Traveling during summer is a popular activity, but finding affordable flights can be a challenge. It requires a bit of strategizing and research to score a good deal. By understanding a few important factors, you can find the best deals available. Here are six tips to help you find amazing deals for your next flight:
1. Timing is Everything
Finding the best deals on flights requires a bit of timing. There isn’t necessarily a set formula to predict when the best deal will be available, but you can follow a few guidelines. Ideally, you should plan on booking your flight between 20 days and one month before your intended travel date. For international travel, it’s best to book three months in advance. Tuesdays are typically the best days to look for deals, as airlines will refresh their pricing, and you might find reductions that weren’t available earlier. Wednesdays are the best days to leave as it will likely be cheaper.
2. Think Outside of the Search Engine
Search engines can be a great starting point for finding low prices on flights. However, you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively. Some airlines, like Southwest, aren’t included in all search engines. Moreover, some search engines emphasize specific airlines more than others, which means important deals can go unnoticed. You might consider exploring alternative websites like Skyscanner and Hipmunk or checking the deals available at Student Universe. Make sure to compare prices between search engines and other sources; you might be surprised at how much you can save by doing this.
3. Be Flexible
Flexibility is crucial when it comes to finding the best airline deals. If your travel dates are set in stone, you will likely have fewer options than someone who can be more flexible. Being flexible with your travel dates and times can help you get a cheap ticket a few days before or after your intended departure. Also, consider different departure and arrival airports. Choosing to fly from one airport and returning from another might save you more money than you anticipate.
4. Consider the Risks
While it might be enticing to consider buying from airlines with remarkably low ticket prices, beware that the deal might not be as great as it seems. Some airlines offer low ticket prices to make up for high baggage fees and other hidden costs that add up when you travel. Make sure you do your research and read the fine print when booking with airlines that have substantially lower than average prices. Remember that “too good to be true” offers often require it to be true. Keep your eye open to other possible hidden costs …
5. Discover Pricing Trends
Though airline ticket prices can be unpredictable, you can use pricing calendars and other services that provide insights into pricing trends to predict when prices are likely to increase or decrease. Services such as Bing and Kayak can signal whether it’s fine to wait to purchase your airline ticket or if you should purchase now before the price goes up. Combining different services to detect trends can help you uncover the best deals available.
6. Join the Frequent Flyer Program
Joining the frequent flyer program for a specific airline can often help you secure discounted tickets. You might also consider credit cards that offer rewards to transfer points to airfare and offer exclusive deals when you book tickets through their portal. Credit cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred and airline-specific credit cards like those from Delta or Southwest might provide significant gains for your money.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to score great deals on airline tickets for your summer vacation. Remember, timing is everything, and flexibility is your friend. Consider all possible options, including alternative search engines and local airports. And never forget to read the fine print before making a purchase. Happy travels!