Thursday, February 05, 2009

Travel Tip Thursday - Saving Money on Flights

Today is travel day for me! I love heading home!

Ok, let's talk TIPS...

One of the first things you should book when planning a trip are your flights. It's usually the most or second most expensive part of your journey and it's often hardest to change.

You can save serious $$$ on your air travel if you follow some key tips:

  • Book your flights at least 21 days in advance (they are rare sales day-of, but your best and safest bet is at least 21 days out).
  • Shop around for flights on Kayak is not like Expedia -- they don't sell tickets, they just show you the matrix of flights across airlines and travel companies to your destination.
  • Look for airports near your destination that might be cheaper to fly into (ex: Boston vs. Providence... Long Beach or Burbank vs. Los Angeles).
  • Choose flights on a Tues, Weds, or Saturday -- these will likely be the cheapest tickets because people fly least on these days.
  • Understand the rules regarding baggage fees on the airline you want to book. Yes, many airlines now CHARGE you (about $15-$20) to check even one bag. Each additional bag costs as well. So do overweight bags. So be savvy about WHAT you airline charges for so you don't end up paying more than planned. A $200 ticket could end up costing a lot more with bag fees, seat fees, and change fees. I found a great website that shows which airlines charge what for bags.
  • Bring your own food. Airlines no longer provide meals for passengers. Many airlines allow you to buy expensive snack boxes, but there is no "free lunch" so to speak. Pack sandwiches, chips, or other non-liquid items so you don't end up starving or paying $8 for some cheese and crackers (like I did once on an American Airlines flight).

Best Airline Deal in the Skies: Southwest Airlines

I know that they have a reputation for being a "low-cost carrier" but I LUV southwest.*

They have this whole "No Hidden Fees" Program:

  • No First Bag Check Fee
  • No Second Bag Check Fee
  • No Change Fee
  • No window or aisle seat fee
  • No phone reservation fee
  • No snack/drink fee (yay for peanuts and sparkling water!)

The best part is the no change fee. Since I travel a lot for work, I change my flights a lot because of meetings or other commitments. When you change your flight from one flight to another on Southwest you are only change a fare difference (sometime there is not even a difference) and NO change fee. Other airlines will charge you $50-$100 JUST to change your flight plus the fare difference. Boo!

I also like picking my own seat on Southwest (by checking in 24 hours in advance you can reserve an "A" boarding pass which allows you board in the first group of people). That way I can avoid the screaming baby or the sketchy looking dude.

I also love their Rapid Rewards, but that's another whole post.

If you have any questions about air travel or any general travel questions that you want me to answer, just leave a comment and I will give "As" to your "Qs" next week, along with the post I have planned.

*I do not work for Southwest Airlines, nor do any of my friends of family. I do not consult for or own stock in Southwest Airlines. I have not been paid in any form of monetary or non-monetary rewards from Southwest Airlines to write about them on this blog. I am simply a loyal customer.


Elizabeth said...

I am a definite Southwest fan also - love them!

Sassy and Classy Southern Mrs. said...

Such a good idea to take a snack. I found that out the hard way after spending $8 on a cheap off brand of chex mix and a bottle of water.

Sarah said...

Those are some great tips!! Thanks!!

And I do the automatic withdrawal to my savings too, I'd never manually move that money over, I'm too lazy!

Lindsey said...

This is sooo helpful, thank you!!!

Doublebanker said...

Very useful for my trip to Vegas in 3 months...thanks!

Ice skater headache gif

Rachel said...

I agree Southwest is great!

Jess said...

I second the Southwest praise!

I once had to change a flight with three days notice and it only cost me the $50 fare difference. That was it!

Plus, they are really great about getting everyone on the plane and in the air, quickly. No sitting on the plane for forever.

*** I also second your disclaimer. No personal or professional affiliation with Southwest, other than that I love to travel with them.

SassyEngineer said...

Thanks for more tips! I also like the website (it sounds a lot like kayak). Also, unrelated, I absoultely loved Captivating. I read Wild At Heart, and now I think my husband should read Captivating. I think it would help him understand me more. In fact, I kind of want to re-read it now!

Erin said...

Can I guest write for you one day on luggage requirements?! Love your Thursday tips travel buddy!!!

Sweet, Sassy, and Always Classy said...

I left you something on my blog :)

Justin and Jenn said...

I love your travel tips & I love Southwest Airlines. Their prices are great! The only down side is that they don't have resered seats...which was an issue when hubby & I flew to Denver. I have a thing with having to sit with who I'm flying with, but besides that- they're great prices!

My name is Megan... said...

thanks for the travel tips! all sorts of stuff i did not know!

Miss Adventure said...

These tips will sure come in handy for me soon, thanks for posting them!

ali said...

I love your travel tips! I to use Kayak. I've also recently found that Spirit has some great deals. Especially ones back to Ohio (where I'm from!)

Anonymous said...

Kirsten!! I love that you're continuing blogging even after the wedding planning finished - yay! I'm adding you to my frequently-read blog list... PS cool tips, I love them!

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