3 Ways to Save on Air Travel

Going the less expensive route will still get you there, but with money to spare.

(Image credit: Copyright - LeonardoPatrizi)

Lower the price of your next plane ticket with these strategies:

Time it right. For domestic travel, watch for steep sales between Labor Day and December 15 (except over the long Thanksgiving weekend) and then after the holidays until February 15. “There are no school vacations and people are traveled out,” says George Hobica, of Airfarewatchdog.com, whose site sends out alerts when airlines launch sales. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are typically the cheapest days to fly domestically.

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Check fares from other airports. For international flights, watch for airfare sales at hubs near you. You could drive or take a bus there or book airfare on a separate flight, making sure to leave plenty of time to catch the international flight (if the tickets are separate, you’re on your own ifyou miss your second flight). However, smaller airports sometimes have in- ternational bargains that larger ones don’t, says Hobica. He recently spotted flights to Paris from Flint, Mich., with one stop, that cost half the price of nonstop flights from Detroit.

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Use local transportation. A similar trick works for far-flung destinations that would be outrageously expensive to book with a single airline. Say you want to go to the Greek Islands. Flights from the U.S. to one of the islands typically cost at least $1,400 round-trip. Instead, grab a sale round- trip fare to Athens (often less than $600), plan to stay a night or two there, and then fly to the island of your choice on a budget airline such as Ryanair (less than $100), says Scott Keyes, of ScottsCheapFlights.com.

Miriam Cross
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Miriam lived in Toronto, Canada, before joining Kiplinger's Personal Finance in November 2012. Prior to that, she freelanced as a fact-checker for several Canadian publications, including Reader's Digest Canada, Style at Home and Air Canada's enRoute. She received a BA from the University of Toronto with a major in English literature and completed a certificate in Magazine and Web Publishing at Ryerson University.