One of the biggest deterrents to a cross country vacation is the cost of the travel to and from the final destination, but we have decided to share 10 Ways to Save on Airfare. After years of flying and multiple vacations we have found a proven method to getting the lowest possible prices on flights. This won’t give you a free flight or a flight that costs only pennies but it can help you find drastically lower prices for your flights.
10 Ways to Save on Airfare
1. Travel Mid-Week. Although most vacations seem to be planned where you leave at end of workday on Friday, it is always cheaper to book flights on Tuesday and Wednesday than any other day of the week. With enough notice most employers will have no problem with you taking vacation time in increments over the course of two weeks rather than one solid week. Leaving mid-week can sometimes save up to $200 per flight.
2. Book as early as possible. Most airlines have flights scheduled at least 5-6 months in advance. Some farther out than that. The cheapest flights and lower priced seats go first so booking early will secure the best deals for you.
3. Compare Deal Sites and Direct Airline Prices. Check all of the popular deal sites such as, Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, Kayak and Travelocity, etc. for their rates then check the specific airlines themselves. Often you can find a web only price on the direct site that will be lower priced than the deal sites. If not, don’t be afraid to contact the lowest priced airline listed on the deal site and ask if they can give you a better price. Many times they will waive early check in fees or even give you credit toward checking baggage. With a family of 4 those $10-$20 added items can add up quickly.
4. Sign Up For Rewards Programs. Most airlines offer a reward program that entitles you to points toward future flight purchases. Some even offer points when you open their company credit card and spend a set amount of money within a select time frame. Opening a credit line may raise flags but if approached responsibly and used only for regular bills, purchases and paid off monthly this can be a great way to earn “flier miles”. If you don’t see a reward program on the airline website call and find out if they accept other discounts like AARP, AAA, Diner’s Club and more.
5. Shop Vacation Packages. Depending on your destination, some online vacation package sales will actually give you the overall best price for travel over piecing out your travel by purchasing hotel, rental car and flight separately. My favorite places to find flights included with the hotel package are Deal Chicken and LivingSocial. I have researched and found that both frequently offer destination packages at easily 40%-50% off what you would pay by paying separately.
6. Don’t Check Baggage. This is a simple way to avoid $20-$50 per flight. Many airlines now offer 1-2 bags checked for free but the hassle of baggage claim is not worth it to me typically. Learn how to pack lightly and remember that most destinations will have laundry facilities as well as discount stores should you need to pick up something last minute.
7. Drive to a different airport for departure. If you are 2-3 hours from a larger airport, it may be financially better for you to drive to the larger airport to depart. I have found living within 4 hours of DFW in Dallas has saved us hundreds of dollars on airfare. We spend $45 on gas to drive there and back, parking is cheaper than at our local airport and we can save on average $115 per round trip flight. The $300-$500 cost difference is definitely worth the drive.
8. Complete the survey. You know those annoying after purchase surveys in your email? They can often earn you points toward future purchases or on occasion enter you for a chance to win free flights. I’ve earned 500 rewards points per survey in the past with select airlines.
9. Buy Reward Points when they go on sale. Many airlines that offer points rewards also run 2-3 sales per year where you can purchase rewards points at discounts that would save you upwards of $100 per flight in the cost difference. Buying ahead and saving for future flights can be a great way to save big chunks of money.
10. Always check First Class prices on last minute flights. If you are booking a flight at the last minute (typically within 1-2 weeks of departure) always check prices on First Class tickets. Remember economy sells quicker but if a flight has a large number of First Class tickets available close to departure time they will often sell them at a discounted rate comparable with the economy fare. Check online, then call customer service and ask.
No matter what methods you choose, always spend the time to check multiple ways of saving on airfare. It is no longer something only the wealthy use for transportation. In recent years with the increase of gasoline prices, airfare has become more and more reasonable for long distance travel.
More Tips for Traveling on a Budget:
- How to Plan a Staycation
- How to Save Money on Souvenirs
- How to Find Deals on Hotel Rooms
- Tips for Saving Money on Your Vacation
- Tips for Saving Money on Museum Entrance Fees