Summer is the best time to travel. Most of us are able to get away for at least a few days and enjoy the sun, get a little R&R, and maybe even spend some time in the water. The problem we all run into is how to book the best flight during these high-travel months. Rest assured we have a guide for those of you who need to get away, but want to do it while saving as much as you can.
Book in advance
This may be common sense to some, but there are people out there who choose to wait until the very last minute before booking their flight. Many believe that waiting to book means the airline will drop the prices of tickets to fill seats that would otherwise remain vacant. During high traffic times like the summertime, that’s simply not the case.
While it’s a good rule of thumb to book as far in advance as possible, there’s actually data to support the optimal amount of time needed when booking your flight depending on where you are going. Here’s the list:
- Canada: 59 days
- Mexico: 61 days
- Asia: 90 days
- Europe: 99 days
- Africa: 119 days
- Middle East: 119 days
- Central America: 61 days
- Caribbean: 76 days
- South America: 81 days
Check out these summer dates to see when ticket prices are expected to rise and fall, too.
Basic travel is always an option
If you’re going from Dallas to Miami, perhaps booking a first-class ticket on Delta is a bit overkill. Sometimes it’s perfectly acceptable to book on a low-fare airline if you’re not traveling far or don’t have any layovers.
Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines are both great options if you’re looking for nothing more than the basic flight package. Remember, though, if you travel with a lot of bags or absolutely need those in-flight snacks to get you through two hours in the air, then these options are not for you. Anything above purchasing your seat is going to cost extra. Also, don’t expect too much leg room either.
Use sites and apps to find cheaper flights
They work! I personally use Google Flights as a first option when booking my itinerary. It allows you to compare across all airlines and will also track prices to keep you informed of any changes before you book. I once paid just $89 on a round-trip flight from Las Vegas to Dallas by using this service.
A great app to use is Hopper. You just put in your destination and date range, then the app sends you an update every time the price changes – whether it’s up or down. Hopper also suggests when the best time to book is so you can take advantage of the lowest possible price based on historical data the app collects.
Call the airline to book your flight
As much as I love to boast about how we can basically rely on technology to get things done these days, sometimes it’s best to just do it yourself. Websites are constantly updating and changing prices, so the most accurate way to get a price is by doing it the old-fashioned way – by calling. Yes, that smartphone does more than just texts and tweets.
These are all very easy ways to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck when booking your summer travel plans. Just remember to always think ahead and use your resources to find the best deals. Remember: the more you save, the more margaritas you can get when you land.