Booking airfare can be an expensive part of your vacation. While we all love a great getaway, most of us love saving money even more. So why not do both? Even if booking a flight is a necessary part of your travel plans, you can follow the five tips below to get ridiculously cheap flights and enjoy the vacation you deserve.
1.) Stay Ahead of the Game
If you know your travel plans early, booking ahead of time can save you some money during peak seasons such as holidays, spring break, and summer vacation. To get the best rates you will want to start looking about three to six months in advance. As it gets closer to your travel dates, the cost of airfare will significantly increase and usually peak at the highest rates two to three weeks before the departure.
If your vacation has you traveling internationally, you will want to book your flight at least six months in advance to ensure you find one of the lowest rates. Monitor the price of flights after you purchase your ticket for lower rates. Any price drops are worth asking the airline for a refund for the price difference. It is not widely advertised and not all airlines offer it, but some will honor the new rate.
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2.) Go For Last Minute Deals
On the flip side of the coin, you can also save a lot of money by booking your flight arrangements at the last minute. Those who don’t have set travel plans or accommodation arrangements can save a significant amount of money by keeping an eye out for last minute deals to their desired destinations. No airline likes to fly a plane half full, so they will often heavily discount leftover seats a few days before the scheduled departure to make sure they are functioning at full capacity. For those who need a break but are not sure where they want to go, pack your suitcase for a variety of destinations and pick a location that is offering discounted flight rates for those days.
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3.) Be a Little Flexible
Another easy way to save money on flights is having flexibility dates, times, days of the week, and airport options. Sometimes traveling on less popular days or times can save you a lot on your price per ticket. When searching for a flight, there is often a place to mark that your dates are flexible and they will show you flights that are close to your date for a discounted rate. You can do a little research in advance and contact airlines to find out which days are busier travel days for them at different times of the year.
If your plans are just to get away find destinations that have specific off-seasons, such as the Virgin Islands. You will not only find cheaper flight rates, but also discounted accommodations. Additionally, traveling a little farther to larger airports can also provide you with a significant amount of savings.
4.) Consider Booking Each Leg Separate
When searching for flights on your computer, instead of trying to book a roundtrip flight see what it costs to book one way to your destination and then a separate booking for the return flight. Sometimes local airlines that fly from certain destinations can amount to a significant savings but may not be available on your destination flight or vice versa. This can not only be a great way to save money but can also be a way to have more control over your flight time. It also allows you to create your own multiple day layovers in other destination cities you wish to see, giving you two locations for the price of one trip.
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5.) Check Out Discount Airfare Websites
Many of these discounted airfare sites can help you find the best route to take to save on airfare. Some of the sites offer bidding tools, and some allow you to receive notifications on your cell phone when prices on the tickets you are looking for drop.
There are even tools on discount airfare sites that allow you to select a destination and search by the cheapest month to fly to the area. While many of these prices could be found through traditional ticket purchase sites, it often requires a lot of legwork and these sites can do that same work almost instantly. So instead of wasting your time comparing flights and finding the cheapest routes and airlines, you can price shop on a couple of these sites to save a lot of time and money.
Whether you plan ahead or take advantage of the last minute deals that many airlines offer to fill their flights, you can save a significant amount of money on airfare by shopping around and having some flexibility with your travel times. Bon voyage!