Flying is fun. It may not be just like it used to be in the past, but it can still be exhilarating to fly out to places you haven’t been to. Unfortunately, airlines are increasing the costs of tickets because of their own increasing costs, and security gets tighter because of the ever-present threat of terrorism.
Freebies are harder to come by these days, and airline personnel are being made redundant. Even common carry-ons such as golf clubs and pets are charged at customs, while baggage fees and other ticky-tacky charges are added on to the bill. Children traveling alone now pay more because they have to be watched and cared for. But, there are ways to fly smart and save if you’re creative.
Allow yourself leeway to adjust. Don’t be too picky with regards to the airline, time and day of the flight and you can save some money. Don’t be choosy (assuming you have a choice) about which airline you fly. Shop around, research, and find the cheapest way to fly. Airline specials often have hidden catches and restrictions – check all of these carefully. Make sure you’re all copacetic regarding additional charges and tax costs.
Part of flexibility includes flying on days like Tuesday through Thursday, and on Saturdays – off-peak days. Passengers on business trips fly on peak days, so don’t book on peak days unless you have no other option. Make your trip include the entire weekend if you could. You wouldn’t want to fly on Mondays and Fridays. That’s when people are either leaving or coming home. Avoid holiday travel – this goes without saying.
Advance booking always helps. We’re talking two to four months in advance. By booking well in advance, the airline can plan ahead of time and forecast the total number of passengers for the flight in question.
Before leaving for your flight, make sure you’ve checked if your fare has gone down since purchase date. If so, call and ask if they’ll offer you a refund of the difference or a travel voucher for a later flight.
By leaving before 6 AM or after 6 PM, you can experience bold savings. Sure you’d rather depart at 10AM perhaps, but get up a little earlier and catch the redeye that takes off at 3AM and pocket the savings. Besides, you’ll get to your destination earlier.
Connecting flights are often cheaper than direct flights without any layovers. Direct flights may save you a lot of time and effort, but by choosing a flight with a layover, you can at least see another airport for a change. You may have a long enough layover to make a quick tour of the city.
Collect air miles especially if you’re a frequent flyer with various programs offered by the airline and credit card companies. Sometimes, you can get a better choice of airlines through affiliate programs.
Keep all sources of confirmation and all receipts because airlines can sometimes lose miles, sometimes by accident but often on purpose. You can gain air miles by other means aside from flying. Other purchases can work as well.
Pack efficiently and don’t check through luggage if possible. Utilize your carry-ons and do without luxury items that take up space. Be strong enough and magnanimous to deal with the things you have to sacrifice on your flight. Enjoy your flight and keep your budget intact.
Author bio: Leslie Griffin covers business and marketing topics. Create custom embroidered polo shirts for your team, group or event. You can find a full line of embroidered items including embroidered hats and other apparel with an embroidered logo to promote your cause.