These days traveling on any airline can be a challenge even for veteran holiday flyers. Each year finding ways to cut the rising cost of airline travel without impacting your ability to enjoy the holiday season gets a little harder. The important thing is to not resign yourself to paying high prices to travel and to look for deals anywhere you can.
I usually start each year by purchasing my tickets prior to the peak travel season of my destination. If at all possible I try to make arrangements for my November-January travel before September and purchase tickets that allow changes in the event of an emergency rescheduling. In addition to buying tickets prior to the peak season flying during off peak times can also save a bundle. In most airlines it is more expensive to fly between 7:00am and 7:00pm so if you’re willing to get up really early or stay up really late you can save a bundle.
Another great way to save some money is to avoid taking nonstop flights. Even though not switching planes is usually the more desirable option being willing to make a few connections can cut the price of your airfare. I usually try to make my connections in cities where I can enjoy a visit with friends I might not normally be able to see. Being able to have lunch with someone you haven’t seen in awhile can make the extra stop more enjoyable and a mini-vacation within a vacation.
One great way to save some money that many don’t know about is checking for new routes being offered by airlines. When these new routes are taking off airlines will sometimes greatly reduce airfare in an effort to fill seats on the planes. This will usually last until the new routes gain popularity and the airline no longer has to worry about having flights leaving with empty seats.
Competition between airlines is another great way to save money when traveling during the holiday season. Never be afraid to take advantage of the fare wars that pop up from time to time. When one airline suddenly slashes prices on certain destinations check out the competitions websites or even call and ask if they plan to offer similar discounts. Some airlines will create discounts and specials just to keep up with the competition and attract some new consumers.
Lastly don’t be afraid to take advantage of package deals. For the longest time I would avoid any package deal I saw advertised because I thought it would be a waste of money. Now I see that it sometimes pays to check into packages since lower airfares are often offered as part of the deal. In some cases the extras (hotel, rental car, ect.) can be canceled without penalty.