I know with traveling it’s exciting. The thrill of going to a new place, getting everything packed up, and planning on what to see and where to go makes you just want to be there! Now, I also know this excitement comes after you dish out the hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the plane ticket. Now, if you’re me, sometimes buying the plane ticket can be the most terrifying part of the trip, but if you know how to shop around and look at the prices it can be just as fun as packing and planning! I know right, I just said that!
I used to dread buying my tickets, but once I figured out the system and how to work it I knew that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. So I am here to tell you what I’ve learned to make your ticket buying as smooth as possible. With shopping around I flew to Italy for $500, then to London for $45, and back to the U.S for $600. When I went to Colorado my round trip was $250! I couldn’t beat that! I’m telling you it is possible!
1 • Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
So you found it, a flight to your destination 200 dollars less than anywhere else. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s right here in front of your eyes!
Hold up, just one moment, it might be too good to be true. I’m not saying don’t buy the ticket but there may be some factors making this ticket 200 dollars less than the other ones out there.
The first question you may want to ask yourself, is it with an airline that is considered a discount airline? If so, then keep in mind that you might have to pay more after your ticket. Now, I like flying discount airlines, but I like to do the math first. With discount flyers they do not add checked baggage fees into their tickets. To see how much your checked bags will cost go onto their website first and get the information. This link will be provided before you enter your information in to buy the tickets. Keep in mind that checked bag rates change on the dates you travel and each airline might have different specifications on the dimensions.
After adding the checked bag(s) into your ticket and seeing what the price is. Look to see how long the layovers are and how many connecting flights you have. I have seen flights that have been hundreds of dollars cheaper, but I would have had 24 hours of layovers, and this would have been from Pennsylvania to Colorado! No thank you! If you don’t mind hanging out in airports and reading a book then go for it! Also if you don’t mind having a few connecting flights, then my all means take the cheaper deal.
But, if you’re like me and you want a fast trip, with less layovers and connections, then paying a bit more isn’t a bad idea. Now I’m not saying you need to pay hundreds of dollars more, but if you add in what your checked bag would be plus a bit more then I’d definitely say you’re paying for convenience.
∴∴ Pro Tip: If you know that you don’t need to check your bag, go for the cheaper airline. A carry on is usually included in your ticket and you will be surprised how much you can fit in a small suitcase! Save money on the ticket and the skip the checked bag!
2 • Change The Arrival And Departure Dates
You’ve heard that the time of the year you fly matters, right? Well it’s the same for the time of the week too. Now this all depends on where you are going, and it all depends on what time of the year it is… kind of like this….
Destination › Depends on › Day of Week › Depends on › Time of Year/Amount of People
I hope that’s less confusing, but I’ll try to clear it up for you. So, USA Today has stated that the best time to fly for US domestic flights are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. When it comes to flights to Europe the days to shoot for are weekdays.
In my personal experience I have found that weekdays have been waaaaay cheaper than weekends. Even though USA Today says that Saturday is cheaper for US flights, when I looked at a flight to Denver on that day it was $150 more than the Monday I left. Now, like I said, it depends on the time of the year. I was looking in January, and like a crazy person I keep these records for when I look at flights again.
All in all the reason flights go up is because of supply and demand. If airlines believe more people will be traveling on X day then they will hike their prices, believing that if people need to travel they will pay the premium price.
But lucky for you, you are planning the trip, the airlines are at your discrepancy! So if you want to leave on a Friday and the flights are too expensive, look at Saturday. If that’s too expensive change the whole plan and look at flights leaving Monday or Tuesday. I know that traveling at the beginning of the week is a weird thing but you get to enjoy the week and if you stay a whole seven days you can go out and actually enjoy the nightlife on the weekend. All in all I think starting your travels on a Monday or Tuesday are better. Who likes Mondays anyways? Use them as an icky travel day!
If taking off of work is the problem, my best advice to you is to take off of work in enough advance so that you can move around your ask off dates. After asking off immediately start booking your trip. Remember that buying tickets and looking for accommodations is a process that takes time. The first item you should have in your hand is your ticket, then the other things fall in place. Get those dates, make sure your holiday at work is set, and get to planning!
