There’s nothing worse than hitting “purchase” on your airline tickets – only to find a cheaper fare for the same flight the next day. Here, Melisse Hinkle, a travel expert and site editor of Cheapflights.com, shares her tips for getting the best deal on airfare.
Timing is everything
Get out the calendar and choose your travel days carefully. The middle of the week is golden for travelers. Airlines and hotels know that Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday are the easiest times to travel, so prices are higher. If you can travel on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, you’re likely to get lower prices on both your flight and your hotel.
Another way to maximize your time is to get on the first flight of the day, since it’s the least likely to get delayed. The first and last flights of the day are also usually less in demand than the flights in daylight hours. For real bargains, fly on actual holidays whenever possible.
Consider a vacation package
If you can’t find the right flight deal, consider a bargain-priced vacation deal. Vacation packagers buy blocks of flights to bundle with hotel nights. As departure dates approach, unsold packages are offloaded at discounted prices. You may be able to purchase an entire package at less than the cost of an available flight.
‘Flights + Hotels’ packages also mean savings
If a package deal isn’t to your taste or budget, don’t give up on bundling your trip purchases to save. Searching for your flight and hotel (and/or rental car) almost always is cheaper than booking them separately. Just pay attention to the check-in and check-out dates when you get to the hotel booking stage, especially if you are flying overnight. You do have the freedom to adjust the exact hotel dates – also handy if you are planning side trips.