Finding affordable airfare rates is much easier than you think. A little bit of research and planning goes a long way! Below, I have listed 15 of the top ways to find affordable rates. Be sure to share some of your favorite strategies!
1. Check travel comparison sites like Kayak for the best rates. Kayak lets you compare rates from several different sources at the same time.
2. Fly midweek – rates are typically cheaper during the week, especially on Wednesday and Tuesdays. Avoid Saturday flights which are typically the most expensive.
3. Book your flight at least 3 weeks in advance for the best rates.
4. Check individual airline homepages for special deals. For example, Southwest often advertises special deals on their website.
5. Follow airlines and travel websites on Twitter for last minute deals.
6. Be flexible with your destination – fares can vary drastically from city to city. For example, when traveling to Boston, I always look into flights arriving in Providence too, which is usually much cheaper.
7. Sign up for fare alerts on Airfare Watchdog. You can sign up for several different alerts including deals pertaining to a specific city, or an “anywhere that’s cheap” alert which gives you a list of cheap round-trip airfares to non specific cities.
8. Visit Last Minute Travel for last-minute deals on airfare.
9. Consider booking a hotel plus airfare package on a site like Expedia.
10. Check Groupon Getaways for destination getaways that include hotel and airfare at a heavily discounted rate.
11. Plan trips during the off season. Airfare tickets will be cheaper when the least amount of tourists are visiting the area. I have found that rates are usually cheapest in January.
12. Don’t book flights around the holidays – this is when airfare is at it’s highest! Flying around Christmas and New Year’s is not a good idea!
13. Bid on Priceline – Use Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” feature to bid on flights. Just be prepared to accept any strange departure time if your bid is accepted! Also be prepared for the possibility of several stops.
14. Be flexible with travel dates – when I book a flight I always search 2 days before and after my desired date. Sometimes just switching around a few dates can save you tons of money.
15. Be aware of all extra fees such as baggage check fees. I like Southwest because you can check 2 bags for free! This really adds up if you are traveling as a large group!