Right now, I’m seeing an influx of people tweeting about buying their flights to BlogWorld (or saving up the money to do so). I don’t envy those of you flying in from Europe or anywhere else oversees. Las Vegas might be a city where you can get cheap flights, but yowsa, they are still expensive for someone on a budget.
I’m no expert, but I have done my fair share of traveling over the past decade. So, I’d like to share with you some tips for saving money on your flight. I hope you’ll add your own to the comments!
- Fly on/out Tuesday on Wednesday.
Yes, this is travel 101, but it makes more sense now than ever before. When you fly mid-week, you’re taking flights that often have empty seats, so the airline is willing to drop the price a bit to entice passengers. Usually, it doesn’t make much difference for travelers, because what they make in flight price they lose in having to book a hotel for an extra night. At BlogWorld, you can’t really beat the special prices available to attendees, so even if you have to spend the money on the hotel room for the additional day, you’ll probably come out on top.
- Fly super early in the morning.
The really early flights in the day are typically less expensive, but again, that’s a little Travel 101, right? Well, I’m recommending that you fly super early in the day for another reason – so you can stay behind if the flight is overbooked without missing anything in Vegas. This happens regularly at small airports and is even fairly common at large airports. You may have to spend your day at the airport, but most airlines will accommodate you with free food vouchers, and if you ask, they might even be able to hook you up with vouchers for free WiFi. Depending on how long you’re delayed, you’ll receive vouchers for anywhere from $50 to $400 or more that you can use for a future flight.
Pro tip: It’s up to the worker standing there to determine the offer amount, so be really, really friendly and flexible if you want a higher amount.
Pro tip #2: If you want some freebies, but don’t want to take a later flight, let other people offer first. If the flight is overbooked, listen for the worker at the gate to make a call for volunteers. He/she will probably do so a few times, but will stop doing so when it looks like they probably have enough people. When the announcements stop, go up and volunteer. They’ll put you on the list, even if they don’t need you, and when you go to board your flight, there’s a good chance that they’ll give you some free drink tickets. Of course, there’s always the chance that they could need you after all, so don’t use this trick to get free drinks if you aren’t ok with staying behind just in case!
- Find others flying out of your airport now.
Use Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks to connect with people flying out of your airport. Carpool or share a taxi and you’ll save money on parking. If you take some time to get to know one another, you can even save money on luggage if you have more stuff than will fit in a carry-on, but not enough to need an entire checked suitcase to yourself. If you each put your items inside a bag and then put the two (or even three) bags inside the suitcase, you can easily pull our your bag at the airport and go your separate ways. This definitely does require at least a low-level of trust for the other person, so meet up with people in your area now.
- Buy split tickets.
Most people realize that it is typically cheaper to buy a flight with one or two layovers than it is to buy a direct flight. Did you know you could save even more money with a split ticket? Let’s say you’re traveling from Philadelphia to Vegas, with a layover in Chicago. When a system books your ticket, it typically looks for the flight in Chicago that leaves ASAP after you’ve landed, even though a later flight may actually be cheaper. So instead of booking it all together, look up prices for booking Philly to Chicago and separate prices for booking Chicago to Las Vegas. It doesn’t work every time, but it could for you, so it’s worth checking out. Remember to allow yourself enough time to get your second ticket at the layover airport, as this may require exiting and going through security again.
- Connect with your airline through social networking.
If you follow your airline of choice on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, or even sign up for their newsletter, you could receive significant discount codes that you can use on your flight. It only takes a second to click the “like” button, so why not?
- Book during a window.
Flight prices will fluctuate in most cases. Traditionally, there are low point windows at the 21-day mark, 14-day mark, and 7-day mark. Of course, at seven days, the prices will be the lowest because they want the flight to fill, but you might not want to wait that long, since the flight you want could be booked solid by then and you’ll pay out the nose to get to your destination. I recommend booking around the 21-day mark if you haven’t already purchased your flight – which means next week.
Ok – your turn. How can we all save money on flights?