Why pay full fare for airline tickets when there is no need to do so? There are a numerous ways to save on air travel. All the basic “rules of shopping” apply when it comes to booking an airline ticket, particularly those concerning due diligence. The following are some money-saving pointers to reference when setting a travel itinerary.
Shop Early, Shop Often – Start the research as soon as travel plans come to life. This allows for the greatest latitude in planning and often produces the best bottom line results. Sign-up for e-mails and travel newsletters that often contain special offers. Look for cheap flight offers.
Gymnastics – Be flexible. Travelers can save money if they have some leeway in the timing of flights, allowing them to capitalize on mid-week savings to many destinations. Time flexibility will also enable some people to wait for last minute specials. Vacationers are often able to take advantage of these specials.
Routing – Many large metropolitan area are served by more than one airport. Prices can differ at nearby airports, even on the same carrier.
Ticket Source – Do the homework on ticket purchasing. Sometimes an airline website will offer the best prices, but not always. Check meta-search sites (such as Tripadvisor and Kayak) and check online travel agencies (such as Orbitz and Expedia). “Name-your-price” sites inject an element of excitement into the buying process, and can result in some very good deals.
Day of Week – Studies have shown that the lowest ticket prices are available to early-week shoppers, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and that mid-week flights are usually the least expensive.
Packages – Combining flights, auto rentals and lodging into a single package deal may seem like a good deal, but be careful when “bundling”, because the convenience of “one-stop” shopping can come at a hefty price. Compare package prices with component purchases to get the best economy.
Seat Reservations – Nobody likes to get stuffed into the seats with the most noise and the least legroom, but seat reservations can run up the price of the ticket. The trick here is to reserve a seat online at the earliest opportunity, usually 24 hours ahead of the scheduled flight.
Baggage – Baggage fees are nothing new, but they can be quite different from airline to airline. Pack as lightly as possible and ask questions when unsure of any airline's policy.
Extras – Food service on planes has changed considerably in recent years. Today, it's less expensive for passengers to bring their own food with them than it is to purchase meals aboard the plane. Check with an airline as to what is allowable to bring on board.
Vouchers/Coupons/Credit Cards - A voucher for flybe.com from www.voucherbox.co.uk is a good example of how flight vouchers can save people money. Also, some credit cards make it worthwhile to use them for booking travel by offering discounts, points and frequent-flyer mileage.
One extra tip is for travelers to not “outsmart” themselves by trying too hard to save on one aspect of a trip. For example, saving money on a flight by taking off days ahead of time won't make sense if the cost of additional accommodations eats up all the savings, and then some.