There’s plenty of information floating around when it comes to saving money on air travel, so much so that it can sometimes seem overwhelming. For that reason, there are three things in particular you want to keep in mind when searching for cheap flights: when you book your tickets, baggage fees and saving while inside the airport.
When to Book Your Ticket
Aim for buying your ticket 54 days in advance. Studies have shown that 54 days before your departure is the time when tickets are at their lowest price. If you can’t hit 54 days, you can extend that to as many as 105 and as few as 21 days before your trip. While it’s understandable that you want to book as soon as possible to ensure you get a seat, waiting 54 days in advance gives you plenty of time to see how many seats are available and the general range of prices you can expect and not feel pressured to resort to extreme measures.
You also have to think about where you’re traveling and when you’ll be traveling there. For instance, if you’re planning a trip to the snowy mountains of Colorado for the winter, you’ll want to start searching about 105 days before your departure. With so many other people planning ski trips themselves, airlines don’t really have much of an incentive for lowering prices. The same applies to international trips.
How to Save on Baggage Fees
Even if you manage to snag a great price on airline tickets, it can all be ruined by insane baggage fees. While you’re checking out ticket prices, it’s a good idea to explore baggage fees as well so you know how much your total comes to before you’re hit with sticker shock at the ticket counter. If you think you can fit everything you need into a carry-on bag, doing so is a good way to avoid having to pay baggage fees. Just make sure the bag easily slides under the seat in front of you and that it meets any weight and size limits the airline might have, otherwise, you’ll have to pay the very fees you’re trying to avoid.
You can also look into signing up for an airline-branded credit card to get free checked bags. Another reason to look into getting an airline-branded credit card is so you have the chance to get free flights. Just make sure you do your best to pay off your credit card balance each month. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself paying baggage fees in the form of interest payments.
Finally, you can also save money by spending a bit more money. Look into upgrading your ticket to first class, which could allow for free checked bags, depending on the airline. To see how much money you might be able to save with this tactic, compare the price of a first or business class ticket to the price of a regular ticket along with any baggage fees you can expect to pay.
Save While Inside the Airport
You can certainly save money by having someone drop you off and pick you up from the airport, but you can wind up spending what you save while inside the airport. For instance, you could have a layover and find yourself getting hungry between flights. Or, you might not have had time to eat before your flight and decide to eat in the food court. Just like movie snacks, airport food is often overpriced, even if you just buy a bag of chips and a drink. Should you decide to get a full meal at a restaurant, you can spend even more than you might like.
Save money by bringing your own snacks, making sure you avoid bringing a beverage since you more than likely won’t be able to get it through security. Other great things about bringing your own food are that you don’t have to worry about someone getting your order wrong, which can eat up your time in the airport, standing in a long line or spending a lot of money on lackluster food.
Additionally, you’ll want to walk right past any stores and kiosks you see in the airport. You can’t give into temptation if you never walk into its arms, after all.
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