5 reliable tips for finding cheap flights in 2022

The summer travel season is of course on us. This year we have seen demand for summer trips to skyrocketand growing demand has also led to skyrocketing travel costs.

Airfares, hotel stays, car rental costs and more are among the highest in years. If you have postponed the purchase of your summer flights, now is the time to book. But before making any decisions, make sure you know the best tips and tricks to avoid having to pay a small fortune to fly during the summer season.

Whether you plan to travel within the state, across the pond to Europe, or across the country, there are tips for getting more affordable flights. We’ve compiled a list of the top five ways to find cheap summer flights – here’s what you need to know.

Traditionally, flights are most expensive on days when everyone wants to travel. While there is no better day to book your flights, there are better days to travel than others. Traveling days earlier in the week or in the middle of the week tends to be cheaper than traveling on Fridays or weekends.

Ultimately, if you have the option of working remotely, consider traveling a few days before your vacation begins. For example, if you plan to go on vacation for a long weekend from Friday to Monday, consider driving to your destination on Wednesday evening, working remotely on Thursday, and returning home on Tuesday. Although you will have to pay for accommodation during your stay, if you can save a significant amount of money on your flights, it might be worth jumping straight into vacation mode.

For example, if you’re looking to fly from New York to Cancun for a long weekend in July, a Friday-Monday itinerary will cost you $585 nonstop with JetBlue.

Google Flights

However, if you’re able to work remotely — or have more time to take off — and can travel Wednesday through Tuesday, you can fly nonstop with JetBlue for just $401, or nearly $200 from less than the Friday to Monday itinerary.

Google Flights

Of course, not everyone will have the flexibility to travel on the cheapest days. Many business travelers can only be out of the office during “traditional” summer travel dates. But, if you’re someone who is able to work remotely, it’s definitely worth considering extending — or shortening — your trip to potentially save several hundred dollars on flights.

Many large metropolitan areas have multiple airports to choose from. New York has LaGuardia (LGA), Kennedy (JFK) and Newark (EWR) airports; Chicago has O’Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW); Houston has George Bush-Intercontinental (IAH) and Hobby (HOU); And the list continues.

When looking for flights, check if your destination has a secondary airport that serves the area. Often it can be cheaper to fly to these smaller airports instead of the main airport serving a given area.

For example, if you wanted to fly from the Boston area to Orlando on summer travel days, you could do so for $261 round trip if you were to fly to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) with Spirit Airlines.

Google Flights

Or you can fly from nearby Hartford (BDL) for a very reasonable $107 round trip on the same dates with Frontier, noting, however, that both routes are with low-cost carriers.

Google Flights

If you’re not set on a particular destination but just know you want to get away for the summer, you should use Explore function of Google Flights. The free service lets you see which destination has the cheapest airfare.

Google Flights

The Explore function allows you to search with specific dates or with flexible dates within a given month. You can choose your city of origin and let Google do the work for you. From there, you can simply click on the destination that appeals to you and fits your budget and proceed to book your flights.

Google Flights also lets you set fare alerts and will email you if and when the cost of a given ticket increases or decreases. This is especially useful if you set alerts months in advance when you’re planning to travel so you can jump on a good deal if it comes along.

Alternatively, there are services that help you find cheap flights. Premium Thrifty Traveler and Scott’s Cheap Flights are two of our favorites membership-based tools that help you identify cheap deals. With each of the services, you can subscribe to receive daily flight offers in your inbox.

Many low-cost airlines have made strides in recent years to improve both their operations and the customer experience. However, while they may offer cheap rates, they have been known to charge hefty fees for all the extras you might want, like checked baggageseat selection, hand luggage and, in some cases, even water.

And while “traditional” carriers like American, Delta, and United have emulated the low-cost experience with basic economy fares, you can avoid them simply by purchasing a “regular” economy ticket. But if you choose to fly with a low-cost carrier, you run a greater risk of being delayed or even stranded if weather conditions or other factors impede your flights.

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Legacy carriers typically have larger fleets and higher flight frequencies, which means you have a better chance of getting to your final destination if something goes wrong on the day of travel.

Use your points and miles

If you’re not having much luck finding flights that fit your budget, you can turn to whatever points or miles you have by flying or spending on a credit card with travel rewards.

All major US airlines have their own loyalty programs. If you flew with American, Delta, United, South West or JetBlue, for example, in the past and have added your frequent flyer number to the reservation, you will have been rewarded with points and miles in exchange for your business.

And if you’ve accrued enough points and miles in your accounts that have been sitting dormant throughout the pandemic, summer may be the best time to use them.

For example, you could use your United Airlines MileagePlus miles on a flight from New York to San Francisco this summer. A six-day round-trip nonstop flight in July will cost you 61,000 miles and just $11.20 in taxes and fees instead of $811 for the same flights.

United

Even if you don’t always get the most out of your miles, if you want to save money, it’s a no-brainer.

Also remember that if you don’t have enough United miles in your account at the moment, you can also transfer them from Chase Ultimate Rewards Program. If you have a Chase Sapphire Card and earn Ultimate Rewards, those points transfer instantly to United Airlines at a 1-to-1 rate.

In general, it’s easier to use points and miles to book flights at popular travel times when you book well in advance, but as the example above shows, if you have some flexibility and you’ve saved points and miles, you may even find some great deals. at this stage of the game.

The summer season has arrived and millions of Americans are heading out to celebrate. If you haven’t made your travel plans yet, now is the time to do so. Although summer is usually an expensive time to travel, it is still possible to find affordable plane tickets for this year.

Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.

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