Slideshow: 10 Ways Savvy Travelers Save on Airfare
How to Save on Airfare
The easiest way to save money on airfare is by being flexible — flying on certain days and at certain times can be more affordable, depending largely on supply and demand. However, not everyone has the luxury to schedule so loosely. If you can’t take time off work for a short trip, don’t despair — there are plenty of other things you can do to save money when buying a ticket at any time.
Flying into and out of one specific airport can be more expensive than if you alternate each leg of your flight with another airport nearby. If there’s more than one airport near you, see what tickets are cheapest. Sometimes you’ll find great deals by being flexible — leaving from one airport and returning to a different one.
Check Flights After Purchase
After purchasing a ticket, you usually have 24 hours to cancel or change it. Definitely check the airline’s specific policy on this since each one is different, but if prices change within that 24-hour period you may still have time to snag the deal.
Clear Browser Cookies
Have you ever refreshed your search while shopping for tickets and realized the prices were going up? This is usually due to your browser’s cookie history. Companies use these cookies to track your searches and create dynamic pricing, which means your ticket price may potentially increase if you keep searching for the same item. To avoid being a victim of the airlines’ sneaky tactics, clear your browser cookies each time you do a search.
Sign up for email alerts. Airlines will send you flight deals and special offers, so if there are several airlines you use often be sure to add yourself to their email lists. Similarly, stay updated on their social media platforms in case they release special deals to their followers.
Fly Different Airlines
In the same way that booking flights from different airports can save you money, booking flights from different airlines can save you money, too. Sometimes a one-way ticket is cheaper than a round-trip ticket, so be sure to check all your options before booking, even if that means flying with a different airline on each leg of your trip.
Fly During Off Hours
With the exception of late Sunday night or early Monday morning (if you’re flying to and from metropolitan cities) the off hours for flying are really early in the morning or late at night. Most people don’t even want to be up, let alone at the airport, at the crack of dawn, so tickets between 5 and 7 a.m. tend to be cheaper than, say, a ticket at 11 a.m. or noon. On the same note, most don’t want to arrive at their destination in the middle of the night, so tickets after 8 p.m. are usually cheaper as well.
Fly on Off Days
This one won’t apply to everyone, but if you’re fortunate enough to have the flexibility of traveling any day of the week, seek out tickets for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. These three days of the week are cheaper because fewer people are flying during them. Most people leaving on a weekend trip will book flights for Thursday or Friday, coming home Sunday or Monday.
Airline policies may vary on this one, but keep an eye on your ticket’s price changes after you’ve purchased it. Sometimes the same ticket you bought drops in price as the travel date nears, and if you catch it, you can possibly push the airline to offer a price match — it is the same ticket, after all. One airline that tends to be good about price matching when tickets go down after a purchase is Hawaiian Airlines.
Use websites that compare flight prices for you, like Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz, and even Google’s flight search function. Once you’ve scoured the internet for the best prices (clearing your browser’s cookies between searches, of course) go directly to the airline’s site to purchase the ticket. At times this can land you a cheaper ticket than if you book through the third-party site itself (because of different fees), and you’ll also have better coverage on your ticket if plans change.
There’s an app out there for every need you may have, and naturally there are plenty that attempt to make traveling easier for the consumer. One such app that happens to be ideal for finding the cheapest flights possible is Hopper. It tells you what days are the most expensive (and the cheapest), if the prices will change between your search time and the date you’ve chosen, and it will also let you track each trip individually, updating you when ticket prices fluctuate.