This blog post was updated on April 4, 2022.
When you’re jet-setting across the globe, travel costs can take a heavy toll on your bank account. And dropping money on overpriced airline food and in-demand flights means less cash to spend in the cities you’ve been waiting ages to visit. Keep these useful tips and tricks in mind to learn simple ways to cut travel costs when you fly in no time!
Book in Advance and be Flexible on Your Travel Dates
They’re the most critical aspects of saving money on travel. Avoid weekends if possible, since the most popular flights are Friday-Sunday. Instead, consider leaving mid-week, Monday through Thursday. You’ll find more inventory available, which will result in lower fares!
Try to Avoid Peak Travel Seasons
There is more demand for peak travel from the beginning of June through the Labor Day Weekend. Demand is extremely high and flights are very full, which means the airlines have no need to discount their fares.
Airlines are charging for checked baggage, carry-on items and some even charge to print boarding passes at airline counters these days. So check-in online and keep your baggage and carry-on items to a minimum!
Consider Secondary or Smaller Airport Locations
Minor airports will sometimes have a lower-priced fare as compared to flying to major ones. For example, there will be cheaper flights into Chicago Midway Airport as compared to flying into Chicago O’Hare. Sure, it may not be as convenient for some travelers, but the savings can be substantial enough to consider flying into a smaller airport.
Bring Your Own Food
The costs of food and drinks on planes and at the airports are often very expensive. Consider bringing your own foods to eat on long flights or during layovers.
Bundle Up by Booking Flight Tickets and Hotel Rooms Together
Booking your airfare and lodging as a package deal can save you a considerable amount of money. An remember that you do not have to book a pre-packaged combination of flight and lodging. Most packages will allow you to mix and match different options as long as you book both elements at the same time!
Get an Airport Lounge Perk
While they may seem like an expensive investment, you can save a significant amount of money with an airport lounge pass. These passes give you access to premium lounges that offer complimentary snacks, drinks, Wi-Fi, and more. If you have time to kill at the airport, you might as well enjoy the free perks of an airport lounge rather than dumping money into the expensive food and drink in the terminal.
Get TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Fees Reimbursed
One of the best ways to save time, and hence money, is to sign up for the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry programs and ask for reimbursement from an employer. With either of these programs, you will sail through security much more quickly using the expedited lanes. You may find that your credit card will reimburse these costs if you do not have an employer who will cover these application fees.
You may also like: 8 Ways to Axe Costs and Save Money When Flying for the Holidays
Book a Flight That Takes Off at Unusual Hours
Booking a flight at off-peak times will also save you money on your flight costs. You will typically find that flights during prime travel times will have an upcharge baked into the total price. Conversely, flights that leave first thing in the morning or redeye routes are typically less expensive. If you are willing to travel during those off-peak times, you will see the most savings.
Become a Frequent Flier by Sticking to One Airline
Airlines like to reward loyal travelers. This makes choosing one airline and sticking with it for the majority of your travel a good idea. Stockpiling your frequent flyer miles will provide you with free flights or discounted prices on your airfare. You may even gain access to early sale prices if you are a loyal customer!
Always Plan to Arrive at the Airport Early
Arriving at the airport early will save on unexpected costs that you may incur out of desperation. For example, taking public transportation is less expensive than being forced to hail a cab because you are running late. You will also avoid surge pricing on elements of the trip such as rideshares if you plan accordingly.
Take a Longer Flight…or Schedule a Longer Layover
Although it may be an inconvenience, one of the best ways to save money — especially if you’re trying to find cheap multi city flights — is to schedule a longer layover or book multiple legs. Direct flights are typically more expensive because they take less travel time and are more convenient. Rather than looking at a longer layover as a hindrance, explore ways that you can get extra work done or relax in an airport lounge during this additional time.
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