Traveling can be expensive. But it certainly doesn’t have to be.
If flights still seem expensive to you, it might be time to try a new approach to booking travel. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of seven tricks that’ll help you find budget-friendly flights.
1. Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates
This is our number one tip for finding flights within your budget. Flight prices vary depending on the day.
The difference in prices for flights just days apart can be substantial, often varying by hundreds of dollars. For instance, flights during the week are typically much cheaper than flights on the weekends.
To get the absolute cheapest flights, use fare prediction tools and search engines that specialize in finding cheap flights. These tools work by analyzing historic pricing and providing suggestions to help you snag the best deals.
2. Use Fare Comparison Websites
When it comes to finding cheap flights, there are lots of flight tools at your disposal. Many websites allow you to compare the prices of different airlines.
Some flight comparison websites and apps offer fare calendars that display prices for an entire month. This allows you to easily identify the cheapest days to fly.
Websites like Skyscanner and Kayak allow you to input a range of travel dates, showing you a variety of fare options. For example, you can search for flights within a week-long span to find the lowest-priced tickets.
3. Book in Advance
Traveling cheap means planning way ahead of time. Flight prices rise as you get closer to your travel date, so aim to book at least a few months in advance.
Typically, prices for domestic flights are at their lowest between 21 and 60 days out, according to statistics by Google Flights. Of those days, day 44 is usually the most inexpensive. You can also set up fare alerts so you’ll be notified when prices are low.
4. Consider Nearby Airports
If you’re traveling to a major metropolitan area, consider checking prices for nearby airports. Sometimes, flying into a different airport can lead to substantial savings.
Though you may have to travel farther to get to the airport, it can still be a cost-effective alternative.
5. Embrace the Power of Points and Miles
If you’re a frequent flyer, it might be time to consider a rewards program or travel credit card. Most airlines offer some kind of loyalty program with which you can receive points or miles for each flight. These rewards can be redeemed for free or discounted flights.
These are some of the benefits that these programs offer:
- Accumulation of Points or Miles: With each flight, you accumulate points or miles that can be redeemed for future travel.
- Priority Boarding and Seating: Loyalty program members often enjoy priority boarding, allowing them to settle in and stow their belongings before other passengers.
- Access to Airport Lounges: Some premium travel credit cards or elite membership tiers within loyalty programs grant access to exclusive airport lounges.
- Free Checked Baggage: Many loyalty programs and travel credit cards offer complimentary checked baggage allowances.
6. Travel Light
Nowadays, airlines love to tack on an extra charge for checked or overweight luggage. To avoid paying that fee, travel as lightly as possible, and if you can, try to bring only a checked bag. That way, you also won’t have to deal with checking a bag.
To help you pack as lightly as possible, here are some tips:
- Put your items in packing cubes, especially compression packing cubes
- Roll your clothing instead of folding it
- Plan your outfits ahead of time so you don’t end up bringing clothing you won’t wear
- Wear bulkier items, like jackets or boots, on the plane
7. Be Savvy with Layovers
Sometimes, being smart with your layovers is the best way to find budget-friendly flights.
Direct flights are often more expensive than flights with layovers, so being open to layovers might help you save money.
Before booking a flight, always check to see how long your layover is.
Try to avoid layovers that are under an hour long. For an extra little adventure, you could look for flights with a long layover, in which you could spend a couple of hours in a new city.
Staying safe while traveling
Traveling is a way of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. While this is a great way to challenge yourself, it’s important not to forget about safety along the way.
Solo travelers and women, who make up 64% of global travelers, must take extra precautions, as they are, unfortunately, more vulnerable in certain situations. Here are some safety tips we recommend all travelers consider:
- Stay Informed: Keep updated on local news and any travel advisories related to your destination.
- Keep Valuables Secure: Use a hotel safe or secure your valuables in your accommodation.
- Learn Local Emergency Numbers: Familiarize yourself with the local emergency contact numbers at your destination.
- Trust Your Instincts: If a situation doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. It’s okay to remove yourself from any uncomfortable or potentially risky situations.
- Prioritize your cybersecurity: Don’t forget about cybersecurity. Make sure your devices are secured with strong passwords, and use caution when connecting to public Wi-Fi. You may consider using a VPN to change your location online and protect your data.
Here’s a little secret. Most frequent travelers don’t have an endless money supply. In fact, your jet-setting friends probably spend much less on flights than you think they do.
With the aforementioned tricks, you, too, can find great deals and make your travel dreams a reality.
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