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How to Save Money on Flights in 2023 (+8 FAQs Answered)

by Milos Djordjevic

Your dream vacation doesn’t have to bankrupt you. By learning how to save money on flights, you’ll be able to organize affordable trips and visit incredible destinations. 

Today, we’ll help you find the best ways to save money on airline tickets. We’ll teach you how to monitor flight prices and pick the best times to have your trip and book your tickets.

How to Save on Airfares

There are many ways to save on airfares! The key is to plan ahead and regularly monitor ticket price changes. Use tips from this article to determine the optimal time for your trip and how far in advance you need to buy your ticket to get the best deal. Keep in mind that some financial institutions offer great discounts to their customers, so it’s a good idea to sign up for a credit card before planning a big trip.

1. Why Are Flights So Expensive Right Now?

Experts point to a few fundamental reasons why flights are so expensive right now. They claim that prices will continue to rise. Domestic flight costs are projected to increase by around 7% monthly, while international airfare costs will grow by 5%.

The normal seasonal activity is a major reason for this increase. Demand for flights is typically higher during the summer holidays, which leads to higher airfare prices. That’s why you’ll see advice against flying during holidays on many lists of frequent flyer tips.

Additionally, inflation has increased by 7% in the past year, which has affected all prices, including airfare. Rising jet fuel costs are another major contributor to the increase in flight prices. That’s because fuel is around 30% of the total operating expenses of airlines. Therefore, any kind of fuel price increase directly affects the price of airline tickets and makes it more difficult to save on flight costs.

Lastly, the pandemic had a huge effect on airfare. If previous years are any indication of how the virus spreads, the upcoming months should be a time of relief in terms of detected cases. The summer and the beginning of autumn will probably see greater demand for tickets and an increase in travel in general. That, in turn, will affect airline ticket prices.

2. When Are Flights the Cheapest?

Industry experts say that the prime booking time is between 3 weeks and 115 days before the flight. During that period, most airline tickets are within 5% of their lowest prices. So you’ll need to plan your trips in advance to get the best deals. 

Another aspect to consider when purchasing a plane ticket is the season. For instance, summer flights are always the most expensive, which is why it could be challenging to save on flight tickets for a summer trip, no matter when you book them. Still, experts recommend planning your vacation on time and purchasing a ticket about 99 days in advance. 

The same goes for the winter holidays. Christmas and New Year’s are times when tickets are much pricier. If you want to book a ticket during the winter, you should opt for a non-holiday period and buy it three months ahead of the trip. 

For fall travels, industry experts say that you could wait longer before booking your tickets. Autumn is usually the best time to buy plane tickets, and it’s perfect for last-minute trip decisions. Still, it’s best to buy your ticket at least 69 days in advance. That is, of course, with the exception of Thanksgiving week, as that is another time when tickets get pretty expensive again. In the spring, you shouldn’t wait longer than 84 days before your trip to purchase a ticket.

How To Save Money on Flights - When are flights the cheapest

3. Do Flights Get Cheaper Closer to the Date?

Flight prices could be pretty volatile and sometimes defy the regular patterns. But most experts agree that plane tickets don’t get cheaper as the departure date approaches. In most cases, they will actually get more expensive as airlines take advantage of last-minute emergency trips. It’s best to plan your travel well ahead.

4. How to Find Cheap Flights

Cheaper flights are available with low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers. So you should start your search with them. You can also look at popular flight websites such as Google Flights, Momondo, and Priceline. Alternatively, you could check Skyscanner and ITA Matrix. It’s also good to sign up at some of these platforms and enable the option to get notified when prices change for the destinations you’re interested in. 

Keep in mind that Southwest flights don’t appear on the most popular flight platforms. Still, you can check the airline’s website for its low-cost options.

It’s always better to plan ahead and use these buying plane ticket tips to determine the best time to book your trip. It’s also wise to be flexible when it comes to dates because that can have a significant effect on ticket prices.

If you’re traveling in a larger group, try booking one ticket at a time. Most airlines attempt to seat the whole group in the same cabin and usually offer extra perks for group tickets. That, however, usually means that prices will be much higher. You should try booking one ticket at a time to check whether you’ll get a better deal. 

5. How to Get Discounts on Flights

The easiest way to get a discount on a flight is to sign up for a credit card from a bank that has a deal with certain airlines. American Express is famous for its various deals with US carriers. Moreover, Chase credit cards and British Airways Visa Signature Card will also provide you with fantastic deals on specific flights. 

What’s more, many banks have a travel portal that you can use to book a flight or to get free hotel rooms. You’ll be able to use your credit card points at these portals, which is pretty useful and among the best ways to save money on flights.

The American Association of Retired Persons also has great discounts and other airfare deals for their members. Students could also get special discounts when signing up for student-specific platforms, as they constantly seek available prices due to their limited budget and many expenses. StudentUniverse members, for instance, can get a discount of up to 30% on some flights. If you use the United Airlines app and you’re 18 to 23 years old, you can get a 5% discount on United flights.

6. How to Fly to Europe Cheaply

Two critical aspects of a cheaper flight to Europe are flexibility and planning. If you plan your trip ahead, you’ll be able to monitor ticket price changes and book your flight at the best possible price. Many different platforms, including Google Flights, have a special feature that allows you to choose a destination you’ll be informed about every time prices change.

You should also go with ultra-low-cost airlines as they offer unbeatable prices. However, you would have to give up a certain level of comfort with these kinds of flights. One of the essential tips for getting cheap flights is to read the terms and conditions carefully and look for hidden fees. Such fees include seat upgrades, food and beverages, and carry-on and checked luggage.

In terms of flexibility, it’s best to be open to changing your destination if prices are too high. You could also fly to a nearby city or even country and then use another method of transportation to reach your desired destination.

7. Will International Flights Get Cheaper?

As we mentioned, industry experts predict that international flights will not get cheaper in the upcoming months. On the contrary, flights will get even more expensive. International airfare is expected to increase by 5% per month on average.

8. What Is the Cheapest Month to Buy Airline Tickets?

We have already explained that the prices of airline tickets depend on various factors, such as the season and how far in advance you book your flight. The month of your trip is another thing to consider. In general, flights between September and early December are the least expensive, as well as those from January to mid-May. Keep in mind that ticket prices are much higher during the holidays.

Saving Money on Flights: Final Thoughts

So there you have it. We’ve looked at the best ways to save money on flights. Use the tips from this article to make a decision on your destination, the time of your flight, and how far in advance you need to book it. In addition, it’s wise to make the most of flight platforms and sign up to get notified of your favorite destinations. That way, you’ll be among the first to know when an amazing deal becomes available. 

The best destinations are now within your reach! Bon voyage!