As fun as a road trip can be, when you just want to “get there”, flying is the only way to go!
Back in the day, flying was a real treat! It was considered to be a luxury and people even dressed up for the occasion.
But things are a little different today. For what you get, its ridiculously expensive! You’d think that for the hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars those tickets cost that you would get to sit in a seat that was bigger than something designed for a sixth-grader. Or maybe you wouldn’t have to feel like you did something wrong as the crew tries to make everyone follow procedure.
Even though flying has its moments of “turbulence” (sorry, I couldn’t resist making the terrible pun), there are plenty of little known ways to get a ticket without spending any more money than you really need to.
Here are 27 tips use can use to pay as little as possible and still get to where you want to go!
1. Buy your ticket at the optimal time
According to the website CheapAir, the optimal time to book your flight is 1.5-4.5 months in advance.
2. Plan your travels during off-peak
Forget traveling during the holidays, spring break, or typical summer vacation. Be willing to travel during off-peak or “shoulder periods”.
3. Two one-way flights?
Check to see if two one-way flights is cheaper than one round-trip flight. Sometimes this might open up an opportunity that wasn’t available before.
4. Try to get back to the same airport
It’s almost always cheaper.
5. See about a free extended stop-over flight
If you’re clever, you might be able to squeeze in visiting an extra country by arranging for an extended layover flight. For example: Could you spend the evening in Paris in-between your flights from the U.S. to England?
6. Sign up for a frequent flyer mile program
Why not? They’re free, the miles almost never expire, and if you get enough of them, you can get more free travel!
7. Transfer points where you need them
Consider switching some of your credit card points towards more lucrative frequent flyer programs. Sometimes one providers reward system might be more worthwhile this way.
8. Claim your work miles
When you’re traveling for work, why not also claim those frequent flyer miles to your account. One round-trip flight overseas could be worth almost 10,000 miles! (Just be sure to check with your HR department first.)
9. Pay for work trips with your personal credit card
See if you can use your personal credit card for work trips and get reimbursed. If so, you’ll rack up a lot of very easy points on some likely very large purchases.
10. Double-check your miles
Make sure after your trip that the miles get applied to your account. Every once in a while, the miles you fly don’t make it your account (I’ve had this problem more than once). Take a few seconds to check your account a few days after your trip, and confirm they were credited. If they weren’t, don’t be afraid to call the flight service and make a request.
11. Get a travel credit card
Get discounted travel with a travel rewards credit card or one where the points can be transferred to miles.
12. Frequent discount travel sites to look for last minute deals
Some airlines discount tickets to as low as $49.
13. Watch Facebook
Join a Facebook group to help alert you to niche flight deals on places you want to go.
14. Be flexible with your travel dates and destinations.
Sometimes the best deals come up unexpectedly. If you’re able to be a little more spontaneous, wait until you see one of these deals to strike.
15. Be on stand-by
If you don’t have very concrete travel plans, be willing to be on “stand-by”. This means you’ll give up your seat as needed and take the next flight. In exchange for doing this, the airlines will compensate you for it. That means a potential free flight!
16. Travel in a group to get a discount
Everything is cheaper in bulk – including flights. If you’ve got a big destination that you’d like to go (such as Europe or Asia), check to see if you can join a group first and get a discounted rate.
17. Know the rules for baggage before flying
Every airline is a little different. Before you fly, know exactly how many bags you’re allowed, the sizes, weights, and what the penalty costs are.
18. Avoid a checked bag if possible
Carry-on’s are almost always free. And you never have to wait at the baggage return.
19. Weigh your bags ahead of time to avoid over-weight fees
An extra 1 lb over the limit can make your free bag become a $100 bag! Don’t let this happen to you.
20. Pack 5 lbs lighter for the return trip
Never pack your bags to the absolute maximum limit. You know you’re going to buy some stuff and will need the extra space when you return home.
21. Get a credit card that gives you free baggage privileges
Lots of flights now are affiliated with a credit card that automatically gives you free baggage privileges. If you travel often, having this credit card may be in your best interest.
22. Don’t buy travel size toiletries
You’ll get way less and pay way more. Instead, buy a full-size knock-off brand that you can leave behind in the hotel. (This will also make your bag lighter on the way home.)
23. Drive to the airport for free
If you were planning to call a cab or Uber, first check to see if your hotel offers a free shuttle between them and the airport, or any nearby activities. You might just score yourself some free transportation.
24. Cookies or Peanuts?
Only eat and drink what the flight offers you. You don’t need to over-pay for any deluxe snacks like a bag of cookies or chips.
25. No alcohol
In addition to the snacks, don’t try to be a high-roller and order fancy alcoholic drinks either. If you do, it will be some of the highest dollar per ounce of alcohol you’ve ever spent!
26. Bring your own entertainment
There’s no need to pay for Wifi or movies. Unless its free, don’t use it. Instead, bring a physical book or load an ebook on your iPad to read.
27. Skip the upgrade
Flying coach is no picnic. But then again, paying $250 more for 4 inches of leg room doesn’t exactly make sense either. Unless you’re about to get some kind of amazing deal, fly economy for the best rate.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr