If you’ve been a regular reader of our blog, then you know, vacation is on our minds. The weather is getting warmer and bikini’s are making an appearance in stores.
Now, we want to make sure you get the best deal when you fly.
For potential travelers, airfare is one of the most expensive portions of the trip, especially if you have a big family to haul around.
Most people can find ways to cut corners in order to afford a trip by dining at less costly restaurants or staying at budget-friendly hotels, but airfare is what it is.
Suck it up and pay up if you want to go, right?
Savvy travelers rarely pay full price for flights, if at all. There are many tricks to saving on flight costs and once you learn how to nix this pricey travel expense, you feel free to fly anywhere! Here are 5 ways to save on flights!
1. Get a Travel Rewards Credit Card
This is the first step to saving on flights, because you are building rewards that will eventually get you free flights.
To earn miles faster, use your travel rewards card as if it were your debit card or cash. Don’t touch the cash in your account; rather think of it as your card’s available credit.
Pay your bills and regular monthly expenses on your travel rewards card, pay it off every month with your liquid cash, and always be aware of promotions that double your miles.
You will start earning flyer miles effortlessly. If you are going to spend money, at least get some perks.
Also, sign up for every airlines rewards program to earn more miles. It is free, so why not? There is a lot of confusion about how miles are earned. Some airlines base rewards on miles traveled, others base them on money spent, and some use a combination of both.
That’s why it’s best to sign up for individual airlines reward programs in addition to applying for a travel rewards credit card. Research the best one for you and check out to compare before applying.
2. Use Airfare Tracking Sites
Don’t you love, love, love tracking flights?
It’s the easiest way to find the perfect flight and save money.
Tracking sites like Google Flights, Yapta, JustFly, SkyScanner and Airfare Watchdog are the best ones to use, but check out Google Flights first, because they have a drop calendar that shows you the various rates of your flight, allowing potential travelers to scan the cheapest airports, airlines and dates to travel.
Once you’ve found a flight and date you like, track it on Yapta. Yapta will notify you when the price changes, giving you the opportunity to jump on a great deal. If you buy the flight, notify Yapta and they will refund or voucher you if the price of the flight drops below a certain percentage. The amount depends on the airline.
3. Research Flights Early
It’s true – the early bird gets the worm. In this case, the earlier you decide where and when to vacation, the better chance you have at securing a cheap flight.
This insures that you don’t miss out on awesome airfare deals.Flight schedules typically show up about 11 months out, with the airfare rates fluctuating throughout the year.
Research and real life experience has proven to me that 3 to 4 months out from your travel date is when you should see the lowest drop in price. I have personally tracked this theory myself and it works every time! About 4 months out from one of my trips, the price for my direct flight dropped 18%.
That’s amazing! If you miss that window, prices will shoot back up, but will drop again at about 54 days out. So the sooner you start tracking, the more you’ll save.
4. Direct Flights Are Not Always More Expensive
People think that flying nonstop has to be expensive, but it’s actually not! This is where early research pays off.
Find a nonstop flight you like, track it and buy right when the price drops significantly. This is also why flight tracking sites come in handy. They allow travelers to look at prices and schedules side by side. Look closely at other flights and you’ll notice that the flights with multiple stops are not always cheaper. So, you can save money and not have the inconvenience of layovers!
5. Dates Matter
Like almost anything in the travel industry, time of year effects pricing.
Be conscious of festivals, holidays or popular events that might cause flight prices to skyrocket; another great reason to use flight tracking sites.
My sister recently planned a trip on the most expensive week of the month, not realizing it was Spring break. Her last minute flight with multiple stops, costs more than my direct nonstop flight to a cooler destination!
If she would have researched sooner, she could have saved over 50% on airfare by planning her trip a week sooner or later. Bummer. Days of the week also affect airfare. Typically, the most economical days to travel are Tuesday through Thursday and Saturdays.
Why, you might ask?
Think of it like this –the people who fly the most are business people and they fly constantly to places on Mondays and fly home on Fridays.
Airlines know this. For vacationers, they typically fly out on Fridays and home on Sundays. Airlines know this too, making those days more expensive to fly. If you are flexible, planning flights mid-week or on Saturday will save you hundreds of dollars. I know. I do it all the time.
Traveling Doesn’t Have to Break Your Budget
Feeling more confident about booking your next ticket to paradise? I hope so.
Traveling doesn’t have to break the bank and by saving on airfare you’ve already got a great start to your next adventure.
Warning: flight tracking sites do become addicting and you could get swept up in the excitement of finding the best deal, but then again, I’m a travel addict. Needless to say, it feels good to know you are saving money that could be better applied to more cocktails once you arrive to your destination.
Your flight is now boarding! Cheers and safe travels. Now tell us, what do you do to score the best flight deal?