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?

1) Book Now

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.

2) Fly during off days and times

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.

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3) Flights with Connections

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.

4) Consider Alternate Airports

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.

5) Book your Travel as a Bundle

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.

More Money-Saving Tips

  • The best way to score the lowest rates is to spend time researching and paying attention to the varying fares. The more research you do the better, the most important thing you can do is check fares often. Travel search engines such as Travelocity

     allow you to search multiple airlines at once and can provide flight price notifications. Airlines tend to have anywhere from 10-15 different price points for any one flight. By researching average flight costs you’ll have a good grasp on what you should pay. Once you see a good deal, grab it. That fare may change within hours.

  • Another incredible money-saving option is the name your own price tool through Priceline. By biding on your flight you can get up to 40% off! All flights have no more than one connection and depart between the hours of 6am and 10pm. Priceline is so confident you will get a great deal they will pay you $25 if you don’t! So if you are willing to gamble a bit this option will get you to your holiday destination with a little extra money in your pocket. Happy Flying!