I don’t know about you, but I’ve never run into a traveller who doesn’t try to save money when planning their next adventure. When it comes to couples travel there is typically one expense that dwarfs all others when planning out our trip: flights. Airfare can take a huge bite out of our travel budget and can really impact how long we can travel. Because of this, we’ve learned a few handy tricks to try to save as much money as we can when flying. Here’s a list of my 5 favorite tips for saving money when booking a flight.
1. Don’t book directly with an airline
I’ve heard people say that they’ve been able to save money by booking directly with an airline, but for me that’s never been the case. Lauren and I always use a flight search engine to find the best deal for us. Doing so allows us to check multiple airlines and multiple airports all at once which saves us both time and money.
2. Don’t wait for the last minute
Airline seats get more expensive as the plane fills up, its basic supply and demand. A basic rule of thumb for most air travel professionals is to book your ticket 21 weeks in advance. After that the tickets will go up incrementally as the plane becomes more full. If it’s too late for that at this point, the opposite can also work. Airfare will sometimes get cheaper in the last 14 days before a flight, but your gambling with possible not getting a seat at all.
3. Be flexible
When booking your flight be flexible about two key things, your dates and your airport. When flying into a major metro area (like NYC ) there are typically multiple airports that service the area, and being flexible as to which one you fly into can save you a couple hundred dollars. The same goes for being flexible about the dates you choose to fly, the cheapest days of the week are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. If you start with these days you’re sure to save some money and have more to spend when you reach your destination.
4. Book Early in the week
According to several sites airlines publish fare deals at the beginning of each week. Check your prices often and book on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday for the best prices. Beware though, make sure to clear your web browsers cache if you return to the same website twice. Several major international providers have admitted to storing cookies and then charging a customer more the second or third time they visit the site to purchase tickets.
5. Consider flying longer
Even though we all dread the idea of extra time in the air (or time in the airport) booking a flight with 1 – 2 layovers can often save you money if you are willing to trade a little of your time. This one’s all about balance, find the right amount of money you are willing to save for your time. I wouldn’t book an extra couple hours in the air unless I’m saving at least $50 per ticket, but everyone has their own personal threshold.
6. Bonus tip!
I always believe in giving my readers a little more, so here’s one more tip. Pay a lot of attention to baggage fees. Many airlines will save you money up front and then make it back on fees on checked, or even carry-on, luggage. Make sure you consider the total cost of your flight, because sometimes the more expensive ticket is cheaper (and gets you a better experience) at the end of the day.
So there you have it, 5 tips for saving money when booking a flight. Now that you know these tips, go out there and save some money on your next flight so you can have more fun at your destination.