So you’ve got a big trip, you book a flight. The day comes and hit the airport, hours early of course, you don’t miss it after all. So the TSA flags you for extra screening, and it turns out to everyone’s surprise but your own, you’re not a terrorist. A few more hours of waiting in the terminal and finally you get to board. And that’s when the guy next to you lets it slip that he paid half the price you did for him and his family. That’s just wrong, but that’s the startling truth of airlines, everyone pays a different price. So what did he do to save money on flights? Chances are it was one or more of these 8 Tips to Save On Airfare.
1. Use Two Different Computers
As it turns out internet cookies are actually quite vicious, rather than delicious. When you are first looking at flights airlines want it to seem like a very appealing idea, so they drop the prices, knowing that you’ll shop around and come back later. Well when you do the price has gone up. Why? Because they know you were the same person who was looking earlier, so you are much more likely to buy if you are still looking. That’s their logic anyway.
What to do? Use a different computer when it comes time to buy. A second machine that hasn’t been to the website yet is going to get a lower price. Pretty easy huh?
2. Research On Multiple Sites
This one is a little obvious, but that’s because it’s so important. If you are really looking to save money on flights, then make sure you shop around. Go to Kayak, look at Google Flights, check everywhere. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars, especially if you are booking more than one flight at a time.
3. Keep an Eye Out To Save Money On Flights
As it turns out airlines don’t always have the most stable transit system. But that’s great news for us. Unexpected delays, repairs, and weather can all delay flights. Because of that, the need to rebook the plane as fast as possible in order to get it back on schedule. Which means you’ll seriously save money on flights if you just keep an eye out. Sites like Airfare Watchdog will do the work for you too. Just sign up for their Twitter feed and they’ll let you know if there’s any really crazy deals going on.
The downsides to this are the flights aren’t on your schedule, and you never know when a sale is going to pop up. So if you’re looking to travel for adventure’s sake, and have a bit of flexibility in your personal schedule, then give this one a shot.
4. Book in the Down Season
No I don’t mean “The plane is going down!” season. Travel is seasonal, just like fruit, if you want the best deals, then you need to wait till they are in season. March, April, July, August, and December tend to be the words months to fly. Spring through summer are when people want to vacation the most, and December everyone is going home for the holidays. May, June, October, and November however, that’s when you can save money on flights. The flights are cheap, and the weather isn’t as extreme, plus there’s going to be less tourism.
But if you are really looking to save then wait for January, February, or September. That’s when the plane tickets are ripe for the picking.
5. Book it for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday
Just as seasons matter, so too does day of the week. Prices are based directly on demand, so when traffic is high expect a spike. Monday, Thursday, and Friday get a lot of business travel, which hikes up the price quite a bit. But when those people go back to their normal lives the rest of the week is pretty cheap, especially Saturdays.
6. Try to Book Early
Airlines like to stick it to anyone who they can. Which means if you are booking too late they are going to gouge you on the price. They’ve spent millions of dollars researching exactly how to price their tickets, and people shopping less than 45 days before they need to leave, most of the time have to go either way. That’s why you shop early. Somewhere between 45 and 90 days is where the prices are ideal, but keep in mind that if you book too soon, the prices go back up.
7. Learn About Cancellation Policies
Priceline, Orbitz, and a whole bunch of other booking agencies have cancellation policies. If you cancel a flight within 24 hours, you can get a full refund. This doesn’t actually save you any money in and of itself, but combine it with the Airfare Watchdog strategy and you can book flights while the prices are cheap. After that you can decide whether or not you can actually make the flight, if the answer is “no,” then you get your money back. But if it’s a “yes,” then you could save a ton of money.
8. Look for Price Matching
It’s not just Walmart that does price matching, airlines do it too. Which makes this a great way to save money on flights you’ve already booked. If your airline provides this service you can book a flight, then if you find a cheaper one before your 30,000 feet up, they’ll pay back the difference. Usually they charge a 40 dollar processing fee, and give you the return in the form of a credit towards another flight. But it’s better than nothing.
You might also like: How to Save Money Every Month
This may not help if you want to save money on flights, but if you want an easier time with security then here’s how to get TSA Pre-Checked. It’s really easy and can save you hours you’d otherwise spend waiting in line and taking off your shoes.
This is of course no way an exhaustive list on how to save money on flights, but I wouldn’t recommend digging any further. Every airline has its own set of rules, and the code for making up the prices can be hundreds of pages long. As a result, trying to figure the system out precisely is maddening, even to the people who have to update it. Still, if you follow this list, you won’t be spending nearly as much.
If you want to learn more then check out our other article: How to Save Money