Tips for Saving Money on Airfare

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I was recently asked for tips for saving money on airfare, here are some thoughts:

  •  Check for airfare at an meta search engine that can search lots of sources at once like:
  • Make sure you understand the cost of your ticket including extra fees like checking in a suitcase
  • Some airlines like Spirit Airlines also charge for a carry-on suitcase so factor that in also
  • Ryan Air charges (a lot) for printing out your boarding pass at the airport, bet you were not expecting that one
  • Join frequent flyer programs, which are usually free
  • Frequent Flyer programs or Frequent Flyer Credit cards can sometimes let you check-in a suitcase for free so know your programs
  • If you can handle credit cards responsibly, use a credit card that will get you frequent flyer miles
  • The best fares on average tend to be about 6 weeks before a flight. You will pay more when you book early or last minute.
  • Book frequent flyer tickets much much earlier as they available in limited quantity. Although having some miles for a last minute event like a funeral can also save a lot of money.
  • A bereavement fare is not really a good deal. It only saves you money off a very expensive last minute ticket.
  • Flights on the weekend are usually more expensive.
  • The holidays are very busy travel times but just after Christmas you can find some of the best deals.
  • Airfare to Europe from the U.S. will typically go up in cost on March 31 and on June 15th. Off season fares are much cheaper than Summer.
  • The busiest day of the year for booking airfare is the first Monday after the New Year. That’s when people stop thinking about the holidays and start thinking about their vacations.
  • Not sure where you want to go? Try a tool like Kayak Explore to see where you can go for less at a given time.
  • Know where you want to go but not when? Search engines like can send you updates when prices drop, just check “Get an alert when prices drop.”
  • Consider taking the train as well between destinations with good train service as you can often go from city center to city center.
  • Allow enough time for connecting planes. Anything less than an hour makes me nervous. If you need to clear customs between flights better add another hour.
  • A non-stop flight does not touch down between airports, a direct flight just means you can stay on the same plane.
  • In the winter time if you have to make a stop, consider a layover at more Southern airport where you are less likely to be snowed in.

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

4 Responses to “Tips for Saving Money on Airfare”

Steve |


Great advice for those starting out. Thanks Chris.



Great tips. Especially one’s like the Ryanair printing out of boarding passes which would definitely surprise people if you didn’t travel on them often or are from western Europe



Do you have any tips to share? Tips for Saving Money on Airfare #travel

Traveldooz (@traveldooz)


Really useful tips, when it comes down to cheap airfares we are pretty good as well. These days and mostly because of the financial crisis [Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal] there are lots of people reconsidering their travel options [almost everyone wants the most cost effective solution for it’s trip]

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