Summer is often the best and only time for us to escape and get away for family vacations. Unfortunately, while school break is in full swing, the high ticket demand allows the airlines to sometimes double or triple their ticket prices.
Sometimes you’ll hear about situations where people purchased airfare at half the cost of other people on the same exact flight. To put the odds in favor of you being in the former group, and not the latter, here are five useful tips to help you pay the least for your summer vacation airfare.
- Buy tickets well in advance. Studies show that on average the best airfare prices for most destinations during the summer peak time and big holidays pops up at about 76 days before travel and 47 days before travel during the rest of the year. The worst time to buy is 14 days or less in advance.
- Don’t book tickets on Fridays. While there’s no “magic booking day,” some airlines release their lowest fares on Tuesday afternoons and their competition then tries to match or beat these low fares, giving you a better selection of the cheap flights. And, since business tickets are typically priced higher than leisure tickets, searches for fares on Sundays (when little to no business travel is being booked) can be just as low as those fares posted on Tuesdays. Fridays, however, are when travelers panic and make last-minute travel plans, which allow airlines to increase fares across the board.
- Avoid Friday and Sunday travel days. Summer vacationers tend to leave for or from their destinations on Fridays and Sundays to soak up as much weekend vacation time as possible. Many business travelers will fly home Fridays and out again on Sunday evenings. Airlines capitalize on these coveted Friday and Sunday flights by increasing their fares significantly. Flying on a Saturday instead can save you some cash, but Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically the cheapest days of the week to fly.
- Plan your trip for late summer. Since students and teachers are off for summer break in June and July, these months tend to be peak season and the most expensive for air travel. With many kids and teachers going back to school mid to late August, peak season usually ends and allows for some great savings for late summer and early fall trips.
- Choose the unpopular flights. Most people do not like to board a flight at dawn or during dinner hours, or grab a “red-eye” overnight flight. These flights tend to be the cheapest options year- round, as are the flights that have one or more connections. If you don’t mind the less convenient times and/or an additional layover, these flights will save you more money.
Hopefully this list will help you or someone you know save on an upcoming vacation. Happy travels!