There’s so much to budget for on vacations, and blowing it all on airfare is definitely not ideal. Even as foreign currencies come down, airfare has only continued to rise, and it can make or break of whether a trip is doable or just out of reach. Luckily, the Internet makes it a little easier to hunt down the most reasonably priced flight to suit your needs and get you to your destination. Gone are the days of dealing with a travel agent. Now websites like CheapAir step in to fill that role. But what can you as the buyer do to increase your odds of scoring a cheap flight?
We assembled a list of the Top 5 hacks to help you on your way to cheap airfare. From signing up to alerts to help you monitor flights and fares to being flexible with your travel dates and knowing when to buy, you can feel assured that you’re netting the cheapest flight. The only question now is where to travel next!
5.) Use Cancellation Windows to Your Advantage
Did you know you can cancel or amend almost any US flight within 24 hours of purchase for free? This US Department of Transportation rule applies to most flights on all major airline carriers, as long as you purchase at least seven days in advance. If you’re getting antsy that a price might rise, you can purchase a ticket, lock it in at that rate and then you have 24 hours after purchase to decide whether to travel on it. During that time, you can alter the dates/times or cancel outright and book anew if you find a better deal.
If you wanna lock in a price before you’re completely sure you can make your trip on said date, buy the ticket and use your 24-hour window for free cancellation as a pressure cooker of sorts to help you sort out your own timeline. This applies to US airlines and some airlines are not eligible, so make sure you do your research on exactly how they will reimburse you and the process for submitting the cancellation before you buy.
4.) Buy in Advance
While it’s true you can sometimes find good enough deals if you’re a last-minute type person, the cheapest airfares are often those booked well in advance.
Now, we’re not talking a full year. Prices tend to fluctuate if you give yourself a full 365 days, so use that time to browse and compare, but keep in mind that when it comes to an actual purchase, often times two to three months in advance is the sweet spot.
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2.) Be Flexible to Travel on Certain Days
Browse the whole calendar when it comes to the week you want to travel. Often flights connected to a weekend, departing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays will be the most expensive. Common sense would say that’s because most people’s days off are the weekends, so demand is increased. And of course we all know about supply and demand.
With that in mind, if you’re looking to make a weekend getaway, something as simple as leaving Thursday night can bring down your airfare costs significantly. Sure, you might have to depart directly after work, but that rush can be remedied by simply packing the night before and bringing your suitcase along with you to your place of employment. Flexibility with what days you can travel can help you beat costly weekend bumps.
1.) Set Up Alerts
Several sites have algorithms that cruise flight data and ever-changing airfare prices. Use this tool to your advantage by setting up alerts to track your flight and fare. You can get alerts beamed straight into your inbox that keeps you briefed on any airfare fluctuations.
Often there will be a pop-up box after you list your destination and date details, but you can also search the site for an alert prompt. Then sit back while work is being done in the background and act when you receive an email with a price drop too good to pass up. If you’ve booked with CheapAir and there’s a price drop after the fact, they’ll even credit you back the difference up to $100!
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