Has it ever occurred to you that sometimes you score a crazy cheap, round-trip flight cross country for only $100, and the next time you browse, you’re forced to pay over $400? Is it starting to feel like airlines are hiding something from us? The truth is, they actually might be. Thanks to some frugal shoppers on the Internet, there are ways to find and book cheaper flights, but of course, these are insider secrets that airlines don’t want to expose. Check out these 10 do’s and don’ts of finding and booking affordable airfare. Also, don’t forget to check out DealsPlus to snag the best deals on your airfare.
1. DO depart on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday.
Just like there are recommended days to book your flight, there are also specific days during which you should fly. Depart on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday when business travelers don’t typically fly, leaving more empty seats and making them cheaper for other passengers.
2. DO buy your flights on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
While it is most beneficial to make fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday, it is best to purchase your flight on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. This is because airlines typically offer their best deals on airfare during the middle of the week.
3. DO browse for 2 one-way flights instead of 1 round-trip flight.
You may face extra fees for buying a one-way fare, but you can still expect the cost of 2 one-way flights to be cheaper than the cost of 1 round-trip flight. This becomes even more advantageous if you’re willing to book with two different airlines. Of course, we suggest that you always confirm the dates and airports before you book so you don’t mistakenly book two flights for the same day or at the same airport.
4. DO search for single tickets instead of group tickets.
Oftentimes, airlines group and sell seats by fare class at different prices, so it is beneficial to search by one ticket at a time in case the cheaper seats are limited. If only one seat remains in the lowest-fare class but you searched for three seats at once, most websites will show you the highest-fare class for all of the tickets. Even if you only manage to purchase one ticket on sale, you should be glad you didn’t pay the highest price for all three tickets.
5. DO take advantage of loyalty or rewards programs.
The benefits from being a part of travel loyalty and rewards programs is unmatchable. With the right travel credit card, you can reap some amazing rewards such as priority boarding, free checked luggage, and if you’re lucky, a free flight. Occasionally, it might be advantageous to book a slightly more expensive flight so you can earn extra points to redeem during a later trip.
6. DO opt for layovers if possible.
We understand the convenience of nonstop flights, but if your schedule is flexible, it may be a good idea to book a flight with a layover every so often to save yourself anywhere between $50 and $200. Some airlines even offer free “stopovers” during which you can incorporate your layover into your vacation with an extended stay.
7. DO follow airlines on social media.
It’s been proven beneficial to follow airlines on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to gain exclusive access to limited-time sales and deals that airlines can’t market on their websites. Note that airlines only have a specific number of seats they can offer at a discounted price, so don’t hold off until later!
8. DON’T ignore nearby airports.
Don’t forget to consider neighboring airports when booking your flight as they might offer cheaper airfare than your first-choice airport. For example, Los Angeles International Airport is a popular airport. If you can fly into Long Beach Airport instead, you might save as much as $100 on your flight. Just be sure to check that the difference in transportation costs to and from the airport is not more than the difference in airfare.
9. DON’T avoid flying around holidays.
Many of us think that flying during the holidays can be a traveler’s worst decision. However, you might be able to find the best savings on airfare around major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the case of other holidays during long weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is better to fly the day before or after the holiday since there will be more travelers the day of.
10. DON’T rule out off-season travel.
Flying during less popular times may prove to be more opportune for you. These are the months when popular destinations experience a smaller number of visitors, so airfare and hotel rates are lowered accordingly. For example, if you fly to Europe during winter instead of during the peak months of summer, you can save over $400!
The next time you’re browsing for flights for your next getaway, don’t forget these insider tips to getting the best deal on your airfare!