How to Save Money on Flights

18482Planning on winging your way this summer, or perhaps in the fall when temperatures turn? Take heed, flights are a major centre of your vacation costs. That said, with a little research, flexibility and foresight, you can shave a major amount off of your air fare.

Head South

It is worth your while (seriously worth your while) to pack the family up and head south of the border to catch your flight.

Even when you figure in the cost of gas and potentially an extra overnight in a hotel, the cost of flights departing from U.S. destinations are generally a fraction of what you’d pay leaving from your hometown.

We do this every time we go away- because with a family of four, it has meant the difference of between $300 to over $1000 just for airfare. That is too big a bill to ignore.

Mid-Week Savings

Wherever possible, never fly on the weekend. You will pay a hefty premium. Typically, Tuesday and Wednesdays are the cheapest days to travel.

Be Flexible

While it would be ideal to go directly from point A to point B, that also comes at a premium. If you are willing to connect between flights, you can deepen your discounts.

In my experience, it doesn’t take that much longer to get where you are going. When my kids were little, it was actually better, because they had a chance to run around mid-trip. Numerous airports have kids’ areas or indoor playgrounds. Well worth doing a little research ahead of time.

How Far in Advance?

There are numerous schools of thought on how far in advance you should book your ticket to exact the most savings.

Some contend that being a last-minute Lucy can score big savings, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Airfares do fluctuate wildly over time, and you stand to save if you watch the ebbs and flows and know when to strike.

In my experience, I usually see the biggest savings about six weeks in advance of our departure.  Here is a study on airfare that concurs with my personal findings (well, close enough- they say seven weeks in advance is ideal).