Save Money On Airfares By Following These 9 Tips
Flying is not cheap. In fact, it can cost as much as a brand new car (if you’re flying in first class). However, there are ways to save money on airfare and still travel in style. Here are some of my tips for saving money on airfare:
Do your research.
The first step to saving money on airfares is a simple one. Do your research. Check out all of the different airlines, airports, times of day and days of week that you can fly to your destination. You’d be surprised at how much you can save by just switching up one or two things—like where you go or what time of day it is.
Pay attention to the fine print.
One of the best ways to save money on airfare is by being aware of what you’re buying. If a flight seems too good to be true, ask questions. Don’t assume that because a flight cost $300 one way, it will cost roughly the same on the return trip.
Every time I book an international flight, I ask whether there are any other options than taking an overnight layover and paying an additional $200 or so each way for hotel rooms. It’s always worth asking if there might be another option that would result in fewer connections or less time spent in transit—even if you have to fly through a different city entirely!
Don’t fly on Thursdays, Fridays, or Sundays.
- Don’t fly on Thursdays, Fridays, or Sundays.
- These are the most expensive days to fly (and they often have the worst delays too).
- If you can avoid flying during this time period, you’ll save lots of money.
Be flexible with your dates.
The cheapest seats are often in the furthest corners of the plane. If you want to save money on airfares, don’t be too rigid about travel dates. You might be surprised at how much money you can save by not being that picky about when and where you fly.
For example, if your schedule allows for flying on a Tuesday instead of Monday or Wednesday, then be willing to do so in order to save money. Or perhaps you can take a longer layover somewhere else if it means getting home sooner or spending less overall on flights?
Consider a package deal.
- Package deals can save you money.
- Consider a package deal if it’s available for your trip.
- Packages can be a good way to save money on airfare, hotels, and car rentals.
Buy flights for big cities, not suburbs.
In a competitive market, big cities charge more for flights. The reason for this is that it costs more to fly into and out of busy airports. If you can get to a big city by car, there are many low cost options available in the suburbs—including cheaper hotels and food.
Suburbs also have less traffic than their urban counterparts and fewer delays, so traveling via ground transportation is usually quicker than flying into the city center
Use a low-cost carrier (LCC) like Spirit Airlines or Alaska Airlines.
If you’re looking for a cheap flight, it’s often better to go with a low-cost carrier (LCC). These airlines tend to offer lower fares than other airlines, but they also come with more restrictions. For example, no seat selection and no checked bags are common at LCCs. Still, if you don’t mind paying more money up front and have an understanding of what your trip will look like without those extras, LCCs can be a great option!
Note: If you’re changing your flight or have other issues with your original booking, LCCs are often more expensive than their competitors.
Book six months ahead of time.
- Book six months ahead of time.
- You’ll find the most savings on your flight if you book six months before your departure date, according to a study by Consumer Reports. Booking early also gives you more options and better flight times to choose from, as some airlines release their best fares earlier in the booking process than others do. Plus, booking early means you can take advantage of last-minute sales that pop up closer to departure dates at various airlines (and don’t forget about those travel credit cards!).
- Get all the perks! Some airlines offer better perks for those who book earlier, such as upgrades or complimentary bag check fees on domestic flights—but only when purchased within 24 hours of departure time! If money isn’t an issue for you but free stuff is something that matters more than anything else in this world (it totally should), then go ahead and snag those first-class seats at no cost by booking sooner rather than later.
Pack light and don’t pay to check a bag.
Pack light, people. Whether you’re traveling one-way or round-trip, avoid the baggage fee by packing only carry-on luggage. To make sure you aren’t overpacking and paying more than necessary, check the airline’s fee schedule before booking your flight. For instance:
- In addition to paying for a checked bag, United Airlines customers have to pay $25 if they’re going to be checked in at the airport (vs online).
- On JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines respectively, passengers are allowed 1 free checked bag that weighs between 50–100 pounds (23–45 kg). If you want to check more than one bag and exceed that weight limit—even by 1 pound—you’ll be charged $50 per additional bag.
I hope this post has given you some helpful tips on how to save money on air travel. Flying can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Just by being smart about the way you book your flights and preparing ahead of time, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.