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How To Save Money When Booking Air Travel

Posted by Wendy Brunner - View Comments

Airplane savingsIs your family ready for a real vacation?  Maybe you have been laying low these past couple of years and riding out some financially difficult times, but now everyone is feeling the itch to once again have a real summer vacation.

Here are a few ways to try and get the best deal for your money.

Use the Shoulder Season – If at all possible, travelling off-peak is probably one of the biggest money savers.  It’s the old rule of high demand equals high price. So, if you can go to the beach in mid-June as opposed to July, you could find yourself saving hundreds of dollars not only on airfare but on hotel and rental cars also.

Shoulder seasons vary from location to location, and some destinations are becoming a little savvier about the shoulder season. It used to be that there were in-season and off-season rates but many are now adding a shoulder season rate which is in between.  Do your research and you will find some great deals.

Watch Fares for Several Weeks – Airline fares are not static.  Airlines are constantly changing their fares based on existing bookings and changes in bookings.  The airlines have a sophisticated computerized system for updating fares.

If you watch fares regularly you can gain a little bit of knowledge about some of the general trends and save yourself some money.

For instance, generally domestic flights are cheapest 45 days before the actual flight date.  Before that they may be higher and as you get closer to the magic 21 or 14 days the flight becomes gradually more expensive. Last minute fares (within 14 days of flight) are the most expensive.

International flights require a little more planning to get a good deal, anywhere from 60 to 90 days before the flight is generally when you will see the lowest fares.

Be Flexible – Being able to travel on Tuesday or Wednesday or in the shoulder season is a great way to be flexible and get the best deals. Also, many airlines and travel booking sites now offer the ability to search three days before and after your intended date of travel. This little trick can yield some surprising savings that don’t fit in to any known trends.

Even if you are travelling in peak season, there may be opportunities for cheaper flights on certain days based on the airline’s goals for filling seats on any given day.  This is where it pays to keep an eye on things.

Book Mid-Week – Airlines do tend to change their flight prices on certain days, usually Monday nights. By doing some extra work on Tuesday morning, to see how the changes in fares have been matched by other airlines, you could find a sweet, unexpected deal.

Also, flying on Tuesday or Wednesday will generally save you some money over flying on the weekend. Airlines are always trying to fill mid-week flights and offer discounts to travelers who can help them do this.

A couple of our favorite sites are Travelocity.com and Kayak.com

Make Sure You Know All The Fees – Even if you find the cheapest fare on a particular airline, make sure you pay attention to fees and taxes or you may end up paying more than you planned. Airlines have changed their revenue models in recent years to try and increase revenue from each passenger by charging for all the little extras that used to be free.

Baggage fees for families can add up quickly so be sure to include these charges when determining the best deal.

The bottom line is that if you are flexible in all aspects of your air travel plans, you can save money on the cost of your flight.  By doing some research well before you book your ticket you can save even more.

About the Author:

Wendy Brunner ,

Wendy Brunner is a freelance writer focusing on articles and blog posts on a variety of topics including travel, internet marketing, personal and professional development. When not beachside in Plum Island, Mass. she can be found in the Sonoran desert of Fountain Hills, Ariz.

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