Airfare will be one of your biggest expenses on your vacation if not the biggest. It is never too early to start looking for your airfare. You can save money by purchasing your ticket at least 21 days in advance. The closer you get to your departure date the more expensive the fares will be. If possible, never purchase a ticket less then 7 days in advance. Airlines like to plan ahead. They want to know how much food they will need, how much luggage to expect and to make sure they have enough passengers to make the flight worth while. If there are too few passengers the airlines will cancel the flight and put the passengers on another flight.
3 Travel Seasons
Travel seasons are broken down into three categories, low season, peak season, and shoulder or mid season. Airfares between the seasons can differ greatly. During the peak season fares will be the most expensive. Peak season will fall during the summer months when kids are out of school and most families do their traveling. You will find the lowest fares during the off peak season which falls during the winter months. The shoulder season usually runs from about March through May and October to November. Airfares during this season are in the medium range.
During holiday seasons, Thanksgiving and Christmas, the prices of airline tickets will go up substantially. The most expensive time to travel is during the Christmas season, about 2 weeks prior to Christmas and 1 week after.
Most people flying on business fly between 9am and 5pm therefore flying during this time will cost you more. You can often find excellent prices on flights that leave between mid-night and 5am. Business travelers also usually fly between Monday and Friday and they don’t stay over the weekend so airlines often offer better deals for people staying over the weekend.
Day of the Week
It is more expensive to fly on some days versus others. The cheaper days to fly is usually Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday so if your travel dates are flexible try to leave and return mid-week.
Choose Your Airport
There is another area to look at that can affect the price of your ticket and that’s the airports themselves. Your departing and arriving airports can have an affect on your airfare. Check out all the airports in your area, don’t rule out some of the smaller airports. While you probably will want to land at a major airport so that more resources will be available to you, smaller airports are often cheaper to leave out of. So try doing your search from various airports in your area.