Personal Finance

3 Ways To Save On Your Next Flight

Time in the air is often the largest single cost for a trip. If you don’t plan ahead for your flights, you’ll end up paying a lot of money to sit in the same cramped seat as the person next to you who grabbed a deal.

Super-affordable plane tickets do appear sometimes, but you’ve got to be ready to jump when you find one. These three hacks are among the best to help you snag the best flight prices.

Reconsider Your Loyalty

The era of single-airline loyalty is largely over for leisure travelers. Travel credit cards from such issuers as Barclay Bank and Chase now allow cardholders to use their miles on flights from any carrier, or other purchases like hotels, cruises or car rentals. These cards can also offer such pluses as travel insurance, which may allow you to avoid paying extra for this coverage. Some cards even give you a points bonus if you book your travel through their portals, with their card.

If you are loyal to one airline, though, you may find the perks that come with its credit card and rewards programs, such as free baggage or upgrades, make their flights unbeatable.

Start Tracking Before You Plan

If you have a trip in mind or just know you want to get away at some point, set an alert on a site such as Airfarewatchdog.

As an example of what such sites can offer, Airfarewatchdog will send you weekly emails with the best-priced flights out of your airport, and it can also track a specific route for you. For example, if you live close to the Chicago airport and you’d love to go to Paris this year, you can sign up for weekly emails with the best flight prices. That way you’ll start to learn what a good price is for that route, and know when to jump on a sub-$500 ticket. The best prices are often found a couple of months out, but there are many exceptions.

Airfarewatchdog also tweets out deals as they find them, so it’s a great idea to check their Twitter feed often in case there’s something good to snag.

Compare All Airlines

Some travel experts suggest searching for flights in an incognito tab on the Google Chrome browser, especially if you’re going to keep searching for the same routes over and over. Repeated searches make it seem like the flight is in high demand, which means prices could rise. You can also clear your browser’s history before each search.

Several websites are great for getting an idea of which airlines will be your best bet for the trip you want to take. Consider:

  • Google Flights has a homepage with general deals, and lets you easily compare the best days to depart and return.
  • Momondo, with a trip finder that lets you enter your budget and see what options are currently available.
  • Skyscanner is like a massive search engine, searching many sites at once. A key feature: you can just enter where you’re traveling from to see any affordable flight from your home airport, both domestic andinternational.

Once you have the price in mind, if you’re traveling domestic, visit Southwest Airlines’ website to check their prices, too, as their prices don’t appear on most other sites.

The article 3 Ways To Save On Your Next Flight originally appeared on ValuePenguin.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.