Airfare can easily be the largest expense of your trip. Expensive plane tickets mean you need to choose a more affordable destination or spend less money at your vacation stop to stay within your spending limit. If the idea of booking cheap flights sounds appealing to you, these tips will help you book cheap flight ticket at a price that fits your budget. And if you’re a solo traveler, this tip is much more important.
In fact, there’s no real shortcut to finding cheap flights. It takes you a long time to shop around to get the best deal by trying different booking sites, altering your dates and waiting until just the right time to purchase. But if you’re willing to spend in a little time and effort, you could save a lot on your next flight.
Buy the tickets early
Especially during peak travel periods, making reservations late in the game can cost you a lot of money. Ticket prices typically increase in the last two weeks before flying, so if you’re planning ahead, try to make the call before this deadline.
Booking as soon as possible is one of the easiest ways to ensure you will get the lowest price. And if you’re going to travel internationally, you ’ll want to book even earlier for the best deals, from three to six months in advance. You should be able to secure the best rates if you book within three months to 30 days from departure.
Another reason for booking early is to ensure you get the seat you want, especially for peak season flights. You may pay the same price for a seat that’s next to the bathroom and one at the front of the cabin. If you wait too long to book a desirable seat, you will need to pay the extra money to for a “premium” seat.
Buy the tickets late
Sometimes you can buy tickets at the very last minute for a great price if the airlines have failed to fill their planes. If you can suffer the suspense and you are flexible with your itinerary and dates, you can find big money-savers to very attractive travel destinations.
No matter how good it sounds, you should never book the first fare you see. Start your search by checking a few of the major online travel providers which will give you a preliminary idea of which airlines fly your particular itinerary, what the going rate is and which restrictions might apply.
Stick to this information, you can head directly to the airline website to see if the same flights are any. When you’re there, verify if the airline is running any sales or promotions to your destination. If you don’t see anything in your preferred price range, don’t be afraid to bide your time and watch the fares for a bit.
Set price alerts for a cheap ticket
By looking for flights early, you are not required to buy a flight today because prices will only go up if you wait until the last minute to buy. Most major booking sites have alert features that will email you the status of your fare. If you’re not ready to buy a ticket today, you can set a price alert that will notify you when a ticket price goes up or goes down.
Ticket prices can rise and fall on a daily basis, even a small drop can result in large savings if you have to buy a ticket for each member of your family.
Be flexible in your travel plan
Another way to save money for travel is by having flexible travel plans. Two of the easiest ways to find cheap flights is to fly mid-week or on the actual holiday (Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day) since fewer people travel on these days. The alternate airport or travel dates might not be an option, however, flexibility is one of the easiest ways to lower your airfare costs.
Many online fare searching engines will ask you if you are willing to depart from or arrive in more than one city. Yes! In addition, try KAYAK with flexible searching function by travel dates; shifting your itinerary by a month, a week or even a few days can make a significant difference in airfares.
Every destination has a peak season and if you can fly any other time of year, you’ll often pay significantly less.
Don’t forget the discounters
Discount airlines can save you a sum of money, but they ’re not always easy to find. Luckily for consumers, discounters are cropping up more frequently on aggregators and booking sites. If you’re traveling outside the U.S., don’t forget to check the international discount airlines as well.
Use your frequent flier miles
Why pay a fare at all when you can use your frequent flier miles? Although redeeming miles has become more difficult in recent years, it’s still a good choice to consider, particularly if you’re booking early. Airlines designate a limited number of seats on each flight as eligible for award travel, and these seats go quickly. Some credit cards can help you build up miles more quickly.
Get a refund when fares go down
If fares go down after you’ve purchased your ticket, don’s hesitate to ask for a refund! You may not always get one, but many airlines do not publicize the fact of their policies that they will refund you the difference if prices go down. It can’t hurt to ask.
Consider an air pass
Many national airlines offer air passes at reduced rates for tourists so as to promote tourism in their countries. If you have an intention of doing extensive travel in one country or region, an air pass might be your most cost-effective option.
Use award miles
If you would like to spend miles rather than cash, or maybe a combination of the two, miles can be most valuable when redeemed for expensive cash flights.
There are many different award flight options as you can assemble your points from a co-branded airline miles credit card. You can redeem your miles through the credit card travel portal or transfer them to your airline loyalty program to top-off your balance and book a cheap flight directly from the carrier.
Here’s a small bonus tip. If you do have to book an award flight at the last minute, a good option can be Delta because they do not charge a “close-in” for award flights.
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