Going The Distance – How To Save Money By Waiting For The Right Time To Book Your Flight
With airfares becoming increasingly budget-friendly in recent years, there’s never been a better time to go the distance and explore the world. Whether it’s a beach vacation in Thailand, a sightseeing trip in Europe or an Asian business meeting, finding the perfect flight at the most affordable price is key. By planning ahead and waiting for the right time to book, travelers can save hundreds of dollars and increase their travel budget.
Armed with the right tools and knowledge, savvy travelers can stay knowledgeable of the best deals and make informed bookings. Utilize online fare comparison tools, such as Kayak, Expedia, and Skyscanner to receive real-time information on competitively-priced fares. Utilizing these resources can help determine the cheapest day to fly and the exact date to book.
Set a budget to keep tab of the costs. Don’t exceed your budget and book the highest fare. By paying attention to any additional features of the flight and their respective pricing, you can avoid unnecessary expenses. Airlines often charge extra for upgrades and other services, such as checked bags and priority boarding.
Try to be flexible and open to different flight times and days. Sunday and afternoon flights tend to be more expensive, and booking the cheapest available option that accommodates your needs can save you a substantial amount of money. Additionally, longer layovers or connecting flights can ultimately lead to lower fares when compared to non-stop flights.
Don’t book flights solely based on price. Consider the airline itself and the amenities you’ll be receiving. Airlines such as Qatar Airways, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are renowned for their world-class service, and they come at a premium. However, certain airlines offer competitive fares without skimping on service. Do your research on the airline to ensure a smooth flight, regardless of its price.
Take advantage of early bird discounts. Airlines such as Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines often announce their exclusive early bird promotions months in advance, allowing travelers to save money on flight bookings.
Be alert and actively check if there are fluctuations in the price. Airlines often conduct devaluations without prior notice, and keeping track of it can help you save money. With the rise of powerful fare tracking tools, you’ll be notified the moment any fluctuation in the fare is detected.
Know Your Airport
Most airports tend to be home to a variety of airlines and routes, and sometimes the least expensive option may require you travel to a nearby airport. For example, if you fly out of London, United Kingdom, consider nearby Gatwick or Stansted Airport as they often have low cost carriers available. Make sure you research the relative distance of the airports from your starting point and factor in the transportation cost to and from the airport.
Research different airports and understand how they operate. Some airports have extended waiting times at customs, long taxiing times to and from the gates, or long check-in lines. Make sure you look this information up ahead of time to ensure your travel day is as hassle-free as possible.
Consider carrying a minimum of personal belongings in order to take advantage of low-cost airlines and other airlines that only allow a limited number of checked bags in order to cut cost. Packing light can save you lots of extra money in the long run compared to paying out for checked baggage.
Finally, if travelling with someone else, explore the idea of purchasing a single, return ticket for two people. Some airlines offer discounts for two one-way tickets when booked at the same time.
Be Vigilant Before Booking
Be sure to research the airline’s policies and understand what you’re paying for. Different airlines have widely varying restrictions, so the cost of a ticket could include several different restrictions or fees depending on the fare class. Be aware of any hidden fees that may arise from your itinerary. Don’t blindly purchase a ticket without viewing the fine print.
Read reviews online to determine the airline’s reputation for flight cancellations, customer service, and in-flight amenities. Some airlines may offer low fares but come with a poor history of customer service and onboard product.
Check any discounts or benefits you may be eligible for.
Popular credit cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture often offer a variety of air travel rewards. Additionally, some airlines, such as Etihad, reward frequent flyers with low fare alerts and free upgrades when available.
Many airfares come with free changes or cancellations within 24 hours of purchase. When available, take the opportunity to book a flight first and pay later. Doing so allows the luxury to review prices the following day for any discrepancies or changes.
Finally, review and take advantage of any flight alerts. Get notifications when flight prices drop or when there are updates to your flight. You’ll be able to save time and money by keeping alerts on.
Explore Other Booking Options
Explore different options such as package deals or flight points. Airlines, such as Qatar Airways and Emirates, occasionally offer exclusive flight and hotel deals at a discounted rate, so don’t always opt for booking a flight first. You may end up paying less and securing better deals when booking a package.
Additionally, if your budget is tight, consider using points to offset the cost of a flight. A variety of points are available for cash purchases, includingMany airlines such as Delta, United and American Airlines have reward programs that could potentially save you hundreds of dollars on your next trip.
Signing up for airline and loyalty programs through your email address also opens a channel to be notified of any flight discounts or promotions. While not every airline has a loyalty program, those who do will have periodic discounts available exclusively to members.
Finally, for long-haul flights, choose airlines that offer perks such as complimentary meals, snacks, Wi-Fi, and entertainment. Most airlines offer a hassles free booking policy, so you can select and book a flight right away.
Tips Before Flying
Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork ready prior to check-in. Having a passport, visa and other documentation in order before heading to the airport can help to make the check-in procedure less stressful and far quicker! Make sure to check the airline website for specific information on passport and visa requirements.
If you’re a traveler withAdded, Extra Leg Room, (AER) needs, try to book the seating section of the plane that offers additional space. This may require a slight additional fee, but it can be well worth it to ensure adequate comfort and convenience while on board.
Check in online where possible. Most airlines offer online check-in, which can considerably speed up the boarding process, and receive seat assignments ahead of time. This can save valuable minutes that would be spent waiting in line at the airport ticket desk.
Finally, try and arrive at the airport at least 45 minutes before departure. This will give you ample time to check in and clear security without worrying about possible delays. Then you’ll be sure to enjoy your flight with plenty of time to spare.
Q: How can I save money when booking a flight?
A: By planning ahead and waiting for the right time to book, travelers can save hundreds of dollars and increase their travel budget. Utilize online fare comparison tools, such as Kayak, Expedia, and Skyscanner to receive real-time information on competitively-priced fares. Consider setting a budget and pay attention to additional features such as upgrades and other services. Also, taking advantage early bird discounts and flight alerts can help you secure cheaper fares.
Q: What can I do to ensure I have an enjoyable flight?
A: Read reviews online to determine the airline’s reputation for flight cancellations, customer service, and in-flight amenities. Check any discounts or benefits you may be eligible for. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation ready prior to check-in. If you’re a traveler with extra legroom needs, try to book the seating section of the plane that offers additional space. Lastly, check in online where possible, and arrive at the airport at least 45 minutes before departure.