Many airlines and travel agents charge you a booking fee of $25-$35 for booking your flight over the phone. Not only that, many flight specials are only available if you purchase them online. Be careful and only purchase flights from trusted website to avoid a scam.
Video: Making Online Reservations
Fly First Class
If you look hard enough, you may be able to find a first class or business fare that’s cheaper than coach. As the flight’s departure date nears, airlines sometimes mark down un-purchased first and business class seats to attract buyers. From the airline’s perspective, selling a cheaper first class seat is better than letting the seat go empty or “giving” it away to someone using frequent flier miles. When you search for flights, include first class seats in your search and compare the two. If you’re flying on business and your company’s policy disallows first class bookings, ask your manager or travel department if an exception can be made when the first class fare is cheaper.
Book at the Last Minute
Though it’s often wiser to book your flight in advance to get the lower rate, sometimes those last minute flights give you the best deal. As departure dates approach and seats are still available on a flight, the airline marks down rates dramatically to sell more tickets. You often get a good deal on certain flights if you book them on the Tuesday – Friday before they depart.
You can get a good rate on airfare by looking around and being flexible about your flight location and dates.
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