How to Find the Cheapest Flights with These 5 Money-Saving Travel Tips
The only thing as good as heading on your dream vacation? Saving major green booking it.
In recent years, August 23rd, has come to be dubbed "Cheap Flight Day" in the travel world. Indeed, industry experts admit there's no miracle day to score the cheapest flights. But with late August marking the onset of off-peak airfare, we figured it was the perfect excuse to spill our favorite tips for getting cheap flights.
1. Plan a trip for September.
"If your travel dates are flexible, it's best to wait until the summertime craziness dies down and book your travel for September," shares David Solomito, North American Vice President of brand marketing at KAYAK, the popular travel search engine. "Then, both hotel and flight prices tend to see a decrease in rates. In fact, the third and fourth weeks of September typically yield great deals."
2. And consider these two incredible Southern cities for your getaway.
Ready for some number crunching? KAYAK did the grunt work for us by poring over their data. They found that the last weekend in September is the cheapest weekend of fall to travel to New Orleans with a median roundtrip airfare of $129. Miami is a close second at $138 for the fourth weekend in September. See y'all on Collins Avenue or Bourbon Street!
WATCH: What To Do In New Orleans
3. If a September trip isn't in your cards, try this rule of thumb.
In general, the sweet spot for booking airfare is six to eight weeks in advance of your vacation. We repeat: Do not be a Last-Minute Jane. "Six to eight weeks in advance is a good balance between 'early enough that you're not paying last-minute prices' and 'late enough that you have a reduced chance of having to cancel and pay a big cancellation fee," says Adam Goldstein, co-founder and CEO of Hipmunk, a free travel planning service.
4. Fly on off-peak travel days to pocket bigger savings.
"Look into flying on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, as those are days of the week when fewer people are taking leisure trips (like Fridays and Sundays)," suggests Goldstein. "Also fewer are taking business trips (like Mondays and Thursdays)."
5. Explore alternate airports.
"Alternate airports can be one of the easiest ways to potentially save hundreds of dollars on a flight," advises Goldstein. "Especially if you are planning on renting a car or if public transportation is easily accessible." Here are a few Hipmunk recommendations based on the average prices of roundtrip airfare from the past year.
- Instead of Miami ($289) fly into Fort Lauderdale ($226; 27 miles / 40-minute drive)
- Instead of Biloxi Gulfport ($438) fly into New Orleans ($302; 76 miles / 70-minute drive)
- Instead of San Antonio ($361) fly into Austin ($317; 74 miles / 70-minute drive)
- Instead of Greenville, SC ($376) fly into Charlotte, NC ($301; 84 miles / 80-minute drive)
- Instead of Louisville ($459) fly into Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky ($297; 96 miles / 90-minute drive)