If you’re looking to see the world, finding the best flight deals is an important part of the equation. One of the biggest secrets among world travelers is how to save money on plane tickets. There are a number of strategies that you can use to get the best deals every time.
You Can Save Money on Plane Tickets If You…
Here are some of the most efficient ideas on how to save money on both national and international airline tickets.
1. Buy Your Tickets Early
Studies have shown that buying your flight tickets 47 days or more before your flight is the best way to get the lowest possible fares. Since flight pricing is based on demand, the closer you are to the day of your trip, the more expensive the flights will be. Book your flight as soon as you make your travel plans. Airlines usually announce their flight pricing about a year in advance, so if you’re the first one to buy your ticket, you’ll likely pay a lower price than if you wait.
2. Use a Flight Pricing Aggregator
The best way to save money on flights is to use a program that will show you the lowest price available from all of the airlines at once. The most popular flight pricing aggregators are Google Flights, Momondo, Skyskanner and Hopper. Simply type in your destination and arrival cities and travel dates and the system will scour airline datasbases to find you the lowest available flights.
3. Fly During Off-Peak Times
The least popular days of the week for flights are Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. Most people fly on Fridays and Saturdays, so booking your flights mid-week will result in a cost savings. Flying the earliest flights of the day—between 5am and 8am will also help you to save money on airline tickets. Avoid Fridays, holiday weekends and mid-day flights.
4. Use “Hidden City” Ticketing Strategies
If you have to fly into an expensive airport—Cincinnati, for example, you might wonder how to save money on airline tickets. The trick is to book a flight to Detroit that has a layover in Cincinnati. Then simply leave the flight in Cincinnati and go home. The key to this trick is to book a one way ticket and not check any bags. If you do this on a round trip flight, the airline might cancel the other leg of your trip.
5. Buy Two One-Way Tickets
If you’ve ever wondered how to save money on plane tickets, this is one of the best tips out there. Instead of buying a round trip flight, buy two one-way tickets. You can often find one way tickets at deep discounts well in advance. You may be able to get better flight times and fly out of one airport and into another if it fits your travel plans. Buying two one way tickets also allows you to take advantage of fluctuations in flight pricing. If the price drops after you buy the first leg of your flight, you can buy the cheaper ticket for the return leg.
6. Go Anywhere
Some people don’t have a specific destination in mind, but they have a set budget and just want to see a different part of the world. Sites like Kayak allow you to select your budget, climate and time of year and find the cheapest flights to destinations around the world. You can even search by type of destination, (romance, warm weather, hiking, diving, etc.) You can use the “explore” feature on the site to play around with dates, departure airports and destinations to find the exact one that fits your budget and your travel dates.
7. Sign Up for Email Alerts
There are several sites that allow you to sign up for text and email alerts if you’re wondering how to save money on plane tickets. These sites will send you an alert when the flight falls below a certain price. You can set these alerts for certain destinations, dates or airlines as well. Signing up for email alerts also helps you to see when flights typically drop so that you can plan ahead. If you notice that flights from your airport often drop drastically on Thursdays, you can use this information to book travel in the future.
8. Use Your Mileage Points
Most airlines have rewards programs that allow you to accumulate mileage points. You can use these points and redeem them for free flights. If you don’t have enough mileage points to take a flight you want, you can also use these points to reduce the cost of your flight. Enrolling in these programs is free and you rack up points every time you travel.
You can also find credit cards that offer mileage points for your everyday purchases. These cards will give you a certain number of points for each dollar you spend. Be aware, however, that many of these credit cards may charge high interest fees that offset any cost savings that you may enjoy.
9. Go Incognito
Flight prices change based on popularity. That means that if a lot of people are searching for the same flight, the airlines’ algorithms will raise the price of the flight in order to take advantage of demand. When you’re searching for your airline tickets, use a private browser window or the “incognito” feature if you’re using Google Chrome. You can also clear your browser’s cookie and cache each time you search. You may be unintentionally driving up the cost of your flight if you’re searching for it repeatedly.
10. Take Advantage of Glitch Fares
Airline computers often make mistakes, and these mistakes can add up to huge savings for you. Want to know how to save money on plane tickets? Take advantage of errors. An airline might accidentally price a flight from New York City to Johannesburg for $210 round trip instead of $2,100. The key to getting the most out of these deals is to book them as soon as you see them. Glitches usually don’t last long because someone will inevitably alert the airline and they will fix the mistake. In most cases, the airlines honor these mistakes, but they do reserve the right to cancel your flight and issue you a refund. There are entire communities online of people who wait for and take advantage of glitch, or “error,” fares.
11. Use a Budget Airline
All planes typically do the same thing—take off and land. It’s what happens in between that makes all the difference in the price of the flight. While some people prefer to have more leg room, an in-flight snack or free Internet, some travelers are willing to forgo these luxuries in order to save on airfare. If you want to know how to save money on plane tickets, consider the “no frills” airlines. Spirit, Southwest and Frontier are three of the most popular budget airlines in the U.S., and the often offer flights for as little as $25 each way.
There is, however, a downside to using these airlines. They often tack on extra fees to choose your seat, check your bags or have a meal. If you simply want to travel on a budget, you can’t beat the fare deals on these airlines.
Knowing how to save money on plane tickets can be a huge saving for your bottom line. Between booking in advance, using discount air carriers and taking advantage of errors, you can be assured that you will always be able to see more of the world for less.
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