Even if you’re extremely eager for your next trip, it’s always a smart idea to pause a moment before purchasing flights to consider a few things. You don’t want to leave money on the table or end up shooting yourself in the foot if you book before you’re ready. To help you score the best deal, we’ve compiled this handy guide of things to consider before book your flight for your next trip.
Price out different scenarios
There’s really no secret recipe to getting the lowest-price flights. It’s just a matter of good timing and utilizing the best resources to find your flight online. Do your due diligence and explore all options for your next flight before you book your ticket. If you have flexible vacation dates, check out search engines that give you a “whole month” feature, like Skyscanner. Or if your destination is flexible, you can search “anywhere” and find the cheapest flights from your local airport. Knowing your fly budget will help you figure out the best flight prices.
Should you have the good fortune of having multiple airports within driving distance, try finding flights out of a new airport; you can score some amazing deals by utilizing the smaller, regional airports. Low cost carriers and budget airlines aren’t all that different from the big-name airlines; just read the fine print before booking so you aren’t caught off-guard by hidden baggage or refreshment fees for those cheap flights. It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance if you want to be safe. And don’t forget to check out one-way flight combinations! By booking 2 one-way flights through different carriers, you could shave hundreds of dollars off of your fare. You can also utilize credit card points to help lower your costs.
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Check the things you wouldn’t even think to double-check, like the spelling of your name and that you’ve entered your correct address before hitting the “book” button. Make sure you’re flying out of (and also in to) the correct airports on the correct dates, and that your seating assignment is not the worst spot on the plane. Airlines usually don’t allow for most changes after booking, so if you do find a mistake, contact your carrier right away to avoid costly penalties.
Factor in ALL costs
There are a lot of little hidden costs that come with traveling: tolls, tips, those snacks and bottles of water you need at the airport… But there are some big costs that people often tend to also overlook. Some people head to the airport not realizing that it can cost up to $40 per day to park on-site, which can quickly eat into most of their budget. And if airport parking was considered, sometimes ground transportation to the hotel is forgotten.
If you don’t factor in these costs and do some research as to the best and most valuable options, you’re going to regret it when you’re forced to pay exorbitant prices just to get from point A to point B. You can also save extra money if you pay for any additional add-ons to your flight at the time of booking. If you know that you’re going to need to check a bag or order a meal, you’ll pay a lot less by charging it when you book rather than when you get to the gate.
Making sure you have what you need in the long haul will help you score the best flight deals and ensure you don’t get stranded at the airport.