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How to Save Money on Air Travel

Daydreaming about a relaxing getaway can be fun but all too often the excitement quickly fizzles out after shopping for airfare. Ticket prices can be expensive, and no one wants to pay more than they have to, even for a vacation.  Thankfully there are a few ways travelers can save money on booking flights.

1. The Earlier, the Better

If you know you want to take a trip several months from now, why wait? The best prices tend to be as far in advance as possible, flipping the trend of cheaper fare closer to the flight to fill empty seats.

2. When You Depart Matters

Contrary to the way people saved money on booking flights in the past, it no longer matters what day of the week you book your flight; however, it does matter what day of the week you depart. Flights leaving Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays tend to have the lowest fares. Avoid departing on the most expensive days: Fridays and Sundays. Also, booking a flight in the early morning ‘red-eye’ time period will often help you save even more.

3. Search Privately

Avoiding cookies isn’t just sound dieting advice, it’s also a great way to save money on booking a flight. Cookies are small data files websites create and store on your computer as a way to recognize who you are and what you prefer. If you’re noticing that ticket prices are increasing the more you search for the same destinations, it might be time to turn on incognito mode (a privacy feature that allows you to search without storing the browsing data).  Here’s how:

  • If you’re using Chrome or Safari on a
    • PC – press Control, Shift, N
    • Mac – press Command, Shift, N
  • If you’re using Firefox or Internet Explorer on a
    • PC – press Control, Shift, P
    • Mac – press Command, Shift, P

Remember, cookies will reset every time you reopen an incognito window so close and reopen each time you search the same flights.  And while we’re on the topic, some international travelers use a VPN (a virtual private network) to search for airfare to avoid seeing higher fares for traveling from outside the destination country. Learn more about how VPNs can help you see lower fares for international travel.

4. Cash in on Points and Miles

Using your credit card points and frequent flyer miles is a great way to offset the cost of airfare. If you haven’t checked in a while, you may have racked up a pile of points that are just waiting to be used on your ticket. Learn more about checking your airline miles.

5. How You Search Matters

Some flight search engines will charge you a higher markup off your ticket purchase than others. If you’re getting frustrated with the more common websites here are a few lesser known search engines to try:

There is no search engine guaranteed to have the lowest fares, so it’s important to check multiple sites for every trip.

6. Go Analog

Remember travel agents? They are still around and would love to help you save a bundle on your airfare. Frequent travelers specifically recommend trying a travel agent for international travel, where their expertise on foreign budget airlines comes in handy. An agent’s fee is around $25, but what they can help you save might be much more.

7. Book Connecting Flights Yourself

If you’re not finding any tickets in the price point you were hoping for and they have connecting flights, try searching for one-way tickets using the same flights. In some cases, these will be cheaper than a multi-leg flight. This method only works if you have at least a day you can spend in the connecting city. It’s not a good idea to plan for only a few hours of layover time due to possible fluctuations in scheduling. Check out AirWander to see if booking flights with stopovers would help make your next trip a little more affordable.

8. Track Rates

Google Flights is a great tool to track airfare cost to help you strike when the price is just right. Simply enter your dates, departing city, destination city, and select the trip. Use the toggle switch to begin letting Google track the prices and email you with any updates. If you see a great fare, don’t let it get away. Generally speaking, the better the price break, the less likely it will stick around for very long.  So if you see the price drop to where you want it, don’t hesitate.

9. Make the Call

Sometimes it pays to speak to a representative at the airline to find out if they can locate better rates for you on the backend. Keep in mind some airlines will charge a $25 booking fee to book your flight with a human over the phone rather than online, but if the price is much better than you can find on your own, it might be worth it. Also, some airlines offer discounts for seniors, college students, and active military members.

Allegiant: 1-888-594-6937

American Airlines: 1-800-433-7300

Delta: 1-800-221-1212

United: 1-800-241-6522

10. Be Social

Try following a few airlines on social media and subscribing to their newsletters. Most will share deals, promotions, and sales to their followers, so you’ll be the first to know. There are also several industry experts and travel buffs who share great deals to their social media accounts as well.

When it comes to saving money on booking your next vacation, some of the old tried and true methods have changed but thankfully have been replaced with new tips and tricks. Of course, no single method is guaranteed to work flawlessly. You will want to try multiple methods and see what works best for you and delivers you the best results. Enjoy your next trip and happy booking!


Learn more about the Dayton International Airport at flydayton.com