How to Save Money on Airfare

In these tough economic times, airlines are cutting back on giveaways and tacking on extra fees for everything from baggage to pets. If the two of you are creative in your thinking and willing to put in some time in research (and be flexible in your plans), you can save money and make that dream vacation or honeymoon a budget-friendly reality.

Be flexible. Can you be flexible about your travel dates? The airline you select? If so, you’ll have more options that will be easier on your travel budget. Shop, compare then shop and compare some more. Airfares change constantly.

Purchase your tickets in advance. Buying in advance gives you the chance to compare fares and get in on the lowest fares; more often than not, they’ll increase as you get closer to flight date.

Fly Off-Peak. Everyone travels on Mondays and Fridays so for the best deal, look at off-peak days. When’s off peak? That depends on your destination. If it’s a business destination where business travelers might fill the plane, expect the planes to be packed and at their most expensive Monday morning and Friday afternoon. If it’s a leisure destination where travelers often head for a long weekend, look for busy Thursday, Friday, and Sunday schedules. Is it a cruise destination? Expect Saturdays to be busy. If you can, change your schedule to take advantage of low-cost days. You’ll also want to avoid holidays when there’s peak demand (although you’ll find good fares on Christmas Day itself.)

Leave at Off-Peak Times. Not only are off-peak days important, but off-peak departure times are budget savers. If you leave before sunrise or after sunset, you’ll find some sunny savings.

Sign Up for Frequent Flyer Clubs. Always take advantage of frequent flyer offers. You’ll often get some bonus miles on signup then you’ll collect miles with each flight (and often have the option of getting more miles with a particular credit card.)

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