4 tips for saving money on airline tickets

Plan ahead and save big to fly to your next travel destination

I don’t know about you, but the price of a ticket to fly somewhere fun can often be the sticking point on my vacation plans. With this in mind, I’m going to share the four things you should consider if you want to fly somewhere exotic without complete sticker shock.

  1. Fly out of as large an airport as you can easily reach. Small airports are an extra stop off the beaten track. They don’t have the runways necessary for larger planes to land, so you will probably have to change planes on your way to far destinations. If you are within a couple hours drive from Chicago’s O’Hare airport (ORD), New York City’s JFK, Los Angeles’ LAX, or San Francisco’s SFO airports you are almost certainly better off pricing tickets from that airport to your final destination. This is especially true of trips to other continents. The costs of parking and rental cars are generally far less than the price difference of the ticket.
  2. Be flexible in your dates. In fact, plan your trip around when the cheapest airline tickets are available. It would be great to start out on Saturday, and return on Sunday a week later. Nope. Expensive. Even more expensive are Monday and Friday departures and arrivals because those are business-travel heavy. For vacation, leave in the middle of the week, and return in the middle of the week.
  3. Book separate round trips yourself rather than relying on the travel web sites to calculate it all for you. Fly out of a large airport to a large airport. Then look at the distances and possibilities (rail, rental car, van, Uber, regional flight, etc…) to get to your dream destination. You can sometimes save even more money simply by booking each leg as a separate trip and exploiting the ‘mid week’ bargains. You’re on vacation… this is an extra opportunity to sight see and experience the area. For example, if you want to get to one of the sunny coastal towns near Lisbon, and you’re leaving from California… you book one flight from SFO or LAX to a large European airport like France’s Charles de Gaulle (CDG), London’s Heathrow (LHR), or Spain’s Barcelona (BCN) airport. Book a separate round trip ticket from Paris, London or Barcelona to Lisbon (LIS). Round trip tickets within the European Union are surprisingly cheap. You can even stay in that city for a few days when you arrive, or as you make your way back home.
  4. I’ve said this before, but I’ll throw this in because it’s a big one. Book airplane tickets six to eight weeks out from your departure. Otherwise you’re paying a premium. Often a significant one.

So that’s my public service announcement for the day. Stick with these four tips in 2019 and you’ll save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. You can stay longer, eat better, or get that once in a lifetime souvenir with the extra cash. Or maybe it will just make the difference between going or not going.

Educate me! What about you? What are your money saving tips? Drop me a comment, and don’t forget to subscribe for notice of more travel tips, tricks, and inspirations.

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