The only bad thing about finally getting airplane tickets is when you say to your friend, “Yeah, I got these tickets for only $300!” and then they come back and tell you, “Really? $300? I got the same ones to the same place for $100 two weeks ago.”
Even as seasoned travelers, buying airplane tickets can be frustrating, mostly because we are usually broke and not always awesome at math. However, it doesn’t have to be like this. You can have your cake and eat it too. Follow these tips below to always score the best prices and keep the ability to visit a new place and afford dinner.
1. Keep flexible. Studies show that when it comes to domestic travel, flying on Wednesday is the cheapest day (followed by Tuesday and Saturday) and the most expensive days are Friday and Sunday. Also, and for obvious reasons, flying early in the morning (like six am… may not be worth it after all) is the cheapest time to fly, so you can kiss your eight hours goodbye. The next best times are during lunch hour or the dinner hour.
2. Purchase at strategic times. It’s not just about the time and date you choose to fly… it also has to do with the exact date that you purchase your ticket. Studies show that the best time to purchase tickets is at 3:00 pm on a Tuesday (Tuesdays in general are pretty good for this) while purchasing on the weekends is the worst, since discounts usually get pulled out on Thursdays to beat the weekend rush.
3. Pick off one person at a time. Last time you shopped for you and the family, what did you do? Most likely, you entered in four adult passengers, however, this isn’t the best way to go. When you do this, the airline must sell each person the same price, which is obviously going to be the highest one. Instead, enter each guest, one by one, and you can possibly get some tickets for cheaper.
4. Don’t be an early bird. It is possible to buy tickets too early – that is, more than three months in advance for domestic and four months for international. Before this time, airlines don’t release many of the cheaper seating options available. The best time for purchasing domestic flights is about seven weeks in advance, according to CheapAir.com.
5. Clear out your cookies. This is pretty sketchy, but some airline sites automatically can raise prices based on how many times you have already viewed the page. So if you have looked at United tickets four times this week, the prices will skyrocket because they know you’re pretty serious about snagging these tickets. Make sure to clear your cookies or cache history to fool ’em.
Photo courtesy of Alex Ferrara