One way that families can save on a vacation is to get their airfare for less. Airfares are based on demand, meaning the higher the demand, the higher the price will be. For example, many college-aged students will head to Florida during spring break which ranges from March until April. The price of airfare to Florida spikes considerably during this time period due to the high demand. Instead, select a time or a place that is less desirable. If this is not a possibility, there are still many other ways to pay less for airfare.
Cheaper Days to Fly and Flexibility
Search for airfares that are not over a weekend. According to Tony Morrison, a former airline travel agent, avoid flying on Friday and Monday, and try to fly on Tuesday and Wednesday, usually the cheapest days to fly. In addition, be flexible with flying dates if possible. On Travelocity, there is an option to click on flexible dates. They will then show you the cost difference between different days of the week. For example, searching with flexible dates, a trip to Miami from Chicago was $199.40 round trip on June 5th to June 9th on American Airlines. Let’s say the flexible dates search option was not used and an individual traveled from June 10th to the 14th through American Airlines. This flight would have cost $243.00, so using the flexible dates option produced a savings of over $43 per person, which adds up when there is a family traveling together.
Check All Travel Sites
It may be hard to believe, but not all travel sites quote the same price for the same trip. It is wise to search a variety of them to get the best deal. Besides Travelocity, some popular travel search engines are Kayak, Expedia, and Orbitz. For example, all three websites were searched for airfare from Chicago to Madrid with the same travel dates and came up with three very different prices. Expedia quoted $857.00 round trip on American Airlines, Kayak quoted $969.00 round trip through Air France, and Orbitz quoted $1,316 through Swiss Airlines. Between Expedia and Orbitz there is an astounding $459.00 difference! Granted they are different airlines, and different flight times and connection times, an individual must decide what is most important and doable for them. Yet for that price difference, traveling with a family of two, that’s almost a thousand dollar difference.
If possible, also check individual airline sites for prices. Many airlines are known to promote their own sales and specials only available on their websites, and not through a search engine such as Expedia. Southwest, Delta, and USA3000, are just a few airlines that often promote a discount through booking online through them, and often run internet sales.
Book Airfare Early to Save Money
Airlines do not want any last minute surprises regarding a large surge in ticket sales, and will often offer specials for customers to buy tickets in advance. The advantage for them? They can predict how many people will be flying, how much luggage storage they may need, and if they need to open up another flight.
Still not sure if booking early is the best bet? There are several websites that predict when the best time to buy airfare is. Once such website is Bing, has a built in predictor when an individual does a search for airfare. They will make a prediction when the best time to purchase airfare is.
If making a stop on the journey is not a big deal, there is a lot of money that can be saved. Direct flights often cost more money than a flight making one or two stops to the final destination. When searching airfare, check how long the layover is, the price difference, and if the cost savings is sufficient enough over the convenience of the direct flight.
Start Saving on Airfare
Hopefully these tips will lead to cheaper airfares. Make sure to utilize the many search engines available to maximize savings. Be flexible with dates if possible, as just a change in a couple of days can lead to savings. Check all travel websites, as they are not all created equal. As seen above, the price difference can be astounding. If possible, try to travel in an off season, and if not, at least add a connecting flight to lower the cost. Last but not least, use a website that has an airfare predictor, such as Bing, to find the best time to buy airfare. The place that most families can save money on a vacation is their airfare, since the price variations can be quite diverse.