Taking advantage of the best airfares can significantly affect the amount you spend on your trip, allowing you to save money for other expenses or extend your trip.

If you are willing to take the time to search for and compare different options, you may find a deal or discount that makes your dream vacation more affordable. The best airfare can also provide peace of mind and make the trip more enjoyable, knowing you’re getting the best value for your money.

Book six weeks in advance.

According to the Airlines Reporting Corporation, passengers pay the lowest price, nearly 6 percent below average fare, if they buy six weeks before their flight. After looking at four years of data, it was determined that most people booked the cheapest tickets 42 days in advance.

But the six-week rule isn’t necessarily a surefire strategy for snagging the best airfare. “This is just a trend,” explains Chuck Thackston, ARC’s data and analytics managing director. “Airlines will make valuable deals available all the time. But, on average, we see this 42-day approach works.”

Scan for morning deals.

Airlines post limited seats at reduced fares at night, so Thackston advises snagging seats early. “Those tickets may sell out later in the day,” he says. Early morning is when most of these deals become available, although a few airlines release discounted tickets throughout the day.

Check the best time to buy.

Farecompare.com says the best time to buy airline tickets is Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern if you don’t find the discounts you’re looking for in the early morning. However, George Hobia, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com, argues that deal times vary, so there’s no specific day or time of the week to buy.

best airfare deals
Best airfares can be found with a bit of sacrifice.

Book the cheapest day to fly.

According to a Farecompare.com study, Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly domestically. Other low-cost flight days are Tuesday and Saturday (with Friday and Sunday being the most expensive).

Fly early in the day.

The best airfares can usually be found on early morning flights. “Yes, that means you have to get up at 4 a.m.,” says Rick Seaney, chief executive of Farecompare.com. The next cheapest flight times are around lunchtime or at the dinner hour. “Of course, the absolute cheapest time to fly is on those limited routes with red eyes,” he says.

Related: Advantages of Taking Red-eye Flights

Check low-cost airlines individually.

Comparison sites like kayak.com don’t do all the work for you. Some low-cost airlines, like Southwest and Ryanair, don’t allow their fares to be quoted on comparison websites. So be sure to check them separately. And do your homework to make sure the so-called “low cost” airline doesn’t tack on extra fees (think baggage), that drive up the cost.

Sign up for free alerts on AirfareWatchdog.com.

Almost every primary online booking site offers alerts that ping you when prices fall. AirfareWatchdog.com stands out by using people to vet deals rather than computer systems. “We only send updates when we think we’ve found a good deal, whereas other sites might update you when a flight drops $2,” says founder George Hobia.

Clear your browsing history.

Clearing your browsing history can lead to lower airfares for several reasons. Flight search algorithms may raise prices on flights you are interested in if you search for them repeatedly on a particular website, assuming you are a more serious buyer. It’s called dynamic pricing, and it’s common among online booking sites. Airlines may also track your search history and adjust prices accordingly.

Clearing your browsing history or using private browsing modes can prevent websites from using your search history to adjust prices, potentially lowering them. However, it’s important to note that other factors such as demand, seasonality, and availability also affect airfares, so clearing your browsing history is not guaranteed to secure the lowest fare.

Consider alternative airports.

It’s a good idea to consider alternative airports for several reasons. The first reason is that bigger airports may charge airlines more fees, which results in higher fares. Due to lower airport fees, travelers can get lower fares at smaller or regional airports.

Additionally, smaller airports may have different flight schedules or routes so that travelers can save money. In addition, alternative airports may be closer to the final destination, reducing transportation costs like taxis or rental cars. Travelers can also explore different destinations or regions by choosing alternative airports.

Book directly with the airline.

Booking directly with the airline can sometimes be cheaper when compared to booking through a third-party website in some cases.

A major benefit of booking directly through an airline’s website or call center is taking advantage of exclusive deals and promotions.

You will also avoid any commissions or service fees charged by third-party travel agencies or online booking platforms when you book directly with the airline. This can result in significant savings, particularly for frequent flyers or those booking multiple flights simultaneously.

In addition, booking directly with an airline can provide greater flexibility when making changes or cancellations to your itinerary since you will be dealing now with the airline rather than a third party.

Use a travel credit card.

Using a travel credit card to book air tickets can provide various benefits. Firstly, many travel credit cards offer rewards points or miles for every dollar spent on travel-related expenses, including air tickets.

These rewards can add up quickly and can be redeemed for future travel or other rewards. Additionally, travel credit cards may offer other perks, such as airport lounge access, travel insurance, and baggage fee waivers. Some travel credit cards also partner with airlines or hotel chains, providing additional benefits or discounts for cardholders.

Finally, using a travel credit card for air ticket purchases can also provide added security and fraud protection compared to using a debit card or cash.

Consider a layover.

Layover flights may be available at a lower fare for various reasons. It is possible for airlines to take advantage of layovers to fill vacant seats on less popular routes or during off-peak periods, offering reduced fares to attract passengers. It is also possible that layover flights are less convenient or require a longer duration, resulting in lower demand and, consequently, a lower price.

Furthermore, layover flights may involve more significant uncertainty and risk, such as flight delays or missed connections, further reducing fares.

Book tickets in groups.

Group bookings can lead to lower fares for several reasons. Group bookings often get discounts because airlines guarantee a certain number of seats will be sold simultaneously. Group bookings also give you more flexibility if you need to change your itinerary or cancel since the group leader can make changes for the whole group instead of individual bookings.

A group booking may also include extra benefits like priority boarding or baggage allowances. In addition, group bookings encourage camaraderie and shared experiences, making the trip more fun.

In conclusion, there are several booking hacks that can help travelers find cheaper airfares. These hacks include booking early, being flexible with travel dates, using price comparison websites, signing up for airline newsletters, and utilizing frequent flyer programs. It’s important to keep in mind that while these hacks can be effective, they may not always result in the absolute lowest prices, and other factors such as destination popularity and seasonality can also play a role in airfare prices.

Ultimately, by combining these booking hacks with a little patience and persistence, travelers can increase their chances of finding the best deals on airfare and saving money on their next trip.

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