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You’ve barely dusted the sand off your flip-flops, but it’s already time to start thinking about Holiday travel, especially if your plans include air travel. So how does one avoid paying those steep fares?
Yes, don’t wait book your tickets now. Due to high demand there is no such thing as last-minute deals. Besides getting a better deal, you’ll also get choice seat selection, non-stop flights, and preferred flight times. Additionally some experts advise booking on either a Tuesday or Wednesday to get the best rates.
Booking early is important but almost equally as important are the dates and times you fly, for example if you want to fly the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and return the Sunday after you will have a difficult time finding a reasonable fare. If you can fly during off days such as the Monday after Thanksgiving you’ll save a significant amount. Flying during early mornings, late nights, and of course the dreaded red-eye will also decrease your rates. In fact 6am flights, although early tend to be the cheapest flights of the day.
Unfortunately flights with connections are always less expensive than non-stop flights. This is due to the fact that these flights are less desirable. If you do choose a flight with connections make sure you allow for adequate transfer time, both for you and your checked luggage. At least 2-hour layover is recommended when traveling during peak times.
Alternate airports are nearby or secondary airports, often times these airports will have lower fares. When booking flights check all the airports in your area before settling on a fare. You may be surprised by a the fare difference at an airport just 20 minutes away.
If hotels and or car rentals are needed during your holiday travel, book them with your airfare as a bundle. Booking hotel and airfare together can save you upwards of 25%. It is also smart to look into bundles even if you don’t need a hotel, you may actually be able to score a lower fare when combined with a hotel reservation, even when you don’t use the hotel, just make sure you won’t be charged for no shows.