A genius way to save money on air travel.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
February 24, 2019
Derek Croucher/Getty Images

Been there, overpaid for that.

Air travel is no joke on your bank account, but time, as we know all too well, is also money, and who wants to spend three hours jiggering together two one-way flight routes to get a discount on your next round-trip vacation? That's where KAYAK's hacker fares come in.

As KAYAK explained it in a recent blog post,  the travel site "...[shows] you one-way flight combos right in your search results, only when and where it can actually save you time or money." It works like this: "Instead of making you book one round-trip ticket from a single airline, KAYAK plays airfare matchmaker by finding two one-way tickets that together make a round-trip flight. Sometimes that means you might take a different airline home than the one you took to your destination. Other times, it’s the same airline, but they have you in the system as two one-ways."

Next time we launch into vacation planning mode or are putting together a work trip itinerary, we'll definitely be keeping this hacker fare concept in our back pocket. In our neck of the woods, "San Antonio, Memphis, Miami and Myrtle Beach are just a couple examples of cities where you can save approximately 10 percent by booking a hacker fare," David Solomito, VP Marketing at KAYAK North America tells Southern Living.

Below, four tips from Solomito to keep in mind when booking hacker fares.

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1. Hacker fares can prove particularly great for last-minute travel.

"Whether you’re flying internationally or domestically, travelers booking a last minute trip should consider hacker fares," says Solomito. "According to KAYAK’s data, if you’re booking a flight about one week out, you might be able to save up to 12 percent by booking two one way tickets versus round-trip."

2. Hacker fares are best for winter travel.

"If you're flying within the U.S., we see the most savings on hacker fares during the winter months (December through February).," advises Solomito. Girlfriend Getaway, Cold Months Edition, here we come.

3. Don't forget about your luggage.

"If you do end up booking a hacker fare that uses different airlines, make sure to consider your baggage situation," cautions Solomito. "KAYAK’s Baggage Fee Assistant was designed to help travelers understand how flight costs change as you add more bags."

4. Book ASAP before the deal is gone.

"When booking a Hacker Fare on KAYAK, be sure to act quickly and double-check that prices for both tickets are available before booking," offers Solomito. "To do this, simply open each booking page in a new tab (since you will likely be booking on two different airline pages) and double-check the price and availability. Book and you’re good to go. You can even forward your bookings to trips@kayak.com and we’ll start building an itinerary for you in KAYAK Trips."

Now, if only we could find a hacker route to beat rush-hour traffic to the airport.

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