How do you get the best deal on airfare? According to a study done by CheapAir.com, you should book your flight 76 days in advance, on average, to receive the lowest possible price. Now don’t go counting out 76 days just yet…every person’s trip is different and a variety of factors went into obtaining this number. CheapAir.com does state booking a flight within 21-115 days in advance will also give you a price not far off from the lowest possible price.
Here are some best practices to follow when you are booking a flight:
Timing is everything: We already mentioned how many days in advance you should purchase your tickets, but what about which day of the week? A study by FareCompare.com suggests purchasing tickets on a Tuesday usually yields lower prices. They even go into further detail and suggest making your purchase at 3pm Eastern time to maximize your chances of obtaining the lowest possible price. Lastly, flying on a Wednesday or Saturday could bring down your costs as well as flying late at night or early in the morning.
Stay informed: As soon as you know the date of your trip, start looking up airline fares. Checking prices daily and getting a feel for the average price helps when booking a flight. Stay connected by “liking” various airline companies you are considering on Facebook and “following” them on Twitter. Deals via social media are the latest trend for airline companies. Sign up for various email alerts through travel websites to gather information on a wide variety of airlines. For example, Expedia and Skyscanner are great resources to use when searching for flights. We also suggest signing up for various airline companies’ newsletters. Newsletters can give ideas on where to fly for an up-and-coming vacation for cheap if you are not already set on a destination.
Flexibility: This brings us to being flexible! Taking into consideration holidays and which season you are looking to fly also factors into your overall costs. Flying into an alternate airport and renting a car to drive the rest of the way could save you hundreds as well.
Prepare: Prior to getting to the airport, look up the airline’s baggage information and possible fees. Packing less or within certain restrictions could ultimately save you money in the long run. We also found that waiting until the last minute to get a flight does not save you money, but often times leads you to spend more than you would have if planned in advance.
Programs: Airline loyalty programs or frequent flyer miles offered by credit card companies could help you snag a great deal on a flight.
Think outside the box: This could simply mean mixing and matching various airlines to get the lowest possible price for your trip. Another way to help reduce costs is to break up larger groups. While this could seem to have the opposite effect, buying tickets together in bulk could actually cost more.
While a variety of factors come into play when booking a flight, being proactive and constantly checking airline prices may significantly reduce the cost of your flight. To help you best prepare for your next trip, download and print your FREE Travel Checklist!
Have your destination picked out, but need help funding your next vacation? Don’t stress, we might be able to help! We will work with you to help you find a solution that best fits your budget and needs. Contact your local Mariner Finance branch today to discover how we can help!