Going to the travel agency and buying tickets for your wonderful vacation is all but a thing of the past. More and more people have been booking their tickets online, the number going over half, at 53% in 2012 and continuing to grow month after month. Therefore, it’s wise to be prepared, and start learning the small things which you can do to optimize your travels – saving money and feeling more comfortable; you’ll probably be surprised to see just how much money you can save just by following these small tips.
This is by far the best thing you can do – as any travel operator worth his salt will tell you. Do you know, at least approximately, when you want to leave? Go book your ticket! A rule of thumb is going 2 weeks earlier, but really, if you can book it one month in advance, that would be just great! If you’re flying internationally, you can go even further, and buy two months in advance, or (why not?) even more; usually, two months is more than enough, and after that, it’s not going to get much cheaper.
… or buy very late
This is not something you can really rely on, but if you’re the spontaneous travel and are pretty flexible about your time and destination, then most companies will sometimes have fantastic last-minute offers. Pack your backpack, be prepared, and add a little spice to your vacation, and save lots of money in the process.
Yes, we all know flight costs can change – drastically; but that doesn’t mean that you should hop on the first wagon you see! Take a little while to look around, at least at two or three alternatives; check for other, nearby dates, check for other companies, and you might have some pleasant surprises.
Keep an eye out for coupons and discounts
The internet is the world of discounts – there’s a discount for everything! Anything and everything that you buy, there’s almost certainly a way to get a small percentage off it. There’s tens, if not hundreds of places to get these coupons, including RetailMeNot, Travel Coupons, and Expedia Offer Codes. Just google, and you’re bound to find at least a little something. There’s usually different offers for national and international flights, but your odds are just as good either way.
The 24 hour rule
More of an insider tip, but one which can save you loads. After you bought your ticket, be sure to check again the prices the next day – if they’ve gone down, you have the right to demand a full refund, and book the cheaper tickets.
Fly two different airlines
Just because one airline has the cheapest prices there and back, that doesn’t mean it’s the cheapest way! Actually, most airlines offer cheaper one way tickets, so it may be much cheaper to fly by one airline, and then return with another – from the same airport or from another; that’s right, different companies fly at different airports in the same city – but that shouldn’t be a problem.
Check twitter and facebook!
Many airlines have taken quite the interest in social media, and they’re sometimes announcing great fares on twitter or facebook. Again, this is something for the more flexible, who are willing to jump right at the chance that’s offered.
That’s the bread and butter of saving money on plane tickets – and these small things go a long way. Be sure to try them and share your experience with us – or even better, if you have some tips from your own experience, be so kind as to share them with the rest of us.