How To Save Money On Airfares and Airport Waits

by Jules on September 15, 2012

All travellers are budget conscious these days and are keen to strike a deal on accommodation, car hire and of course airfares. Follow our tips and advice on how to save money on flights and within the airport.

There are many simple ways to save money on every element of your trip. First and foremost, you must decide when you are flying. Ideally, flying during off-peak season will save you the most money. If your options are limited, then it’s time to begin the research for a flight.

When researching a flight you should keep a few things in mind:

  • Most airlines release their discounted airfare on Tuesdays or Wednesdays
  • Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive days to travel
  • Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly followed by Tuesday and Saturday

You should start researching flights through various travel websites that offer quotes from multiple airlines. Try to keep your options open, if you want to leave on a specific day you may have to pay a little more. But if you can be flexible, try searching around the day you initially plan on leaving and returning. Most travel and airline websites provide this option and will do the search for you by simply checking a box.

While reviewing flights for various airlines, it’s a good idea to know the baggage fees of potential airlines – some may charge more than others. If you are looking at a flight that does not fly straight through to your destination, be wary of airlines that charge baggage fees for each leg of the trip. For example, if your flight makes a stop in another city before arriving to your destination, you may be charged for baggage fees twice (once for the initial flight, and again for the flight from the layover city to your destination). The cost of the ticket plus these fees may equal or exceed the cost of a non-stop flight.

Another tip to consider when researching flights is to compare your potential flight found on the travel website to the selected airline’s website. Often you can find the same flight cheaper on the actual airline’s website such as flymango.  You should also avoid booking the flight over the telephone because most airlines will charge a booking fee. Booking your flight on the airline’s website (if it is less expensive than the travel website) is your best option. Also watch out for hidden debit and credit card booking charges too.

If this trip is going to be fairly lengthy and you must bring luggage (not just a carry-on bag), try to bring only what you need. Most airlines charge a minimal fee for the first bag and a larger fee for the second bag. Minimizing the number of luggage pieces will save you money. But be careful not to over pack one suitcase and exceed the weight limit. Consider what you actually need to pack and what NOT to pack. Heavy bags exceeding the limit may cost you severely per overweight bag. If you get to the airport and are over by a couple pounds you can typically remove one or two pairs of jeans, pack them in your carry-on and avoid the excess weight charge.

A carry-on bag is a must (females pack your purse in your luggage if you can) if you plan on reducing your spending at the airport. You are allowed to bring your laptops, tablets, e-readers, and cellular phones in your carry-on bag (some of these items may have to be removed and scanned at the security checkpoint). Do you enjoy reading during your flight? Try purchasing your reading materials at a local store near you a day or two before your flight. You can save money by pre-purchasing these materials and packing them in your carry-on bag.

Another item to pre-purchase and pack in your carry-on is food. With increased security and longer lines most travellers arrive at the airport between one and three hours prior to their flight (depending on domestic or international travel). Sitting in an airport for several hours, you may become hungry (especially with the smells emanating from different restaurants). Instead of spending a small fortune on an overpriced meal, try packing a few snacks in your carry-on bag. You cannot include items in tupperware, but you can have unopened food items including granola bars or a small bag of chips. If you’re flying domestically, you may bring fruit like a banana or an apple. If flying internationally, you may not be permitted to bring produce items, although you can consume it before flight.

We have also posted previous blogs on How To Save Money On Car RentalHow To Get The Best Exchange Rates When Travelling and 10 Essential holiday health tips and advice.

Due to heightened security, most airports do not permit any liquids (outside of the regulatory 100ml sizes) beyond the security checkpoint. Don’t scrimp on any medicines you many need though. If you are thirsty, you will have to purchase a beverage after clearing the security checkpoint, or you may try waiting until you board the flight. But after reviewing and heeding these suggestions, the single beverage purchase should not be too hard on your wallet.

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