How To Keep Your Airfare Expenses As Low As Possible

By on January 23, 2013

Making travel plans can be exciting and fun, but finding ways keep your airfare expense low can be a hassle. Airfare prices can vary widely and you can literally save hundreds of dollars if you put some effort into it. Before you book your next flight, think about how some of these money saving tips can help you.

Plan Ahead
The cardinal rule of buying plane tickets is to book your trip as early as possible. This is especially important if you are planning to travel at peak times like around the holidays. Prices typically go up two weeks ahead of time, so you definitely want to buy your tickets before then. If you want to maximize your savings, it is best to buy your tickets three to six months before your departure date.

Fare Sales and Specials
Many airlines have fare sales days, usually Tuesdays, when they drop prices in order to fill up under booked flights. Call a few different airlines and see when their sale dates are. While you have them on the phone, ask if they have any specials around the dates, you are looking for. If you can be flexible with your departure and arrival times, you may be able to get a reduced-priced seat just by flying on a different day.

Do Not Book on a First Date
You may be tempted to sit down in front of your PC, look at what is available and then book your best choice. Flight availability and pricing change from day to day. Unless you find a great bargain the first time around, it may be worth it to check on different days to see if you can get a better deal. This may take a more time, but it might also save you a lot of money if a seat becomes available that was not open before.

Aggregators are Your Friends
Travel sites like Orbitz and Travelocity are indispensable resources for finding low airfares. You should become familiar with at least three to four sites and compare their different offerings. Frequently, these sites also advertise package deals as well that can save you a bundle. The websites do most of the work compiling the information for you, all you have to do is run a few searches and compare what they are offering.

Discount Airlines
Companies like Southwest, JetBlue and Spirit exist to serve the needs of travelers who do not want to pay outrageous airfares. They may not have all the amenities of other airlines, but they are also a lot less expensive. You can skip the cocktails and it may be worth putting up with a middle seat on a three-hour flight if it saves you 25% or more on your airfare.

Being a budget-conscious traveler can be frustrating, but it is not impossible to find low airfares. Plan as early as you can and research all your available options. Even though it seems like a lot of work, you will be much happier when you book your flight without going over your budget.

About the Author: Tobi Summerhays loves to travel and search for great luxury tours. He and his wife do their best to make airfare costs a minimal part of the planning process.

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