First off, a big THANK YOU to Jamie over at Blonde Mom Blog for sharing my post ”5 Tips for Thrifty Travel” over on her blog earlier in the week. In case you missed it, here’s Part II in the travel series, which focuses on the ‘how” of the vacation – as in “HOW are you going to get there?”.
When I think of vacations my mind automatically goes back to my childhood days when my family would shove us all in a minivan and make the 16 hour trek from southern Virginia to Maine each summer. You learn a lot about your family members when you’re stuck in a car with them for that many hours – the good, the BAD, and most certainly the ugly.
Then my adult self discovered something called an airplane. Not that I would give up any of those long car rides with my extended family – those are some of the best memories for me. But sometimes, you’ve just got to fly. Here are 5 tips for saving cash when you’re taking it to the skies.
1) Use those miles.
When you think of airline miles, most of us think of miles that we collect for flying. But there are other ways to collect miles on your favorite airline. Many car rental agencies will give you miles with every rental (just look for the field to enter your frequent flier number), and credit card companies will let you turn in those coveted points for airline miles or tickets as well. My husband and I have taken 4 trips this year and haven’t paid for any flights thanks to airline miles!
2) Be flexible.
Mid-week flights are normally cheaper, so consider flying out on a Wednesday instead of a Saturday. If you can avoid peak seasons, do it. A Caribbean vacation is a lot cheaper in September and October, and you get to avoid all those crowds on the beach as well!
3) Shop around.
Airfares are not always created equal. Check with an aggregate site like Orbitz or Expedia, and once you find the flight you want, check with the airline directly as well to make sure you’re getting the best price. Keep in mind that some airlines (like Southwest), don’t allow their flights to be sold through aggregate websites, so you’ll have to visit their site directly for pricing.
4) Discount it!
We’ve all seen those promo code boxes and steamed with envy at the lucky few who must have a discount code (…or maybe its just me?). Although airlines don’t normally blast promo codes widespread, they do provide special offers and discounts to their best customers, email members, etc. Long story short, make sure you are signed up for your fav airline’s newsletter or app (like Southwest’s DING! and American‘s DealFinder).
5) Watch the clock.
Most airlines release new/reduced domestic fares on Tuesdays around 2pm central, and international fares on Wednesday around midnight. I recently found a flight for $100 cheaper on Tuesday than it was on the previous day. Not in the mood to watch the clock? Use airfarewatchdog.com to alert you when your chosen flight gets cheaper.
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