Using online resources to comparison-shop and receive alerts about price drops on last-minute flights is one excellent strategy to finding the lowest fares available. If you put the time and effort into the research you will often find a better fate than you might expect. Sometimes this is a hit-or-miss approach, however. Fortunately, additional strategies do exist for those of you who desire more control over your search options.
For example, airline ticket prices fluctuate frequently and significantly. This might seem random and challenging to follow. Admittedly, sometimes it is. One secret most airlines do not want you to learn is how the days you choose to fly impact your ticket prices.
This is different from the common misconception many consumers have about the best days to book flights, however. Many people believe Tuesday is the best day to purchase airline tickets. The truth is, you might find low prices on any given Tuesday or you might not. This is true for every single day of the week. What is more important are the days you choose to actually fly. Finding cheap flights departing (or arriving) on off-peak days such as Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays is more common than for the other peak travel days.
Airlines know people will travel on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays either way. Therefore, they lower their prices to make off-peak days the cheapest days to fly. This encourages people to fly seven days a week, which increases airline profits.
Flying on off-peak days logically means avoiding taking flights on peak travel days. Avoiding airline travel during peak seasons and holidays is also key to getting better deals. For example, summer and winter (Christmas season) travel dates are commonly more expensive than during off-peak (shoulder) seasons. Shoulder seasons run from the middle of April through the first week of June, then again from the end of August through the first week of October.
This means the same ticket for a flight leaving Tuesday and returning Saturday during July will likely cost you much less if you travel Tuesday/Saturday to the same destination on October 1.
Granted, not everyone has the flexibility to book flights for shoulder seasons or off-peak days. Another strategy for getting great prices is to wait for last-minute flight deals before making your purchase. Every airline has the objective of selling every seat on every flight. When seats are still available close to the departure date, ticket prices drop at random times to encourage travelers to make a purchase. This is where price-drop alerts and notifications from your favorite website or app are helpful.
Essentially, some keys to getting cheaper airline tickets for your next trip are:
- Fly on off-peak days when possible.
- Fly during off-peak seasons when possible.
- Be flexible with your travel dates.
- Use rate-comparison sites and apps to locate the best deals.
- Sign up for notifications and alerts via applicable websites and apps.
- Book last minute flights when prices drop.
- Open an Airline Credit Card Account.
- Join a Travel Rewards Club.
- Take Advantage of “Hidden City” Flights.