Are you trying to book the cheapest flight possible to your intended destination? With continually fluctuating prices, the right strategy to frugal flight booking and budget travel can be confusing. To make things easier for you, we will be providing 10 tips on how to save money on airfare.
How to Save Money on Airfare
1. Book your ticket in advance
Book your ticket at least 30 days in advance but no further out than 3 months. According to research, buying a domestic ticket 47 days in advance is the best way to get the cheapest fare. As long as you book within the 30 days to 3 month-window, chances are, you’ll save on airfare.
2. Fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays
Most people don’t want to fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays because it means sacrificing extra vacation days. If you’re willing to fly midweek, you can save money. Airlines cannot afford empty seats and lower fares to promote off-peak booking.
3. Fly off-peak hours
You’ve probably heard this before. The best time of day to fly is 5 am to 7 am or after 8 pm. Flights are usually cheaper because most people do not want to fly at these times.
4. Sign up for email alerts from airlines and booking sites
Most airlines and travel booking sites reward their loyalty program members and people who signed up for their emails with exclusive deals. Create a filter and dedicated travel deals folder. This way, your inbox won’t be flooded. Just check the folder when you want to travel.
5. Try budget airlines
Budget airlines offer considerably cheaper tickets than their full-service counterparts. However, this comes with compromises such as no free food/drink on-board and less legroom.
Here is a list of low-cost airlines in the world, ranked in terms of the number of passengers transported:
• Southwest Airlines
• Air Asia
• Lion Air
• Gol Transportes Aereos
• Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA
• Pegasus Airlines
• Wizz Air
• Cebu Pacific
• Spirit Airlines
• Allegiant Air
• Virgin America
6. Keep your searches top secret
Flight prices can increase when a specific route is repeatedly searched, as the site wants to encourage you to book the flight quickly before prices go higher. Always search for flights in private browsing or incognito mode to see the lowest prices.
In Google Chrome or Safari, incognito is enabled by pressing Command (Control if using PC), Shift, “N”. For Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox press Command (Control if using a PC), Shift, “P”. It will open a new browser window wherein your information is not tracked, hence not inflating prices as you search.
Your cookies are reset every time you reopen an incognito window. If you want to start with a clean slate for each flight search, close all incognito windows, open a new one, then perform your flight search.
7. Fly for free with points
Signing up for a travel rewards credit card and hitting the minimum spend can earn you a major points bonus which may enough for a free flight. You can sign up for an airline rewards card which earns points with a specific airline, or you can opt for a general travel rewards card which lets you redeem points across a variety of airlines. Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great beginner card. You can earn up to 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months after your account opening. That is worth $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards (more than enough for a domestic flight). Also, there are no foreign transaction fees, so it is an excellent all-rounder travel credit card.
8. Use a service to compare prices
One way to save money on airfare is to compare prices. Google Flights, Expedia, Priceline, and Kayak are some websites you can visit to see every possible airline and their corresponding ticket prices for the days you wish to travel.
9. Don't wait to book
It’s rare for airline tickets to get cheaper as your departure date approaches. Usually, budget airlines offer low rates as a baseline price. As the tickets sell, the remaining ones increase in cost. So if you know when and where you are going, don't wait to book. The biggest savings usually come from booking far ahead when you can.
10. Find the cheapest place to fly
Booking.com is a great tool to save money on airfare. Visit their website, enter your departure city and choose a date range to fly. Costs will appear for different countries around the world from your departure point.
These budget travel tips will save you time, effort, and money when booking your next flight. Now that you know how to save money on airfare, you can get the cheapest tickets you can and enjoy your trip or vacation without spending a fortune.