Photo courtesy of Joy Cuales
Airfare and add-on fees usually take a chunk out of everyone’s travel budget, putting a pressure on their wallets. Nevertheless, experienced travelers always find ways to get the cheapest flights possible. And here are tips to help you do just that—outsmart airline companies and save money on your next trip.
1. Plan ahead and book right.
Buy your tickets early. Airlines normally offer discounted fares for early bookings. A recent study by Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation reveals that 57 days, or roughly 2 months, before departure is the best day to book domestic flights. On the other hand, the ideal advance purchase time for international flights is 160 days before departure.
2. Avoid peak travel dates.
Traveling off-season, like for example, going to the beach
or to other summer destinations
during the rainy season instead of during summer, allows you to find better bargains—from cheaper plane tickets to low-cost tour packages and lower hotel rates. There are fewer crowds as well, which mean better service from staffs. Low season in the Philippines typically falls between June and November, spanning the rainy season, while high season is on during summertime, from March to May. Peak season also includes holidays such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Holy Week, which also mark the most expensive time to travel. A word of caution, though. If you finally choose to travel during the rainy months, be sure that you are well-prepared
3. Buy connecting flights.
If you prefer convenience, book a direct flight; but if you want to stretch your budget and save some precious cash, go for indirect or connecting flights. Aside from saving some money, long layovers may also allow you to roam the city where the flights connect. Just remember to allow enough time between flights to cover for delays and other unlikely situations so you won’t miss the linking flight.
4. Save on baggage fees.
Pack light. Create a checklist of the essential things you need to bring. Remember to weigh your bag after you’ve put in everything in and then leave out unnecessary items if you’re over your baggage allowance. Check again the baggage allowance indicated in your ticket and be perfectly sure that you can avoid additional charges on excess loads.
5. Be flexible with travel dates and time.
Some airlines offer special deals and promotions in the most unexpected times, so travelers who are flexible enough to adjust their schedule can take advantage of these promos. Find good deals by searching the web for a couple of days, or even weeks, for such deals and get ready to snatch that fleeting offer.
6. Shop around and compare.
Unfortunately, airline sites don’t make it easy for you to do price comparisons. Check travel search engines for prices and compare the best deal. You will be surprised at how the prices fluctuate. Do not stick to just one website, lest you might miss other great deals. You can also compare the services of airlines
so you can decide whether you should opt to fly via a full-service airline or traveling on a budget airline will do.
7. Know when the prices drop with fare alerts.
Perhaps the easiest way to track down airfares is to sign up for email alerts. Get notified when flights to your target destination go on sale. Alerts from airlines are a free service and you can unsubscribe anytime. Give yourself the chance to make a better decision on when to book your flight and get the best deals possible.