So you’ve successfully prepared for your upcoming vacation, but haven’t finalized your air travel yet. Whether you’re planning a dream trip to Europe or traveling to visit family across the country, flight tickets can be pretty costly and require a lot of your hard-earned cash. If you’re thinking of flying for your summer vacation, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the cheapest airfare possible. Check out these five helpful tips that will guide you in finding cheap flights so you won’t break the bank.
1. Know Where to Look
It may sound obvious, but where you search for cheap flights can make a huge difference. You can always go directly to the airline for rates, but popular travel search engines like Hotwire and Expedia may be a better bet. These websites scour the most up-to-date rates to help you find the lowest costs currently available. If you’re willing to be flexible with your dates, the odds of finding lower rates are much higher. If that isn’t possible, have a few possible dates in mind to help guide your search.
2. Book as Far in Advance as You Can
When it comes to finding cheap flights, it’s best to book your trip around one to three months in advance for domestic flights. If you’re heading to an international summer vacation destination, two to eight months is recommended. For peak summer months, you may even want to consider adding a month or two to these guidelines just to ensure that you will get a better rate. Most airlines increase their fare within the last month to two months before the departure time.
3. Use as Many Discounts as Possible
Some airlines offer decent discounts for certain groups of people. If you’re a member of AAA, you could get a significant reduction in your airfare, and this discount can also apply to students, members of the military, and AARP members. Even some credit cards provide their cardholders with special discounts on flights, so check your terms and conditions to see what’s available. You should also check to find out how many reward points or miles you have already earned that can be applied to your trip.
4. Sign up for Promo Emails
If you are already a frequent flyer for a certain airline, be sure to sign up for their promotional emails. You’d be surprised at how often some airlines provide special discounts on flight tickets to their newsletter subscribers. Aside from the airlines, sign up with a variety of travel websites for special deals. If you’re willing to be flexible with your dates, you stand to save a pretty penny on tickets if you check for these special deals carefully.
5. Be Willing to Take a Layover Flight
Although direct flights are certainly ideal, you can save serious cash if you’re willing to fly with a few layovers. This method may take a bit longer, but it’s a great way to ensure cheap flights. Just make sure that you have ample time between airports so you can easily get to your next gate. Anything longer than a one-hour layover is recommended so you have plenty of time to go to the restroom and grab a snack before your next leg. Check various airlines and connecting airports to determine which flight path will give you the best savings.