Be Flexible With Your Dates
Our first tip is to simply be a little flexible with your departure and return time. Do you have to be at your destination on an exact day? If not, add a travel window to your search when looking for airline tickets. This could easily save you hundreds of dollars on a single flight and closer to a thousand dollars if you are traveling with family.
Why does this work? It is a case of simple supply and demand. The airline wants to get the most money out of a flight and they only have a certain amount of tickets that they can sell. When they start seeing a flight sell out, they raise the prices. Opening up a travel window can help you identify the less popular flights and can save you big money. You just need to have flexibility.
Fly Off Peak Hours
Similar to being flexible with your date, being willing to accept a different departure time can also save you money. This once again takes advantage of supply and demand. Everyone wants to fly between 8 and 5. If you are willing to accept a flight outside of those times, you can potentially cut hundreds of dollars off of your flight cost.
If you have the flexibility and willingness to fly off hours, you also get another perk. Less crowds. At these off peak hours, not only are the costs lower, but so is traffic. That will speed up your passage through airport security and could allow you to get a much better seat on the airplane, maybe even on a row by yourself.
Pick A Flight Before A Destination
Are you in need of airline tickets for a vacation? If so, you probably do what everyone else does. You pick a vacation destination, book a hotel and then look for airfare. If you can flip this script around, you can save big.
Instead of choosing your destination first, look for airline tickets in the beginning. You might very well find out that you can fly to a different city than you had in mind for a fraction of the cost. You can then use these savings to put money back in your pocket or to make your vacation even better.
The greatest part about this method is that it makes you spontaneous. You can do something completely unexpected and might find a fabulous vacation spot far from the beaten path. Plus, just the fact that tickets are cheaper should tell you that the destination will be less crowded.
Open An Airline Credit Card
You might think that the last thing that you need in this world is a new credit card, but you may be wrong. An airline reward card, connected with the company, may be the way to slash your flight prices.
The trick is to look for a card that offers you introductory miles. The miles may be for simply opening the account or for spending a set amount of money. Whatever the case, it could provide you with thousands of airline miles, perhaps enough to even cover the entire price of the flight.
Start Shopping 6 Months Out
You probably already know that waiting until the last minute to pick a flight is a bad idea. By then, they may be booked up and airlines are unlikely to discount last minute fairs. By that point., they know that they have you and deals are out of the question. What you may not know is that you should start shopping for your flight at the 6 month mark.
This does not necessarily mean that you should purchase straight away, but instead monitor pricing. Get an idea for what a good price is and spot the trends. Then, make your purchase at least three months before your departure date.
Last, but certainly not least on the list of tips for saving money on flights is to pack light. Airlines put the crunch on passengers checking bags a long time ago and they have not let up. With most airlines it now costs 30 to 40 dollars to check a bag. If you are traveling with family, that could be over 200 dollars in bag fees.
The trick to get around these fees is to simply pack lightly and go the carry on route. The same airlines that charge you money to check a bag will allow you to carry one bag with you for free. Keep in mind that this is a hard limit imposed by TSA and you will not be able to carry on more than just the one bag.
Final Thoughts On Flight Savings
The act of saving money on airline flights is obviously not as hard as people think. All that it takes is a little bit of time and some thought, well in advance of your departure date. If you decide that you are going to just put it off and book a flight close to departure, you are going to pay for it. And, if you are traveling with a family, you will pay dearly.