Traveling can be a lot of fun, especially if it involves doing so for a vacation or to see family and friends. While I have kids and don’t have the flexibility to travel on a moment’s notice, it doesn’t mean that I don’t remember the times that I did. And, it doesn’t mean that in the future I won’t pick right back up and travel!
The thing about air travel is that it can be really expensive. With the cost of flights what they are, it can worth asking ourselves the question: should I fly or drive? Or take the train or bus, for that matter.
If we make the decision to fly, there are ways that we can cut costs. Here are 8 such ways to save:
Travel on off-peak days
If you fly during popular times, such as major holiday weekends, prices can often be higher than during off-season times. For example, traveling from a cold weather locale to somewhere warm can be expensive around the winter holidays or spring break. Travel in September, for example, and you might pay a good deal less.
Use alternate airports
Here in the Chicago area, we have two major airports. However, there is an airport north of here – Milwaukee – that provides another option. What I like is that it costs a lot less to park there, which adds up. Yes, this is an indirect cost of air travel! Also, depending on where you live, you might be able to score cheaper fares at different airports from your primary one.
The last time I flew, I used miles. It was nice to spend nothing on airfare! The card I primarily use does offer miles, and I actually make sure not to consider it at all when making purchases. As in, I don’t make any purchases based on the hope of accumulating more miles. If you obtain them through your normal course of spending, it’s a nice bonus.
Take a red-eye flight
Okay, this is one that I will not do. I’ve written about this before, but I think that sleep and wealth go together. As in, getting a full night of sleep is not only good or your health but will also keep you energized and ready to be productive. Even if you don’t plan to be overly productive on vacation, it’s nice to be able to awake enough and not sluggish when you arrive. HOWEVER, it can be a great way to save money on a cheaper flight!
Shop around! It doesn’t take much time to search different sites to compare fares. Not every airline will be priced exactly equal all the time. Sure, the flight times might be slightly different. But if you have a bit of flexibility, and are willing to do just a little bit of work looking online, you can optimize your purchase.
Pack your food
Do you want to pay a pricey sum for an in-flight snack box? Or, perhaps worse, spend an arm and a leg for a meal in the food court? I once spent over $12 for a sub sandwich at airport, which seemed to be twice as much as one might pay elsewhere. Airport food is expensive, and packing your own food can be good way to save money at the airport. It’s another indirect cost of air travel!
Get bumped from a flight
If the flight is overbooked, someone may have to be bumped. Often times, this can be an unwelcome event for a traveler, and I’ve known of a time when someone decided to turn down a free flight. However, if it doesn’t matter to you if you take a later flight, you might be able to get some consideration for your willingness to be bumped.
Don’t check a bag
In other words, pack lightly! Checked bag fees can really add up. Travel with a normal carry-on, and you can avoid some annoying fees. Remember, that fee you don’t like would have to be paid on the return trip too! Now, I did inadvertently discover a baggage fee loophole on a flight a few years ago, though I don’t recommend it J
My Questions for You
Which of these money-saving strategies have you employed?
Do you have any other tips?