Guest post by Abby of Mother on a Mission
I enjoy thinking big when it comes to saving money. Getting a great deal on a large purchase, like a plane ticket, can often surpass the savings you’ll see from a month of clipping coupons for the grocery store (don’t worry, I do that, too).
With countless websites promising the deepest discounts on airfare, it would be entirely possible to spend hours upon hours in search of the lowest rate. Instead of wasting time doing that, you can follow a few easy tips to save yourself the hassle and headache of an hours-long search.
1. Use an airfare search engine.
My personal favorite is kayak.com, because it really just facilitates your search of hundreds of other sites, both individual airline sites, like Delta, and discount airfare sites, like Expedia. Just use whatever website you’re most comfortable with, since most offer similar features.
2. Be flexible.
Typically, the cheapest days to fly are in the middle of the week, and the most expensive days are Friday and Sunday. So, if you want to get the best price on a plane ticket (and if you have wiggle room in your plans) select the “flexible dates” option when you search. This will allow you to select a date, and then search up to three days before and after.
You can also choose to search nearby airports. I recently bought plane tickets for my husband and I to fly to Florida for a friend’s wedding. I listed a larger city as the destination airport, but I also opted to search nearby airports. I ended up booking flights into a smaller airport that is actually closer to where we’ll be staying. Not only are the departure and arrival times ideal, but the price was about $50 less per ticket.
3. Consider Southwest.
Southwest sometimes gets a bad reputation for their no-frills approach to flying. By cutting costs, though, they’re able to pass their savings on to the customer. In addition, Southwest consistently receives top scores in customer service. The thing to remember about Southwest is that the only place to find their airfare is through their own website; a search at an independent travel site will not include results for Southwest.
Southwest allows each passenger two checked bags for free, and they’re one of the few remaining airlines to do that. Most other airlines charge at least $25 per checked bag; depending on your travel plans and your potential need to check luggage, this is a savings that should be taken into account when booking a flight.
4. Use a coupon.
You can’t clip a coupon for a discount on airfare the way you can for toothpaste, but there are still ways to save. If you work for a large company, you might get travel discounts through your employer. Don’t forget to do a quick internet search for a coupon code before you purchase.
And remember, the savings don’t end when you book your flight. Keep looking for ways to save money once you reach your destination!
Abby is a work-from-home wife and mom who recently relocated from Oregon to Mississippi. She enjoys baking, front-porch-swinging, and road trips. Abby blogs about southern living and saving money at Mother on a Mission and runs the Etsy shop, Three Thousand Miles, with her sister-in-law.