As much as you’d love to jet off to Acapulco for the holidays, chances are high that you’re headed to the location your family matriarchs dictates. (Unless you can pull off the legendary Xmas Caper™. In that case, hats off to you.) An even though Christmas is only 10 weeks away, you still have to schedule holiday travel if you get started today! So don’t fret, just take a deep breath and use our tips for painless airline booking:
Plan ahead: 21 days is the typical advance purchase requirement for the cheapest fares. If you have very specific travel dates, which you probably will have during the holidays, you will be fairly limited. In this case, it’s best to book at least 6-8 weeks in advance. Also, try to plan your vacation time at the beginning of the year and save a couple vacation days for holiday travel. Having a few flex days during the holidays could save you a lot of dough.
Sign up for newsletters: Travel experts are looking for deals every day, so take advantage of newsletter subscriptions that offer last minute airfare deals.
Break it up: Check one-way fares. In some cases, you can find a cheaper flight by booking two, one-way tickets. This is usually the case if you aren’t planning on staying more than three nights or planning a weekend trip.
Bigger sometimes is better: If you’re committed to certain dates, check the bigger carriers first to find the best route as they generally have more routes and travel times available.
Check the rules of your ticket: Some tickets will allow for refunds of price difference if the cost of a seat on your exact flights decreases. If this is the case with your ticket, sign up for an email alert or keep checking prices with the airline.
Some lesser-known travel sites to check out:
Bing.com/travel: Features a price predicting capability and will tell you if the fare will go up or down in the future.
Kayak.com: Compare hundreds of travel sites at once. Provides a handy calendar with the “best fare” dates between two destinations.
Yapta.com: Yapta email alerts will let you know when prices drop. It will also alert you when to buy a ticket so that you can save money on airfare. For example, if the price of your flight drops below what you paid, Yapta will help you get a refund for the difference!
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