We love to travel, but it can really hurt your budget when you have to buy plane tickets for an entire family multiple times per year. Here are 5 Ways To Save On Plane Tickets that we have used in the last few years to make our travels more affordable.
5 Ways To Save On Plane Tickets
Sometimes, it is simply going to be a bit expensive to make it happen. However, we feel you can manage to take a vacation of some kind regardless of your budget restrictions. Flying is often more expensive than driving, but in some cases the opposite is true. With rising gas prices, hotel prices and meal prices along the way taking a plane to your destination can often lead to higher savings in the long run. Frugal travel means comparing options and using the best ideas to save money.
Here are some easy ways to save on airfare:
Airline rewards programs. We are huge fans of Southwest, Alaska and Frontier airlines because of the high rate of rewards per flight they offer compared to others. Not only are their flight prices lower than other national airlines, their rewards are higher. For every flight you book, you earn points to cash in for future flights. Each person, including children, can set up their own account to earn points. Southwest even offers points for dining at restaurants, renting cars and booking hotels through their site.
Southwest has a “Want To Get Away” option that is often 1/3 the price of other airlines. This option is the same seat you would get with other tickets on Southwest, it just ends up being non-refundable unlike others. If you are certain of your flight, it’s the way to go. Opt for the upsell to get into line earlier for boarding, or simply set an alarm to check in as soon as the 24-hour early check window opens. Southwest doesn’t offer assigned seating, but if you check in early you can board first and get the seat you prefer. For us that is actually in the back, but for most that would be toward the front for fast departure at your arrival destination. Did you know that Southwest Airline is the only airline that does NOT charge you for baggage? Yes, this can actually make or break which airline you fly, especially for the airlines that like to nickel and dime you for everything. Spirit is a site that offers SUPER cheap deals, but will nickel and dime you for everything. Be sure to stay tuned for a post on how to wiggle around their fees and still get a great deal!
Credit card rewards programs. Many people frown on using credit cards, but with anything in life doing so responsibly is perfectly fine. Using your cards and paying them off each month is a great way to build credit, but also to earn rewards points. There are several credit cards that offer a bonus, cash back or rewards points for purchases each year. Roll these rewards over into your travel fund, or apply directly toward flight purchases. Capital One, Discover Card and American Express tend to have the best options for rewards programs overall.
Book early. It is true that waiting until the last minute can mean you spend more money. It can be a guessing game to know when’s the best time to buy airfare tickets. The perfect window seems to be in the 90-120 day window prior to your flight. If you wait past 45 days from flight date you tend to spend a significant amount more than you would have earlier. Always try to book your flights at the earliest possible convenience.
Compare rates on deal sites. Sometimes there are better rates when you name your own price, or when you compare package deals on deal sites. Priceline, Groupon, Hotels.com, Living Social, Kayak and more all offer unique savings opportunities. Before you click purchase, make sure you have checked every possible avenue for a special deal, freebie or reward opportunity. You can also use these sites to find great hotel deals.
Use a travel agent. While not always the best savings option, travel agents are a choice to consider. They typically won’t save you as much on flights as you can find alone on your own, but if you are also booking a hotel stay, car rental or entertainment at your destination there are almost always special rates they can give you to save money and include more perks. It’s worth a call to make sure before you book.
Traveling doesn’t have to break the bank, and flying can be an affordable alternative even for larger families. Take advantage of our favorite ways to save on plane tickets for your next vacation destination.
Before you go, be sure to check out some of these travel tips to help you save on your next vacation: