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How To Save On Airfare In 2014

Tim Parker

It’s cramped, claustrophobic and there’s a better than average chance that the person you sit next to won’t be on your Christmas card list.

For that experience, it’s likely to cost you a couple of hundred dollars—at least.

For that reason, you want to find the best deal on your airfare that you can.

We put together a couple of tips to help you make that happen.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Remember the days when airlines would throw down the deal of the century a couple of days before the departure date? All you had to do was wait.

There aren’t as many flights to choose from today. That means most flights are now full and if they’re not, airlines aren’t likely to discount them anyway, according to travel agents.

On average, you’re going to find the best rate about 21 days before your departure date.

Related: 13 Ways To Save More Money

But DO book in the AM

Airlines update their rates overnight and release the best deals early in the morning. To get the great rate on those few available seats, get up early. What about the, “book on Tuesdays” tip that has been around for years? It’s true, say the experts. Finally, Wednesday, Tuesday, and Saturday (in that order) are the cheapest days to depart.

Head to Twitter

140 characters isn’t much but it’s enough to advertise the latest great deals. It works best for the discount airlines like Spirit but follow @TheFlightDeal and @AirfareWatchdog for even more deals.

Don’t Forget About Your Memberships

Are you an AARP member, for example? This and other discounts may help you get a small discount on your fares. Check with the airline to see if they provide discounts.

Drive A Little More

You might be paying more because you aren’t considering other airports. Would you drive an extra hour to save $100? Don’t be married to your airport of choice because it’s closest. By driving a little further, you can save a lot of money. Also consider a smaller airport.

Don’t be Loyal to One Airline

Two one-way tickets from different airlines may be cheaper than a round-trip ticket on the same carrier.

Bottom Line

Because there are fewer flights in the air, the bargains that once were are no longer as widespread as before. Discounts are no longer dramatic and finding a cheap fare often means going to the discount carriers—something that some travelers don’t like.

But if you do want to find a bargain, be flexible with your departure times and do a little more digging. Jumping on Expedia and taking the cheapest flight on the list isn’t how the bargain hunters do it. Instead, consider as many options as you can and book about one month prior.

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