You’ve decided on a destination, booked your hotel, and planned all of these great activities for your next vacation. There’s just one final — and very important — step: securing your flights! If you’re stuck when it comes to snagging great deals on airfare, consider some of these tried-and-true tips to get the best value when you fly the friendly skies.
Shop around on Tuesday afternoons and evenings.
It’s a poorly-kept secret that on Tuesday afternoons, airlines often release extra tickets for the upcoming weekend’s flights if they aren’t too packed. However, even if you’re looking to plan your trip further in the future, you can still snag some great deals later on Tuesdays and often into Wednesdays.
Buy directly through the airline.
While the promise of deep discounts on sale sites like Expedia and Priceline can be tempting, what you might not realize is that many of these outlets don’t display additional fees or extra costs that may end up totaling more than you anticipated. You’re always better off booking right through the airline for the lowest price, even if you initially find a flight through a third-party site.
Keep your options option.
Still not finding the prices you want? It might be time to get creative. Is there an alternative airport that you can fly out of or into? Can you book your departing flight on one airline and your return flight on another? If you’re willing to be flexible, these little “flight hacks” can make a big difference.
Consider the timing of your trip.
Depending on your destination, traveling during the “shoulder season” — or those months before or after the peak season — can save you some big money. If you’re willing to go at an “off” time, you can end up with a serious bargain, and fewer crowds as well! Don’t forget that prices often surge during school vacation weeks and in-demand events like Mardi Gras, Coachella, and South by Southwest.
Factor in the extras.
When it comes to additional charges, all airlines are not created equal. It helps to determine your must-haves early on. Tons of legroom? Minimal or no baggage fees? Compare and contrast the costs beyond airfare, as all of these fees can really add up and put an unexpectedly large dent in your travel budget. It might take a little time to do the math and weigh your options, but it’ll be well worth it!