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How to Save Money On Airfares

Updated on October 10, 2012
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Traveling is my passion. I love the adventure and the new experiences. I don't, however, always love the cost. In fact, I'm always looking for ways to travel more on less money. That's why it's important to save money on airfare.

Here are my top suggestions on how to save money on airfares.

Fly In Off Peak Months

Travel with others aren't as willing to travel and you can score a bargain. This is true when paying with cash or when booking with miles. For example, to travel to Europe during the off-peak months in economy class takes 40,000 miles. That same flight, even in economy, during the peak season will take 120,000 miles round trip. That's a huge savings!

Fly On Off Peak Days

The same concept holds true for off peak days. Business travelers often book up the Monday flights, driving up the rates for everyone. You will often find that fares on lower on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

Use Airline Miles

I am a huge supporter of airline miles. I have two credit cards that I use for everyday purchases in order to maximize the miles earned. Of course, the catcher here is that you have to remember to pay the card off every month. When shopping for an airline miles credit card, look for a promotional offer of bonus miles. This is usually enough for a round-trip ticket.

When we traveled to Europe recently, I had my mom sign up for a mileage card that was offering a 75,000 mile bonus after the first $750 in purchases. Our round-trip ticket (off peak months) only required 40,000 miles so she was able to book her ticket (to Europe) and still have almost enough left for another international flight!

Traveling with Kids

Take advantage of the fact that, on most airlines, kids under two can travel as a lap child without a ticket. We saved so much money traveling with lap children. In fact, we even flew round trip from Oklahoma to Europe when our son was 18 months and round trip to Hawaii when our daughter was 15 months. We probably saved $2000 on those two flights alone, not to mention the many many domestic flights we took. I admit I was a little hesitant to fly with a lap child on a transcontinental flight, but the money savings was too sweet to pass up. It ended up working very well and I would absolutely recommend it to others. You can read more about the adventures of traveling with children at CrazyWanderLust.

Check Alternative Airports

When checking flights, consider flying into minor airports, often near the edges of city limits. For example, if you are flying into Chicago or the surrounding area, don't just check prices at Chicago Ohare, but also at Chicago Midway. Or if you are flying into the Dallas- Ft. Worth area, consider both DFW and Dallas Luv Field. These smaller airports often offer lower fares than you will find at major airports.

Consider a Further Airport

If you are flying into a city that doesn't have a major airport, don't only check prices in that city. Look at the prices for flying into the nearest hub airport. This likely means renting a car for the last leg of your journey. However, the combined cost of airfare and a rental car is often lower than the cost of a flight with multiple connections into a small city.

This was the case for us on a recent trip to Elkhart, Indiana. It ended up being more cost effective to fly into Chicago Midway and rent a car than flying directly into Elkhart. Surprisingly, this option was also more time effective, when you factor in the time saved from making a connecting flight..

How Far in Advance Do You Typically Book Flights

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Check Prices Early

As soon as you know where you will be flying, get familiar with the price of airfares into that city. This way, you will be able to spot a good deal when you see it.

Check Prices Often

When pricing airfare, check prices on different days of the week. This might help you catch a low fair as soon as prices change, saving you money on your flight.

Check Multiple Websites

Check the airline websites as well as third-party websites, such as Expedia, and compare prices. No matter where you book, check he cancellation policy.

Keep Checking

Once you book your ticket, you might still be able to save more money. On Southwest Airlines for example, if the price goes lower than the price you paid, you can change your ticket to the lower fair and save the difference as a credit for a future flight. Sure, an actual refund would be nicer, but this is still a great deal. On most other airlines you, you have 24 hours to change your ticket without penalty. Use that to our advantage, if a better price comes up the next day.

Enjoy Your Flight

Once you are booked, relax and enjoy your vacation. Then, get back on here and tell me how you saved on your flight. I'd love to hear more tips to save money on airfares

Comments

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    • Written Up profile imageAUTHOR

      Written Up 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

      Glimmer, my kids just started school and I already miss the abilty to travel off season. At least there are other ways to save, too.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Great tips! Sadly my daughter is in school right now so we can't take advantage of off season travel prices. It's unbelievable what a difference they make.

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