Airfare is a strange commodity in many ways. Although there is a set market price for tickets, those market prices are largely decided by people rather than through buying and selling. Ticket prices can vary based on a wide range of different factors – Flight demand, time of day, number of empty seats, gas prices, taxes and fees and so on. Because airfare can fluctuate so much, that means there’s absolutely an opportunity to save money for people who’re diligent about finding deals.
So what are some effective ways to save dough on your airfare expenses?
Hack Your Frequent Flyer Miles
There are quite a lot of tricks you can use to boost your frequent flyer miles. More frequent flyer miles of course means more free flights and more free flight upgrades. Here are a few good tricks:
- If you plan on flying often, shoot for an Elite level frequent flyer card. These cards earn you more miles and give you bigger discounts. Often time’s it’ll also grant you access to the airline lounge, where you get free food and coffee.
- See if you can put large expenses on your frequent flyer card, and then pay them off right away. Instead of writing a check for your doctor’s visits or for your rent for instance, see if they can charge it to your card.
- Look for special deals with specific brands. For example, United Airlines might give you an extra 5 miles per dollar spent on Dell.com. If you buy a $500 computer, that’s an extra 2,500 miles. Look for purchases that you were going to make anyway in the next few months and take advantage of these deals.
- Sometimes it makes sense to buy frequent flyer miles. Sometimes it doesn’t. Make sure you do the math to see whether you get a better value dollar for dollar.
Learn to use frequent flyer miles. They can be fantastic tools in getting cheap or free airfare.
Use the “Whole Month” Search Function
Some comparison engines have an option where you can compare prices for the entire month. The prices for flights on each day are laid out in a calendar.
A flight from SFO to London might go for anywhere between $800 to $1,200. What you’ll generally find is that there’s a median price – In this case, it might be just above $1,000. But dispersed throughout the month will be a few days where there’s a drastically lower price.
This might be because they need to fill a specific flight. It might be because a late night flight isn’t attracting enough buyers. It could be because an airline is contractually required to fly that flight, even if demand doesn’t necessarily say they should. It could be for a host of reasons.
Identify these price anomalies and jump on them. Use the “whole month” search feature to find abnormally low prices.
Search With the “Everywhere”Option
Some flight search engines will allow you to search for flights to “everywhere” or “anywhere” from one airport. If you’re looking for vacation ideas or don’t really care where you’re going, use this option to explore cheap flight ideas.
For instance, let’s say you’re planning a two month European trip. You land in France and want to fly to another country before leaving. You can just type in “Everywhere” in the destination box to find cheap flights to anywhere else in Europe.
Build Your Own Connecting Flights
Building your own connecting flights won’t save you money on the face value of your ticket. But it can get you a free vacation.
Let’s say you’re taking a flight from London to Israel. You notice that almost all flights from London to Israel pass through Greece. Instead of buying a connecting flight, why not stop over in Greece?
If you check the flight costs, you’ll find that you’re spending about the same amount of money to cut your flights in half. So you can stop over in Greece for a 4 day vacation at no extra airfare cost.
These are a few different ways you can save a bunch of dough on your next vacation or business trip. None of these techniques cost any money or take much time at all. All you need is the willingness to pay a little bit more attention than most people to money saving details.
Author Bio – This is a guest post by Dillon Michaelson from Insanely Cheap Flights. They specialize in providing cheap airline tickets that you might not find on any other travel website. If you’re looking to fly to Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas and other destinations within US and Caribbean, Spirit Airlines would be the perfect choice.