Who doesn’t love to occasionally get away vacation to escape the daily grind, or just to experience a completely different part of the world and the unique cultures that are out there to explore?
Traveling is awesome, and it can be expensive too. But you don’t always have to sacrifice your journeys in the name of travel costs.
In fact, there are ways to save on one of the most expensive parts of traveling: airline tickets. Considering how much money you can potentially spend on flights, looking for ways to shave off the cost in this department can really help make traveling so much more affordable. The key is finding the hidden cheap flight deals that can get you to your destination of choice without breaking the bank.
Keep reading to learn some industry tips and tricks to help you find awesome discount travel deals on airfare.
Don’t Fall for the Travel Myths
Have you ever heard the notion that airlines and travel sites trace your IP address on your computer when searching for flights? By doing so, they can check to see when and where you’re planning to travel and hike up the price the next time you check.
To get around this, many would-be travelers would go “incognito” in order to fool the search engines and camouflage their searches. But the thing is, airlines have become very sophisticated with their pricing algorithms. This helps them price their flights for different times of the year, days of the week, and even times of the day, accordingly. Knowing what buyer demand is like helps airlines stay as profitable as possible.
Based on this fact, it’s important for travelers not to fall for some travel myths, including how to cheat airlines into hiding their searches.
Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates and Times
If you absolutely must stick to specific dates to travel on, you’ll be at the mercy of airlines. Traveling during peak times of the year will almost guarantee you the highest prices on airfare because of high demand. If you can swing it, consider flying during the off-season so you can enjoy hefty savings.
Usually, flying is more expensive during the holiday season, spring break, and the summer. The best times to fly are typically in September and October or right after the Christmas holidays in early to mid-January, after the kids have gone back to school.
Also, flying on a weekday is usually cheaper than flying on the weekend. Not only that but, flying at the crack of dawn or late at night can also help you save. If you don’t mind getting up before the rooster crows or being on a plane when you should be heading to bed, you may be able to save a few bucks.
Be Open to Different Destinations
Airline search engines have developed savvy technology that allows them to create a simple way to search across the globe to find cheap flights. And people like you can take advantage of these discounts. There’s always a deal to specific destinations to be had, so being flexible about where you want to go can open the possibilities and opportunities to snag a good deal on a flight.
Fly with Budget Air Carriers
Big-name airlines like United and Delta are well-known air carriers that are popular among travelers simply because of their brands. Because of their popularity, airlines like these tend to charge a pretty penny for flights.
Other airlines, however, are not as popular. In fact, many people probably haven’t even heard of some of the budget airlines that are out there. But these unknown airlines tend to offer the best prices. While they might not offer all the frills of brand-name airlines, the money you save will be well worth these small sacrifices.
Just be sure to get familiar with all the extra fees that budget airlines might charge to ensure that the savings are as big as you think they are.
Consider Flying Indirect
Direct flights generally cost a lot more than indirect flights, for obvious reasons. But by flying indirect and taking a layover, you can effectively slash your airfare by quite a bit in exchange for a little inconvenience.
Another trick may be to fly to another destination that a major airline flies to for cheaper than a direct flight to your final destination. Then you would pick up a direct flight on a budget airline to your final stop so you can save some money. Of course, this trick only makes sense if the total of both flights is less than the direct flight, so make sure to do your math before going this route.
Mix Up Airlines
It’s common for travelers to book roundtrip flights. Many people believe that booking this way is the more affordable way to go. But oftentimes two one-way tickets might actually be cheaper. And you might even find that different airlines might have their own deals for each leg of your journey.
For instance, you might find that booking a one-way ticket to your destination with one airline and another one-way ticket returning with a different airline is cheaper than booking a return flight with the same air carrier. Use a handy tool like Expedia.com to help you find these deals without spending hours scanning airline search engines.
Use an Airline Rewards Program for Free Flights
With a credit card that offers an airline rewards program, you can snag a free flight after collecting a certain number of points! Airline rewards programs can be a great way to not only get free flights, but also free upgrades—such as complimentary checked baggage—that can help you save money.
If you aren’t already part of a rewards program, you should sign up for one now. There are all sorts of different options to choose from.
For instance, you might want to go with an airfare rewards card that helps you collect points to fly on a certain airline or a general credit card that allows you to put your points towards a variety of different airlines. Many of these cards even award bonus points just for signing up, so you’ll already be on your way to a free flight.
Don’t Book Too Far in Advance
You want to book early enough so you get the flights that you want without paying last-minute fares, but you also don’t want to book too far in advance. Booking too early or too close to your travel date will leave you vulnerable to paying peak pricing. The best time to book flights is between 6 to 8 weeks out before departure, so be sure to pencil that into your schedule.
Don’t Pay More for Your Flights Than You Have to!
Like any product or service, there are always airfare deals out there for smart and savvy travelers to take advantage of. All it takes is a little time, effort, and insider knowledge on how the airline industry works when it comes to flight prices. Use these hacks the next time you’re booking travel to get great deals on flights.