Book multiple items at once. You need your flight, a hotel, and a shuttle to and from each? Rather than spending time organizing each item separately, save money and time by booking them together. Although it may seem like a good way to spend more money, studies show that you actually save money by booking multiple travel items at once in a package deal.
First, do your research: are there budget airlines unique to the country you're flying out of and where you're headed to? Booking with a budget Australian airline (Jetstar) from Sydney to Honolulu, then an American one from Honolulu to Montreal saved us over $400 each when flying back from Australia to Canada earlier this year. This allowed us to create a thrifty five-day stopover in Hawaii on our way back, which was less exhausting and a lot cheaper! Kiwi.com and AirWander are both great search engine for revealing cheaper routes like this that involve multiple airlines.
Airline fares will keep rising the closer you get to departure, but there is a sweet spot when the airlines begin to either lower or increase fares based on demand. Don’t wait until the last second but don’t book far, far in advance either. The best time to book your flight is around 6–8 weeks before your departure, or around three months before if you are going to your destination during their peak season.
Fly out on the right day. Sure, leaving on a Friday promptly after work or heading on vacation on a Sunday after a relaxing weekend might be ideal, but it turns out these are the absolute worst times to fly. High air traffic on these days means that airlines jack up the prices. Plan your flights so that you depart on a Wednesday if possible, followed by a Tuesday or a Saturday. Mid week departures are the slowest, so carriers know they will have to accept lower costs in order to fill their seats.
It might take more than a week’s holiday to get around this vast country but whatever you want to do, you can do it here! From state to state everything changes from the landscape to the food, the people to the culture. From vast deserted plains to snowy mountains, swathes of thick forests to alpine lakes, lush vineyards to dense urban streets, white sandy beaches to craggy peaks.
Stick to economy. Possibly the most obvious way to save money on a ticket is to simply sacrifice the desire for creature comforts. You can save hundreds of dollars by flying in 4th or 5th class, rather than opting for 1st or 2nd with any airline. Although leg room and the dinner menu might be lacking, your wallet will thank you for the hefty amount of money you will have saved.
Why it's awesome: Since its inception in 1998, New York-based JetBlue has helped raise the standard of service and amenities for low-cost carriers in the US. The airline's signature mood lighting, friendly service, complimentary satellite TV along with free food and snacks make it an industry leader economy flying. In fact, at 34 inches of pitch, JetBlue's Airbus A320 fleet has the roomiest economy seats in the US.
EasyJet allows to bring only one cabin bag on board, but it is bigger in size than most other low-cost airlines allow (56x45x25cm including handles and wheels). Easyjet warns that only 70 cabin bags can be taken on board, the rest will be put on hold free of charge. So if you want to carry your bag on board, you have to be in front line waiting for boarding.
Spirit Airlines offer without question the most stripped-down, no-frills flying experience of any carrier in the country, with the simplest option open to travelers — the so-called "Bare Fare" — allowing just one personal item on-board the plane. And while all that frugality has earned the carrier just two stars from Skytrax, there's no question that it has also helped to keep fares low—really low! Expect to pay around 40% less than the average budget fare for all of America, saving plenty of dollars for the tables of Vegas or the sands of Cancun!
When you do find small airlines, even if they are listed in a search engine results, it often pays to check the company site which may reveal exclusive online offers not found in a regular search engine. For example, when flying in Western Canada, I found that Hawk Air, a small and local company offers weekly deals on certain days. Be sure to double check!
You can sign up for an airline rewards card that earns points with a particular airline, or a more general travel rewards card that lets you redeem points across a variety of airlines. As a beginner card, we recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can earn up to 60,000 in bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after your account opening. That's worth $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and more than enough for a domestic flight. There's also no foreign transaction fees, so it's the perfect all-rounder travel credit card. You can compare this card with other top credit cards.