Even with the price wars going on with the airlines nowadays, buying an airline ticket can still be rather pricey. But you can lessen the cost, or even fly for free sometimes, if you just know the secrets of how to do it. Here are five tried-and-true ways you can fly for less:
1. Become a Traveling Companion
I did this myself a few years ago, and the experience was cost-effective and memorable. You see, an elderly lady I knew casually wanted to visit her daughter in Florida. But, she was afraid to travel alone. So, she offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse: if I accompanied her to the Sunshine State, she would pay for my airfare down and back. Plus, I wouldn’t have to make hotel arrangements because I could stay with her daughter and their family in their comfortable home. Free airfare to and from Florida, a private room, and homecooked meals- what more could you ask for?
2. Accumulate and Use Frequent Flier Miles
I can hear you saying, “I’ve already heard about frequent flier miles. That’s old news. I can’t even get those because I don’t fly that much.” I used to think the same thing. Until I realized all the places that now give you frequent flier miles. You don’t have to fly all the time to accumulate these bonuses. You can rack up miles every time you use a credit card, for example. Many programs award you with one mile for every dollar you spend. And with the high price of everything nowadays, these miles can really add up quickly!
You can also earn Frequent Flier Miles when you eat out, stay at certain hotels, rent a car, donate to charitable organizations, and take out a mortgage or other type of loan.
3. Get Bumped
My friend Pete does this all the time because he travels all the time. Whenever he’s on vacation somewhere, he calls the airline hours before his scheduled departure time. Pete checks to see if his flight is booked full. If it is, he volunteers to get “bumped”, or, put on a later flight. In return for giving up his seat on the airplane, Pete gets reduced air fares and other considerations.
4. Book Your Flight Online
I got this advice from my traveling aunt. Aunt Mary has traveled from coast to coast, and even across the globe, for years. Of course, before she got Internet access, she and my uncle made their airline reservations by calling the airlines. Now, however, they book all their travel arrangements by dialing up the Internet instead. Check out sites like Travelocity.com or Orbitz.com the next time you need airplane tickets.
Not only does Aunt Mary save time and hassle, but she says she always saves money on air fare. Saving money is important to everyone, especially seniors who are living on a limited income.
5. Pack Light
Before you begin to pack up your bags for your next trip, check with the airline’s website and find out how much you’re allowed to take. Why? Because if you exceed the luggage limits, you’ll end up paying extra. Most of the major airlines allow each passenger to take two suitcases that weigh up to fifty pounds each. Go over that limit, and you’re going to pay big to fly your belongings.
In order to lighten your load, make sure you only take necessities with you. Do you really need an extra bed pillow? What about those toys for the kids? And, if your suitcase hits the load limit before you’re done filling it, try fitting items into your carry on bag.