Flying can easily become one of the most expensive parts of any vacation, especially when you’re talking about booking three, four, five or even more tickets for your entire family. Hotel rooms can be shared, meals can be on the less fancy side, but air travel only gets so low.
So how does the economically-minded family find that “low” point and make sure that they are only paying as much as they absolutely need to for air travel? It takes a little active effort, the deals won’t find you, but we can help direct you. Follow this handy checklist to make the most efficient use of your time and money!
- CHECK MULTIPLE WEBSITES
Things would be much simpler if there was a single place that always had the best deal. The fact of the matter is that in the days of online booking, it is more like out of a handful of places, one of these “usual suspects” likely has the best deal each time, but you never really know which one unless you check them all. Here is a shortlist of sites we recommend starting with:
- CHECK AND FOLLOW AIRLINES ON SOCIAL MEDIA
These days many top brands, including airlines, like to release or at least tease new sales on social media first. Think of it like being in an exclusive club that hears all the great tips first. Similarly, be sire to follow us on twitter and facebook as we like to promote great sales for families when we come across them.
- FLY “INDIRECT”
Direct flights are in the highest demand and command the highest prices. For these reasons they will book up quickly and rarely get the best discounts. If you are willing to connect somewhere, and slightly reroute your flight you can save lots of money, even more if you are willing to layover. One of the best techniques for this is to figure out which cities act as “hubs” for each airline. A hub serves as a home base for the company, with greater numbers of flights departing from that city. This increase in volume means more options, and a greater chance of an undersold flight with discounted seats. Find hub cities for your preferred airlines and/or along your path on a given trip and save more money.
- CHECK, CHECK AGAIN
Studies show that the best time to book is 3 months – 30 Days from the date of your departure for domestic flights, with a little longer for international. But which is it, 3 months, or 30 days? The answer is both, or rather that it depends. The two major types of discounts are for booking early and for booking last minute, and you never know which will be better. Snap up a great deal but don’t call it done yet, check back and see if you might find an even better one.
- BE ADAPTABLE
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the very best deals in travel go to those with a little more wiggle room in their plans. If you are willing to be a little flexible on the time or even the day that you depart, it can make a big difference in ticket price. Adding or removing a day from your trip may not be ideal, but if it saves you hundreds of dollars it might actually make more sense than you think.
We hope these tips will quickly find you and your family on the best flight, for the best price. Feel free to share any other family oriented, money saving tips you might know.
Please note that some of the links included in this piece are affiliate links and in such case, Real Family Trips will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on the link.