Holiday Travel Tips; Planning Ahead

By: Jawahn Thompson

Air travel is expensive. But I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. There are many ways to save money on air travel – some of them will save you a little, some will save you a lot. Before you book your next trip, see if any of these money savings tips are options for you.

  • Consider flying out of another airport. Sometimes the nearest airport does not have the best rates. Checking the rates at one or two of the next nearest airportsmay yield better airfare rates than the airport that is closest to you. It may be worth it to travel an extra hour to the airport to save hundreds of dollars.
  • If you have a trip planned for the future, butyou aren’t ready to order your tickets yet, sign up for e-mail alerts from all of the airlines that fly from the airport(s) near you to your destination. You never know when an airline may be running a special to your exact destination.
  • If you are ready to order your tickets, order them as far in advance as possible. The cheapest airfares sell out quickly. The closer to the flight you buy your tickets; the more expensive the tickets are likely to be. This is especially true around the holidays.
  • If you are booking travel during the holidays, consider flying on the holiday itself. The days prior to a holiday, airfares can be the highest they are all year. If you can fly on the day of the holiday, you can get some of the lowest airfares of the year. If you do decide to book on the holiday, try to book as early in the day as possible in case there are any delays so you don’t miss the holiday festivities once you get to your destination.
  • If you are phoning the airline directly for your tickets, ask for the cheapest fare, not just the fare for coach.

    There may be a cheaper fare in a better seat, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
  • Fly on the off days. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and sometimes Saturday are considered the off days (unless it’s around a holiday). If you can fly to and from your destination on those days, you are much more likely to get cheaper flights.
  • Check out the fares on red-eye flights. Those flights don’t sell out as quickly as other flights and therefore may have less expensive fares. Sure, if money were no object, the red-eye probably wouldn’t be your first choice, but then again you may sleep your way through the whole flight. That’s always a good way to spend a flight. And if you combine flying on the off days with flying a red-eye on an off day, you may get a real deal.
  • Do your homework by comparing rates on the different websites. Travelocity, Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, Cheap Tickets and many other websites have discounted airline tickets as well as discounts on hotels, car rentals, and other things related to travel. Take the time to check out the rates for each website each time you book your travel.
  • While you are doing your homework, don’t forget to check out the airline’s websites. Sometimes the airline’s websites have even better deals than the discount sites. All this homework takes some time, but it will pay off in the end with big savings.
  • Go outside your comfort zone. You may be used to always flying the same big airline, but if you consider one of the newer smaller airlines, you may be surprised at the savings you can grab.
  • Before you book your tickets, make sure that the price you have includes all fees and taxes. If you’re not getting the full price of the tickets including fees and taxes, you may not actually be booking the least expensive airfare.

Now that you’ve saved money on your airfare, there are some things that you can do to help save money in other areas of your flight.

  • Find out what the maximum luggage weight is for the airline you are traveling, and make sure you don’t exceed it. If you check in luggage that is over the weight limit, the airline can charge you a fee for each bag that is over the limit.
  • If you are driving to the airport, plan to leave early enough so that you can park at one of the off site parking facilities that are close to the airport.
  • Ifyou’ve got a college age niece or nephew, next door neighbor or someone in that age range who lives nearby ask them to drive you to and from the airport. You can pay them $25 each way and save a bundle on airport parking, and get door to door service to the airport.
  • Take your own snacks. If your airline does serve food, they may charge for itArticle Search, and chances are it won’t be very good. You also won’t be tempted to pay the high price for the snacks you buy at the concessions after security because you’ll already have what you’ll need on the plane.
  • Same goes for your reading materials. Bring your own that you already have at home instead of buying them from the airport stores. A flight is the perfect time to read that book you’ve been meaning to read.

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