The holidays are here and we all know what that means; the busiest traveling time of the year! I myself just flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles to spend Thanksgiving with my family and the airport was quite busy, in fact I had to wait in a line to wait in a line (if that makes sense). Traveling may be a bit tedious and time consuming during the holiday season, however it can also be quite affordable if you follow a few basic tips.
Selecting the airline
I usually travel on Virgin America or Southwest Airlines because I have found them to be the two cheapest airlines when it comes to domestic travel. For example, when I fly from San Francisco to Los Angeles I usually pay around $100 for a round trip ticket which is cheaper then spending money on gas if I were to drive (and it saves a lot more time as well).
Purchase in advance
If you really want to save money on holiday travel then try to book your flights a few weeks in advance. You can end up getting a $300 ticket to your destination for around 20% of the price! Most airlines usually have these deals if you book at least 2 weeks in advance however I would recommend booking 3+ weeks in advance if you can.
Be flexible with dates
When purchasing your tickets try to have some flexibility with your flight dates. Instead of flying out on a Sunday try to fly out on a Monday. When you purchase tickets from most airlines you have the option to select nearby dates and you can see for yourself how much the cost varies depending on the day that you fly. I flew to Los Angeles on a Monday afternoon, had I flown the day before on Sunday, I would have ended paying 3x the price. Flexibility with dates is important when you’re trying to keep your costs down so make sure you give yourself a few dates to play with.
If all else fails and you can’t seem to find a cheap flight then you can turn to sites like Cheap-O-Air or Cheap Tickets. I have used both of these sites numerous times and have been able to keep my flight costs considerably lower than going directly through an airline. Usually when I use Cheap-O or Cheap Tickets I end up flying United Airlines, just because they are the one’s with the cheapest prices at the time.
Try to avoid packing a lot of stuff because oftentimes airlines will charge you for extra bags. Southwest Airlines is good about NOT charging for checked baggage (unless you bring several), most other airlines are not so nice. Try to pack just what you need, remember you get one carry on and one personal. I usually keep some extra clothes in LA when I visit my parents so all I really travel with is my laptop which is great because I don’t have to worry about waiting in lines to check anything in. Sometimes this is unavoidable though, and if that’s the case make sure to go with an airline such as Southwest.
By following these simple and easy travel tips you should be able to save yourself quit a bundle when traveling during the holiday season (or for any other time).
Do you have any other tips you can share for saving money on flights?