Rarely ever do airline tickets get cheaper as your departure date approaches, especially if you need to fly on a certain date. Budget airlines typically offer low rates as a baseline price, and as these tickets sell, the remaining ones increase in cost. This is very typical in Europe and Australia. If you know when and where you're going, don't wait on an unknown sale. More often than not, your biggest savings come from booking far ahead when you can.
If your country’s currency is currently strong compared to others around the world, search airfare in a country where the currency is weaker. For example, the US dollar is strong and the New Zealand currency is weak. I found a one-way flight from Australia to NYC for $1,000 USD but when I searched on the NZ version of the airline, I found the same ticket for $600 USD. It’s the same airline, same flight, and same booking class. It was just booked in a different currency. This tip does not always work, but it works often enough that it’s something worth trying if your currency is currently doing well.
Use your miles. If you’re a frequent flier, chances are you’ve gathered quite a load of frequent flier miles. These miles are redeemable for, as they suggest, free miles on an airplane to a destination of your choice. Sign up for a frequent flier card via your favorite carrier, or keep track of your miles with an air miles program. With enough saved up, you may even get a free flight!
If you're looking for true Americana, your choice is clear: road trip. Will you drive the soothing ocean view and coastal mountains Pacific Highway Route 1, or the truly amazing Beartooth Highway in Montana/Wyoming? How about the Sun Road in Montana through Glacier National Park, or the technically challenging Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee/North Carolina? Or will you tour the Main Street of America itself: U.S. Route 66?
Let’s say you decide you are taking the family to Hawaii
Many of these budget airlines have their own airline rewards credit cards, and most of them offer a major signup points bonus. For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card from Chase offers 40,000 points after spending just $1,000 in your first three months. However, a general travel rewards credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best option for most people, as you have the flexibility to redeem your points towards a wide variety of airlines and hotels. You'll receive 60,000 bonus points worth $750 through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of your account opening, and the card features no foreign transaction fees. Compare this card to other travel cards here.