Don’t Worry, Fly Happy: How to Cut Your Travel Costs
Booking a flight for your next vacation can feel daunting. But with enough foresight you can simplify the process and reduce your airfare cost considerably. Get this tedious chore over with ASAP and start thinking about what really matters, like whether you prefer to be sipping pina coladas in Hawaii or backpacking across Europe.
Do Your Research
Do your research before booking a flight. Many times you can cut your airfare cost in half by spending the extra time signing up for reward programs and hunting for special deals online.
There are an abundance of reward programs travelers can choose from. If you’re a frequent flyer take advantage of travel reward credit cards. Typically these credit cards work on a point-based system. Alternatively, American Airlines has the AAdvantage Program that allows travelers to earn miles on everyday purchases. If you sign up for LifeLock through this program, you can start off with 5500 miles and receive a 10 percent discount on identity theft protection.
Social media can also be a useful resource when searching for airfare deals and coupons. If you’ve liked your favorite airline on Facebook or are following it on Twitter, check to see if there are any active promotions. You can also follow pages like Airfarewatchdog for low airfare alerts on all airlines. Don’t discount forums either, places like FlyerTalk offer myriad tips and deals for flyers.
Book Your Trip Wisely
When you’re booking a flight which idiom is the best advice? The early bird catches the worm or slow and steady wins the race? Answer: Neither! The trick here is to find a good balance between booking too early and booking too late.
According to Kansas.com, booking a flight 60 days in advance is the magic number since airlines will typically start discounting prices for unsold seats around this time. Another thing to consider when booking are bundles; purchase your airfare and hotel at the same time and you can save up to $525, reports Travelocity.
It might seem counterintuitive to book two trips instead of one to save money, but many travel vets do just that. For example, U.S. News suggests if you’re traveling to England, that you fly to Ireland instead and ferry to your final destination. You can also save on taxes by choosing your airport wisely.
The Day of the Flight
If you’re not careful, baggage fees can really rack up. Avoid paying a fortune for your luggage by wearing it instead. Yes, you read that right. Jaktogo is clothing that disguises as a suitcase, which means fewer baggage fees without having to leave behind important personal belongings. Take along a carry-on, as well, those are almost always fee free.
Following basic strategies, like choosing to fly on a Wednesday morning instead of a Friday night, will also save you a nice chunk of change. Another way to save money is on airport parking. The Krazy Coupon Lady advises choosing surface parking over covered garage parking, parking farther away from terminals or nix the parking altogether and pay for a friend to drive you to the airport.
Now go forth and start your search. Happy adventuring!
April Lewis-Parks has more than 15 years of experience in the financial sector, she is a certified financial counselor, and a consumer affairs advocate. As the director of education and public relations for Consolidated Credit she is dedicated to generating awareness about personal finance issues and acts as their consumer affairs advocate. As host of MissMoneyBee.com, she promotes financial education and offers timely and informative personal finance articles to educate the public. April’s promotional efforts can be seen in past issues of the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday, Consumer Reports, the Business Journals, Money Magazine, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, among others. Connect with April on Google+.