Travel can be an incredibly rewarding, enjoyable, and important experience. Unfortunately, the costs of travel cause many to delay or avoid it altogether. But contrary to popular belief, travel does not have to be expensive. In fact, there are various tried and true ways to score major flight savings by following only a few simple strategies.
While the common tactic of buying plane tickets early can indeed save you money, there are lesser known methods that can save you much more. The key is bare airfares.¹
Bare Airfares: The Key To Major Flight Savings
If you haven’t heard of bare fares yet, you might just be in for a pleasant surprise. Most airlines now offer bare fare options which are essentially bare-bones tickets without extras which can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.² The best way to find out more about bare fares is to research online: sometimes the best offers are from airlines e-mailing you, discount fare clubs and looking at flight booking websites online.
Another Key To Epic Flight Savings: Less Baggage
One of the hidden keys to scoring cheap flights is in how much you pack. Many discount, bare-fare airlines including Ryanair or Wizz Air charge double or triple the price of the ticket if you add a checked bag. If you can travel light with just a small or mid-size carry on bag you can save enormous amounts of money.³
More Tips: Beware The Cookie Monster
Browsing for flights online is one of the best ways to find the cheapest options available, but you have to be careful of cookies. Cookies are information tracking devices that are invisible and exist on many websites. They track what you do and use what is called “dynamic pricing” to raise prices on you if you keep going back and looking at the same or similar flights. For this reason it is very important to go to your internet browser options and clear cookies in order to make sure you are working from a blank slate each time and getting the actual lowest price.⁴
Stay Alert And Diversify
Signing up for alerts from different airlines is a great idea and it is also a good policy to book flights on different carriers. Once your cookies are clear, search on specific airline websites and see what fare they are offering you. Sometimes taking a one-way flight can actually be cheaper than a round-trip, although it may involve more waits and stopovers along the way. Make sure to check whether you get points or discounts via your AAA or AARP status. Also make sure you receive any airline reward points that are offered.
More Bare Fare Facts
Bare fares also mean that you will not be getting some “perks” you may be used to on more fully loaded flights. These include the following: choosing your seat, flight cancellation or changes (although you can sometimes pay a small extra fee for this option), boarding in a priority section, free drinks or food and wireless internet are also all a no-go for most bare fare tickets.
Pick Your Day
Believe it or not, there are certain days which—on average—are usually significantly cheaper than other days when it comes to airline flights. Flight booking websites will look for you, but if you are booking directly via an airline’s website it is worth keeping your eyes open for specific days.
Specifically, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the days that usually have the lowest fares.⁵ It is also a good idea to cancel your ticket free within 24 hours, if permitted, if the price goes down a lot, getting your money back and rebooking at the lower price. Some airlines will also offer you the lower price if it goes down within a certain timeframe after your purchase.⁶
Armed with all of this information, you should be in a good position to secure some major deals on your next flight. With the right research, travel simply does not need to be prohibitively expensive. A simple online search can get you started in finding a great offer on a quality flight.