Airfare costs can be one of the biggest portions of a vacation budget. Depending upon where you are flying to, you may find yourself paying more for airfare than hotel, car rental and food combined. If you are creative and plan ahead, it is possible to save money on airfare. In fact, by flying at a different time, having a layover or purchasing your tickets on a certain day, you can find yourself saving quite a bit on air travel. Here are some tips to help you find the best deals possible on airfare.
If you are flexible about the day you fly out, the seats you sit in and the times you fly, you will be able to get the best deals. There are even some third party companies that work to help airlines fill single empty seats on the plane. If you are flexible in everything about your flight, you will be able to take advantage of these deals. Plus, by simply moving your flight date a day earlier or later, or by moving the time you fly by a few hours, you can save a considerable amount of money.
In addition to being flexible with your flight times and seats, you can also save a lot of money by being flexible with the airports you fly in and out of. If there is a larger airport within an hour or so drive from where you are going to be visiting or flying out of, check prices for that airport too. Prices to larger, international airports tend to be less expensive than flying into smaller airports. The money you save could be far greater than the money you spend paying for extra gas in to drive the longer distance to your destination.
When looking for the best deals on airfare, the first place to start is online. However, not all travel websites are a great resource when it comes to saving you money. Knowing the right websites to look up prices and make travel plans is key to saving the most amount of money possible.
Google Flights lets you search for tickets based on multiple departure and arrival dates. This way, you can compare multiple flights to see which travel dates will give you the best deal. There is even a calendar that can be pulled up showing the lowest rates around a certain travel date. This website not only checks the prices on multiple days for you, it also checks with multiple airlines to help ensure you are getting the best priced flight available.
Another great site to check out before booking your trip is Airfare Watchdog. This site checks all airline websites for the best deals and puts them in one easy search result for you. This makes it possible to see a deal you might have missed bouncing around from one website to another.
If you want to save money and do not mind the time it takes you to get to your destination, consider selecting flights that have at least one stop along the way. Non-stop flights tend to be more expensive than those with layovers and stops along the way. In most cases, the more stops, the less you will pay for your flight.
Day Of Purchase
When it comes to saving money, the day you purchase your tickets is just as important as when you are traveling. The only issue is that no one can seem to agree on which day is the best day to purchase airfare. But they all say there is a day. The best way to find the perfect day to purchase your flights is to visit Kayak’s website. There, you will be able to see a price trend box that shows whether you should buy now or wait.
Do not shy away from discount airlines. They can offer you some of the best deals for your flights. Companies such as JetBlue, Allegiant and Spirit offer affordable fares that are far less than the competition. Just make sure to check the baggage restrictions, because some of the discount airlines charge for carry-on luggage, which could make the flight more expensive than the competition if you plan on bringing multiple bags with you.
Frequent Flier Miles
Take advantage of reward programs throughout the year, then cash in your frequent flier miles for your getaway. By making special purchases using airline credit cards you will qualify for points that can be redeemed for flights or discounts on flights. Just make sure you are aware of the restrictions when redeeming your rewards and frequent flier miles. Some airlines have made it difficult to redeem for the flights you want, but if you are able to use them, you will be able to save a lot of money on your upcoming flight.
Heather Landon (Heather Leigh Carroll) is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.