Flying is one of the fastest modes of transportation, but unfortunately it's also one of the most expensive. You might be feeling as though next you'll have to pay simply for going through the security line. Before you swear off traveling by airplane all together, look into the different ways that you can save on airline fare.
Leave Your Baggage Behind
It's become a common practice for airlines to charge you for your baggage, which means that you'll want to do everything you can to carry as few bags as possible. Take a look at what you plan on bringing with you on your trip and ask yourself if it's absolutely essential. Can you leave one pair of shoes behind or wear a pair of pants more than once? Will some of your items be available at the hotel?
If you absolutely have to have everything that you're bringing with you, research airlines that have the lowest baggage fees to save yourself as much money as possible. There are certain airlines that will actually allow you to bring two checked bags for free if you know where to look.
Sidestep Unnecessary Fees
There's no need to pay a booking fee if you buy your ticket online, and neither is there a need for you to pay a fee for changing your flight. By buying your tickets online, you can save as much as $50 on fees. When it comes to changing fees, if you think there's a strong chance that you'll have to change flights for your trip, find out which airlines have the lowest fees. You might also want to think about getting a ticket that can be refunded if you think your travel plans might fall through.
Get Started Early
It's recommended that you book your tickets as early as possible to avoid having to pay more. Not only can it be cheaper for you to buy your tickets on Tuesday, it can also be cheaper to fly on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well. Try tweaking your travel schedule to line up on those days. You can also save money by flying early in the morning instead of the middle of the day. You might have to get up earlier than you'd like, but at least you won't have to pay more than you like on airline tickets.
Bid for Your Tickets
There are also websites that you can go to where you can set the price you'd like to pay for your tickets and see if there are any airlines, like American Eagle Airline, that would accept your bid. This is a great way to save money, and you can still set the time that you would like for your flights. Before you accept any offers from airlines, you'll want to make sure you do your homework to see what their refund, change flight and baggage fees are. While you might be thrilled that they accepted your bid, you might wind up hating everything else about them. Don't be afraid to pay a little extra for your ticket if it means flying with peace of mind and in comfort.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Even after you've booked your flight you can still save money by keeping an eye on airline prices to see if they drop. There are some airlines that will offer to give you a free refund if you happen to stumble across cheaper tickets to your original destination. To keep you from constantly having to check on prices, there are some sites where you can sign up for email alerts should prices ever drop on your flight.
Saving money on airline fare can take more than a little bit of work and research on your part, but if you're willing to do everything you can to save as much as you can, you're sure to find the perfect airline ticket at the perfect price.
Source: The Huffington Post, "How to Save Money on Airline Tickets," Tim Chen, February 23, 2013