Airfare can take a huge chunk out of any travel budget. But if you’re planning a trip overseas or even across the country, there are ways to get there without breaking the bank. With some strategic planning and savvy booking techniques, you can find budget-friendly flights for your next adventure. Here are six tips to save money on air travel.
Be Flexible with Dates and Destinations
One of the easiest ways to save on flights is by being flexible with your travel dates and destinations. Flights are typically more expensive on Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays. If possible, try flying mid-week on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
Additionally, look at flying into and out of alternate airports that are farther from big cities but offer cheaper flights. For example, if you are planning a visit to Puerto Rico, consider flying into Aguadilla instead of San Juan. Play around with different date and airport combinations to find lower fares.
Another money-saving strategy is to book your flight several months in advance, ideally 2-4 months if possible. Airlines typically release flight schedules 330 days before departure, and seats are limited on each plane. Booking early ensures you get the best price before fares rise closer to departure.
Sign up for airfare price alerts from sites like Hopper and Google Flights so you’re notified if the price drops after booking. You can get refunded the difference.
Be Flexible with Airlines and Connections
Limiting yourself to only nonstop flights or a favorite airline will almost always cost more. Consider options with layovers and on budget carriers like Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant. While basic economy flights have more restrictions, the base fare is substantially cheaper, and you can save a lot of money if you only take carry-on luggage.
Check prices across multiple booking sites and airlines. Some airlines don’t release their fares to third-party sites, so search on both to find the best deal.
Book Budget Accommodations
Pairing budget flights with budget lodging saves even more money. Options like hostels, Airbnb, vacation rentals, and budget hotels provide cheaper places to stay than upscale hotels.
Also, look into all-inclusive resorts when visiting popular family destinations. For one price, your lodging, food, and activities are covered. This allows more wiggle room in your airfare budget.
Use Miles and Points
With some planning, you can use airline miles, credit card points, and loyalty rewards to cover some or all of your airfare costs. Sign up for travel reward credit cards, frequent flyer programs, and travel site rewards programs well in advance to start racking up points.
Check points requirements to book reward flights and hotel stays. If you don’t have enough for a free flight, you can offset costs by using points to cover airline fees, taxes, and part of the airfare.
Watch for Sales and Deals
Keep an eye out for flight deals and airline sales, especially during off-peak seasons. Sign up for airline and travel deal emails to be notified right away. Holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and New Year’s often have cheap flights and package deals.
Social media and flash sale sites like Groupon also offer limited-time flight discounts not found elsewhere. Check restrictions before booking since some flash deals have blackout dates.
With the right strategies, you can find affordable airfare, even to popular destinations overseas. Flexible timing, advance planning, and smart budget booking techniques go a long way to saving money. Follow these tips to keep your next getaway within budget. The money you save on flights leaves more for enjoying your vacation once you arrive.