When it comes to booking flights, everyone has their own strategies and beliefs about finding the cheapest deals. But are these methods really effective, or are you making costly mistakes? Let’s take a closer look at some common pitfalls and discover what you need to know before purchasing your plane tickets.
1- Timing is Everything
Best Time to Book Flights: Skyscanner analyzed data from 2018 and advises booking domestic flights 2-3 weeks in advance on a Tuesday, and international flights 6 months ahead on a Wednesday. Book around 5 a.m. and avoid 8-11 p.m. for better prices. CheapAir suggests booking early for a minor price difference of $20-$50, while last-minute bookings can result in significantly higher fares, with prices a week before departure increasing by almost $220 compared to the cheapest rates.
2- Choosing the Right Departure Day
While the day you book is important, CheapAir’s research emphasizes the significance of the day you depart. Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to offer the best fares, with Sundays being the most expensive. For a budget-friendly domestic trip, consider departing on a Tuesday in September, as it has historically been one of the cheapest months to fly. For up-to-date information on the cheapest month or day to fly, utilize search tools like Google Flights When Booking Your Flights.
3- Exploring Alternate Airports
Some cities have multiple airports, and opting for the nearest one may not always be the most cost-effective choice. Expanding your search results by using the city name instead of the airport code can help you discover better options. Additionally, consider booking two separate one-way flights instead of a roundtrip ticket. This allows you to explore arrival and departure from different airports, which could potentially save you money.
4- Don’t Assume the Cheapest Fare is the Best Deal
Choosing a budget airline or opting for a basic economy fare on a traditional carrier may not always be the cheapest option in the long run. Once you factor in additional costs such as seat assignments, checked bags, and even carry-on luggage, these seemingly affordable fares can quickly add up. Familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations of budget airlines and carefully read the fine print to avoid unexpected expenses. On one-way flights, expenses for seat assignments, carry-on luggage, and checked bags can range from an extra $25 to $305 per traveler, depending on the airline.
5- Consider an Airline Credit Card
While Southwest Airlines is known for its “bags fly free” policy, other airlines offer similar perks if you have the right credit card. If you frequently fly with a particular airline or live near its hub, it may be worthwhile to consider obtaining an airline credit card. Alongside benefits like early boarding, these cards often provide your first checked bag for free and can alleviate the inconveniences of basic economy seating.
6- Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates and Destinations
Flexibility is key when searching for the best flight deals. Consider adjusting your travel dates by a few days or even weeks to take advantage of lower fares. Additionally, be open to exploring alternative destinations. Sometimes, flying to a nearby city and taking a short train or bus ride to your desired location can result in significant savings.
7-Use Price Comparison Websites and Apps
Take advantage of price comparison websites and apps to ensure you’re getting the best possible price for your flights. Websites like Kayak, Skyscanner, and Google Flights allow you to compare prices across multiple airlines and travel agencies. Some even offer features that show you the price trends for specific routes, helping you determine the optimal time to book.
8- Sign up for Fare Alerts and Loyalty Programs
Stay informed about flight deals and discounts by signing up for fare alerts from various airlines and travel websites. These alerts notify you when prices drop for specific routes or destinations, allowing you to snag the best deals before they’re gone. Additionally, consider joining loyalty programs offered by airlines or travel agencies. Accumulating points or miles can lead to future discounts, upgrades, and other exclusive benefits.
Finally Avoid the 8 things
By avoiding these costly mistakes and arming yourself with the right knowledge, you can make informed decisions when booking your flights. Remember to research the best booking windows, departure days, alternate airports, and the true cost of budget fares. Additionally, take advantage of airline credit cards to maximize your benefits and save money on baggage fees. Happy travels!