Americans are finally getting wise to the importance of taking a vacation.
A full 62% of Americans reported taking a vacation away from home in 2017, according to the latest Gallup Poll data . Of those respondents, 21% said their vacations included international travel. With all that travel people are spending a whole lot of money.
According to ValuePenguin , which analyzed the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spent about 44% of their travel funds on transportation costs for their trips.
Because it represents such a large portion of vacation spending, transportation is truly something worth doing your homework on to save a bit of cash on your next vacation.
And though you may not be able to hunt down better gas, train, or cruise prices you can try your best to find the best airfare deals possible. Here are five ways that could help you save money on flights for your next getaway. (Please note that SoFi is not affiliated with nor do we receive any compensation from any of the brands or products mentioned here—we just did our research and are including some of our favorite finds!)
Subscribing to a Few Newsletters
There are a number of people running websites and newsletters dedicated to tracking and sharing flight deals and information with subscribers. All you need to do is sign up for their alerts.
For example, Next Vacay is a website where users can input their dream destination. Then, the site will send you daily emails with flight deals to and from your ideal getaway location.
Mobile app Hopper , works in a similar manner. Enter the location and the dates you plan to travel and Hopper will track flights for those dates, sending you fare alerts and booking recommendations when it finds a low fare.
There are also sites like Skyscanner , which allows users to set alerts for price drops and even alerts users to potential price increases so they can book before the airfare skyrockets.
And, to get information from one of the best in the business, you can subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights . According to their homepage, actual humans work for the site and search for flight deals around the clock to share with their free member subscribers and paid premium members. By doing so, Scott’s Cheap Flights says it can find airfare up to 90% off normal ticket prices.
Finding Out Your Destination’s “Shoulder Season”
Another way to potentially save big on airfare is to travel during your destination’s offseason, otherwise known as “shoulder season .” Airlines will often charge more during popular travel times, but may cut prices during less popular times.
For example, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding a good flight deal to Orlando during school vacation times, and you likely won’t find a good flight deal to Cape Cod for the Fourth of July.
However, if you’re willing to see Cape Cod in the fall (which is absolutely stunning by the way), you may be able to score a good deal since it is shoulder season for the area.
As for Orlando, you may be able to get a good deal for the beginning of January, when Disney World experiences its own shoulder season. Seriously, don’t let summer have all the fun. Here are a few more reasons to book your next dream getaway in winter instead.
Knowing Which Days to Book
According to Cheap Air, an airfare shopping search engine, there may indeed be a “best” day to book your airfare. That date, its 2019 airfare study found, is exactly 76 days before your intended departure date.
According to the data, fares change an average of 61 times before a trip. However, if you aren’t able to plan that far in advance fear not. According to Cheap Air, travelers may still be able to score a good price 14 to 20 days prior to takeoff.
Being Flexible on Your Date of Travel
Like most businesses, airlines also work on supply and demand. When there’s more demand for flights airlines typically raise prices. But, when there is less demand they may lower them (hence why you can save money during shoulder season). To save money any time of year, you could try to fly to and from your vacation destination on the least busy travel days.
According to James Filsinger, president and chief executive of Yapta , (a website that tracks airfare and hotel prices) buying flights midweek are your best best to get a good price.
As he told The New York Times , the least busy days for airlines are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so it may make sense to go for a Thursday to Thursday vacation week to potentially save big bucks on your vacation transportation.
Considering Taking a Flight with a Layover
Typically a flight that involves a layover will be cheaper than a non-stop. The major downside is that layover. But sometimes a long layover can mean a cheaper flight and a little extra time to explore a city.
With a longer layover you may even have time to leave the airport, which could mean grabbing a fresh croissant in Paris, or a caña and tapas in Madrid.
If you’re booking a long flight, it can be especially beneficial to look for one with a long layover. There are many airlines that offer free stopovers in cities on the way to your final destination.
For example, Air Canada allows you to spend a night or more in Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver for a small price if your layover is over 6 hours. Emirates allows you to stopover in Dubai for a few days on the way to your destination.
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