How to Find a Budget Airfare

With airlines whittling flight routes and putting fewer planes in the air now, every seat is spoken for and prices are going up and up. Airfare can quickly become a huge expenditure, but you can use some tried and true methods to help you get the best deal available.

Book on Tuesday or Wednesday – Tuesday afternoon is the time when fare sales are announced. Airlines compete through Wednesday to match prices or go even lower, but these sales generally are over by Thursday and the cheapest seats sell out quickly, so if you find a good deal, you need to snap it up.

Fly on unpopular days – Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the least busy days to fly, which means airfare is a little bit more affordable in order to entice travelers to fill seats. You can also expect shorter security lines, which is always a plus.

Fly early in the day – Just as there are unpopular flying days, there are also times of the day that people tend to avoid. For the budget traveler, you’ll want to look at early morning flights. You might have to get up before the sun does, but you probably will save a good chunk of money and you’re way less likely to end up getting bumped from an overbooked flight or be delayed.

Use your miles – If you’ve been diligent in accumulating frequent flyer miles, trade them in for a free flight. You will only have to pay taxes and fees, which are going to cost way less than the entire cost of an airline ticket.

Fly carry-on only – Many people don’t really think about how their baggage, or lack thereof, can affect the price of their plane fare, but a checked bag can add $25 or more (each way) to your bottom line. Skip the big bag, take only what you truly need and save time at your destination by not having to wait around the baggage carrousel like so many others.

When you save on your airfare, you can splurge somewhere else on your trip or actually fit that trip into a smaller budget. It’s surprising to see how much more a flight costs during peak days and times, so when you find a discount rate, you’ll be even more excited about your travel plans.