So, you want to take a vacation this summer but you also need to pay your mortgage next month? Whether you’re getting away with the fambam or your buddies, it’s possible to give a week-long sayonara to your hometown and still keep the lights on. Cue the confetti (or body shots, we’re not judging). Here are 10 tips for booking your tickets at a steal of a deal.
1. Check Another Airport Off Your Bucket List
Sure, Dulles really captured your heart the last time you flew to Washington, D.C., but remember to check fares to the city’s other runways. The same advice applies to most destinations: The cheapest summer flights to your favorite spot might not be landing at the city’s largest airport. In fact, the cheapest route might even take you to a neighboring city.
2. Stay Home in July
Doesn’t watching the Independence Day holiday fireworks from your own back porch sound appealing? It will once you hear that traveling between mid-June and late August will lead to more expensive flights. If you take your summer vacay before June 15th or after August 20th, you’re almost sure to save some dinero.
3. Leave the Kitchen Sink at Home
Remember that time you booked cheap summer flights for the whole family and then blew the budget when you each packed four bags? Yeah, we don’t want you to be telling that story next winter, either. Pack light to avoid baggage fees or excess weight charges.
4. Go the Mix and Match Route
Guess what? There is no law that says you have to fly to and from your summer getaway on the same airline. You might find a cheap fare flying outbound on one airline, and be able to grab a super cheap ticket on a different carrier coming home. Just book your vacation in independent segments. Ain’t no shame in your bargain hunting game.
5. Believe Us When We Say Oslo is Lovely This Time of Year
Do you really need to visit London this summer? Yes, The Big Smoke is an impressive melting pot of art, culture, and tiny whimsical hats. But one of the best ways to book cheap summer airfare is by reconsidering your destination altogether. Consider a city like Oslo, Stockholm, or Milan instead to save some cash in peak travel season.
6. Cheat on Your Favorite Airline
Look, in a perfect world we would all fly in first class. Private sleep pods and free champagne are where it’s at. However, flying on discount airlines will translate to a much cheaper fare. You may not get in-flight entertainment or even food, when your tickets are a steal, bringing a sandwich on board is no big thing.
7. Book Your Digs With Your Flight
Just when you think you’ve found the lowest ticket price for your next trip, consider this: Booking your hotel at the same time might make it even cheaper. Online travel agencies like Expedia offer packages that combine hotels and flights for significant discounts. Go ahead, spend your savings on an in-flight cocktail to dull the pain of listening to that crying baby.
8. Consider Your Layover a Second Holiday
Many of the cheapest summer flights take the scenic route. You can usually save some cash if you don’t go right from point A to point B. If your layover is longer than a few hours, look on the bright side: You can enjoy airport-adjacent food and shopping in a new city before you head off to your final destination.
9. Stop Searching for Your Party of Five
If a flight only has three cheap seats left and you search for five passengers, guess what? It won’t show you any of the lower fares. Search first by a party of two to get an idea of the cheapest fare available. If when you search for your entire party you notice a price increase, book the first two tickets at the cheaper fare so you save a little moola.
10. Cash in Those Miles
Stop hoarding your frequent flyer miles! Summer is peak season, so there is no better time to cash in the miles you’ve been earning all year. Even if you don’t have enough miles to get a free ticket, you may be able to slash your flying expenses by half or more.
The time to book your summer flights is now! Don’t wait until the last minute and pay so much for your ticket that your swimsuit budget takes a hit.
Where will you jet off to this summer?