The time and the way you book your tickets can work wonders for your wallet. If you just go through the typical tactics people use to save money on tickets, such as booking through an aggregator, you can often save 5% to 10%. If you follow the tips we’re about to cover however, you can save as much as 10% to 30% on your plane ticket.
Here are a few tips to help you get an absolute steal on your next flight.
The Best Days of the Week to Fly
Generally speaking, you want to book your flight on either a Tuesday or a Thursday. Nobody knows the exact reason, but these two days tend to have the cheapest flights all around.
The more inconvenient the hours are of the flight, the cheaper they’ll be. A 7:00am flight for example could easily save you 30% off.
The Best Time to Book Your Flight
Did you know that different times of booking a flight can result in different prices? That’s because airlines delete reservations that weren’t actually booked. When that happens, a flight’s occupancy rate can drop, which lowers the price as well to entice customers.
The best time to do this is 12:00am local time, depending on where the airline you’re booking with is based. Visit the airline’s website to figure out where their headquarters is, then use a time calculator to figure out when 12:00am is in their time zone.
Log into their website a few minutes after 12:00am on Wednesday and book your flight. Often time’s the prices will be lower than just a few minutes before.
Return Flights Vary
Keep in mind that return flights sometimes break the pattern. The best day to fly out might be on Tuesday, but your cheapest return flight might be on a Sunday.
Make sure to check all days of the week on your return flight for the best deal.
What Airline Should You Fly With?
If you’re flying within the United States, flying with JetBlue or Southwest Airlines is a great bet. These two airlines make it their mission to provide the lowest prices possible for domestic flights.
If you’re flying domestically within Europe, check out Ryan Air or EasyJet. Both of these airlines offer flights for as little as 10 Euros – Under $14, not including fees. If you’re in Asia, AirAsia is the most popular discount airlines.
Even discount airlines can offer discounts. Check their websites and sign up for their mailing list to get more details.
The Best Times of Year to Travel
The most important thing with timing your trip is to avoid any holidays. That might seem like common sense, but most people forget to check holiday schedules on their destination.
If you’re going to Thailand, make sure you don’t land on Songkran (Thai New Year) or the Lantern Festival. If you’re going to Israel, make sure you don’t land on a Jewish holiday. If you’re going to a European country, make sure you don’t go on the queen’s birthday (and not just the British queen, but the queen of the country you’re visiting.) If you’re going to China, make sure you don’t land on Chinese New Year.
Flight prices are affected not just by western holidays, but by the holidays of your destination.
Flights are generally cheapest between January 3rd and the beginning of March. Once everyone has gone home from their Christmas vacations and their New Years celebrations, there’s typically a huge dip in flight demand. This is the best time to travel.
Who Has the Best Frequent Flyer Programs
Three of the best frequent flyer programs are:
Southwest Rapid Rewards. If you fly domestic often, this is a winner. There are no fees for changing your flight and you get not one but two free bags.
United Airlines. Because United covers so much ground both domestic and international, if you frequently fly to different destinations in the world this is a good program to bet on. You can get mileage for any Star Alliance carrier, including Continental Airlines and Lufthansa.
American Airlines. The AAdvantage program gives you miles on not just American Airlines, but also British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas. Flights start at as low as 12,500 miles.