I am not a driver. Even a destination that can be reached in 5 or 6 hours of driving is usually reached by plane if I can help it. Of course, airline tickets can be expensive and in some cases it is smarter and easier on your wallet if you simply drive. In the cases when driving is not possible, or you just can’t stand the thought of sitting in the car with screaming kids for hours on end, go ahead and book those airline tickets! But keep in mind that you don’t always have to pay an outrageous amount. Here are a few do’s and don’ts I’ve found helpful for keeping flying affordable.
1. DO: Book your flight early
For in-country flights prices usually skyrocket within 2 weeks from the departure date. International flights usually see increases from about 3 months prior, so be sure to book as early as you can to avoid a price increase.
2. Don’t: Book your flight too early
Yes, I’m contradicting myself here. While it is important to stay out of that last 2 weeks or few months for international travel, the prices on tickets fluctuate so much that prices may drop if you wait a bit. This unpredictable waiting game was the worst until I discovered Hopper. It’s an app that sends you notifications for price fluctuations. It also lets you know if it expects prices to drop lower in the future! There may be other programs out there that do the same type of thing, look around and try them out!
3. Do: Shop around
Just because one site has a great price doesn’t mean another can’t beat it! Make sure you check multiple sites and airlines before committing.
4. Don’t: Rule out other airports
Simply flying into Orange County vs LAX could save you quite a bit of money, you just may have to drive a little further to your hotel. But if the price is right, you could still end up saving!
5. Do: Limit checked bags
This varies between airlines, but most airlines will allow each person one carry-on and one personal item (a laptop or small bag). Try to pack all of your necessities into the carry-on’s and avoid paying for checked bags. If you do need to take items that need to be checked, try to keep them to a minimum so that you’ll only have to check one bag. If you end up getting on a flight that is full often times they will allow you to gate-check your carry-on bags for free to clear up overhead space. Take advantage of this!
Please leave me a comment about what tips you have for flying on the cheap!
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