Overall, don’t be afraid to leave and arrive at your destination on a weekday. It will be nicer to your wallet and trust me, you will have plenty of things to do even though it isn’t the weekend! And just think, you will get to fully enjoy the next weekend and not have to worry about packing or coming home too soon!
3 • Shop Around!
I have spent many hours, days, and weeks looking for the perfect flight at the perfect price. To tell you the truth, I have yet to find it. I find the perfect price, but the flight isn’t that ideal. It doesn’t leave the exact time I was planning on, or the layovers are a bit too long… but honestly if I’m getting it for a good price why am I complaining?
But I still hunt and hunt to find that deal!
The best way to do it is with, what I call, base dates. These are dates that I ideally want to leave on but have no problem leaving around. Think of it as a hovering departure date.
From here I open a few flight search websites in different tabs (I will link my favorite ones at the bottom of this bullet). This is so they can think while I’m entering info into each website. Just enter where you want to leave from and where you want to arrive, the dates, and how many travelers, then let the website do it’s trick! You already knew this right? Okay, onto the next step…
So once the multiple tabs have had a chance to think about the flights and pricing I compare the top four or five on each sight. Why? Well the farther you go down on the sight the more expensive they become. Why? Well if we refer back to number one on this list we can deduce that the flight might be shorter, or even have shorter layovers. If all the tickets seem too high I go ahead and pick another departure date, either the day before or day after I initially wanted to leave. You can adjust your return date also, but you don’t have to. Sometimes it does make the ticket cheaper. If there is a ticket that seemed to be lower than the others then I’ll keep it and continue searching.
I basically do process of elimination until I find a price that’s right for where I’m going. Now comes the question, how do I know what the average price is for where I’m going? Well you can google it, but like I stated before these prices change. The best way to get a feel for the price is to look at multiple dates around the time you want to leave. This is so you can see what the average price is and how you can get the most bang for your buck.
∴∴ Pro Tip: If you see a single airline offering cheaper flights than the others, hop onto their website and see if you can get a round trip through them. This is a great way to save money and time!
My Top 3 Sights For Tickets:
- edreams : Great for European flights, especially within Europe!
- Kayak : When shopping around I have found great deals on domestic and international flights.
- Student Universe : This website is for students ages 18-25. I used them when I was in college and found amazing deals that I couldn’t beat. Their customer service is A+, check them out!
4• Waiting Isn’t A Bad Thing
You may see a price that isn’t too high, but you know you can do better. But that little voice is telling you to buy it now because, “What if?”
STOP RIGHT THERE!
I know that feeling, I know it all too well. But, I didn’t act on it because I knew I had time and I could wait. Then after waiting, BOOM, just like that a better deal came my way. Like the Universe saying, “Hey, thanks for not being a butt.”
So, what I’m trying to say is if you have time and you don’t feel like the price is the best price, or you feel as if you will have buyers remorse afterwards, wait. Something better will come along, and if not it’s playing the game. But, honestly, from listening to my gut and not the little voice I have found better prices from intensive searching. This all depends on you. How much waiting you want to do, time you have, and looking you want to go forth with.
Now I said before that this is a process, so don’t get discouraged if you didn’t find the best ticket price the first night you looked. Ticket prices changed day to day, week to week. So it’s okay, these things take time! So, take a deep breath, I know it’s overwhelming but soon you will find a great price for a great destination.
∴∴ Pro Tip: While searching compile a notebook of the prices and dates. Also make note of the day you looked at these prices so it’s easy to compare.
5 • When You Find The Best Price, Grab It!
Now you may be saying, Jaimie, you’re contradicting yourself from your last point. No, I’m not. If you have shopped around, done your research and know what the average ticket price is, and have finally found a good deal, GRAB IT!
If you have looked at the other prices and airlines you will know what is high and what to consider a good deal. When finding a good price for the time you want to travel you will not have that little voice telling you not to go ahead and do it but it will be yelling at you to buy the damn ticket!
Since ticket prices change so often, once you find a great deal you should snatch it up. It might not be there the next day, so don’t sit on the opportunity. In doing your research it should be enough time to commit to the time and destination. If not, it’s all good, there will be other deals and the destination isn’t going anywhere!
I hope you liked my “Five Tips for Buying Plane Tickets.” If you would like to read about my Italy travels please click here. Please let me know about your plane ticket hacks in the comments!