How to find a cheap plane ticket for the holidays
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Summer is fast approaching and with it comes travel season. Indeed, 73% of Americans have travel plans this summer, according to recent data from ValuePenguinwith an average of $2,700 set aside to plan their getaways.
But if you haven’t booked your holiday yet, do not wait any longer. And if you’re looking for a bargain, it might help to think outside the box.
“I think the biggest savings to be made are actually a complete overhaul of your vacation planning strategy,” says Scott Keyes, founder of the Airfare Newsletter. Scott’s Cheap Flights.
“Everyone says they want to get cheap flights, but the way most people search for flights is completely backwards, and in fact that limits their ability to find them,” he said. he told CNBC Make It.
In Keyes’ experience, the average person follows the same three-step process when booking an airline ticket. First, they choose a vacation destination. Second, they choose their dates. And third, they’re starting to look at the cost of flights.
“Setting price as the last priority, it’s not very surprising that we have quite expensive flights,” he says. Instead, potential travelers should follow this same three-step process and “reverse it.”
“If cheap flights are really important to you and it’s a vacation where you have the flexibility to choose where and when to go, don’t make price the last priority,” says Keyes.
Instead, make price the top priority. He recommends periodically checking prices at your local airport to see which destinations are the most affordable, keeping in mind that fares can change from day to day.
Once you’ve picked out a few places you’d be happy to visit, only then should you start looking at what days have the cheapest fares available and see which ones fit your schedule.
“That’s how you can afford to take three or four vacations for the same price you paid before,” says Keyes.
Keyes acknowledges that some trips such as weddings don’t offer the same kind of flexibility with dates. In those cases, travelers should do their research during what he calls the “Goldilocks window,” which he says is when the best fares can be found.
For domestic flights, Keyes says the Goldilocks window is usually between one and three months before your travel dates. For international flights, it is between two and eight months in advance.
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