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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

Everybody wants to land an awesome flight deal, but getting a good price on your ticket is only the beginning. Take a look at our list of savvy tips to help you save a lot of money flying, from booking to packing to your final arrival.

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Sometimes nonstops are actually the best value

Bargain flights are tempting, but often include unusual layovers or multi-city stops, so they’re not always the best value once you factor in the cost of having to pay for airport meals during a long layover or worse, paying for a hotel during an overnight layover or—even worse—a weather cancellation mid-connection.

Know when to book

We’re all used to guidelines telling us that certain times of day or days of the week are smarter to buy tickets. And while usually that day is in fact Tuesday, that’s not always true. In reality, airlines tend to offer their best prices when they’re having a fare sale or in the off season when demand is lower. CheapTickets data also shows that the golden booking window for a good price is just far enough in advance: Three weeks out is consistently the cheapest time to save on flights.

Add a Saturday-night stay to your flight itinerary

Go on, stay the weekend! Adding a Saturday stay could unlock extra savings of up to 25% on your flight, according to data from the Airline Reporting Corporation and Expedia.

Sign up for all the travel deal lists

Be the first to know about great flight deals when you join mailing lists like CheapTickets. Signing up also gives you access to promo codes and exclusive prices on hotels, cars and more.

Get the right travel insurance

Sometimes you need to spend a little money to save a lot of money. If you travel often, get a policy that lasts a full year versus buying per trip and you’ll have peace of mind that could save you thousands.

Find airport parking deals

Parked Vintage Pink Car In Las Vegas Seeing From The Front

If you must park at the airport, use or (or a similar service) to snag a cheap spot at a parking lot nearby. Free shuttles run fairly often but check the customer reviews to pick the best lot within your price range. Prices go up the closer it is to the scheduled departure date, so plan ahead.

Weigh your luggage at home

Baggage fees are constantly going up. Before heading to the airport, double check the airline’s weight limits and then weigh your bag. If your bag exceeds the limit, you can at least transfer items between bags in the privacy of your own home or leave any unnecessary articles behind. Same goes for measuring the dimensions—if you’re hoping to avoid baggage check fees, make sure your bag qualifies as a carryon.

Research airline credit cards

An airline credit card can save you a ton of money and unlock valuable perks if you’re loyal to a specific airline and fly frequently. Even if there’s an annual fee, you may be able to easily come out ahead in rewards value depending on how much you fly. Aside from the miles you’ll earn on flights and everyday purchases, many airline cards also treat you perks like free checked bags or free Global Entry.  Other travel cards let you earn travel dollars back on flights, hotels and everyday purchases, in addition to awarding you freeTSA Pre✓®.

Compare fares at nearby airports

Always compare prices between nearby airports such as Fort Lauderdale versus Miami or Chicago Midway versus O’Hare to find the cheapest price. Sure, you might have to drive further, but if you’re saving hundreds of dollars per person it might be worth it. Of course, if the difference is only a few dollars, consider the extra costs in time, money and energy that getting to that other airport requires.

Don’t bash Basic

Savvy travelers know how to make Basic Economy work for them. Do the math: Will you end up paying more in the end if you have to check a bag both ways? Will Basic end up costing you more if you insist on purchasing seats a la cart? Another inside trick: Getting the airline’s branded credit card often helps override a lot of the restrictions associated with Basic. For example, both American and United’s credit cards let you check a bag free, offer preferred boarding, and allow you discounts on inflight food and drink. Find more info on how to fly Basic Economy and win here.

Don’t fear the red eye

Fares for red eye, or overnight flights, tend to be cheaper, but there are other advantages. Flights tend to be less crowded, so you’ll have your choice of seats, plus you’re paying for one less hotel night. Compare red-eye fares and see for yourself at

Split the cost with Lyft Shared Rides

If you’re taking a ride share to or from the airport, it could be worth it to share your ride share. While the UberPool shared ride program was suspended during the pandemic, Lyft Shared Rides are now back in select cities. The Lyft option allows riders going in the same direction to share a ride for a discounted cost, which is perfectly convenient if you’re all headed to the airport or all headed from the airport to downtown. Just make sure you’re not packing in so much luggage that the ride becomes uncomfortable! Bonus: Sharing a ride in a new city may also be a great way to chat with a local and learn some insider tips!

Take advantage of off-season and shoulder season travel

The travel industry has jargon regarding times to travel, namely peak, shoulder and off-season. More often than not, you will find special deals and steals on travel for off-season trips. Peak seasons are usually during summer and holiday breaks, which makes it difficult to find affordable flights and rooms. If you’re not constricted by school schedules, plan your trip during low season to give yourself cheaper options, and less crowded attractions.

Opt for a stopover

Not to be confused with a layover, a stopover allows those who are not in a rush to linger for a few days in their connecting city. It’s like getting two destinations for the price of one, and many airlines now offer them for free—including Icelandiar, TAP Portugal, Finnair, Emirates, Avianca and others. Many stopovers even come with free or discounted hotel nights, free tours, airport transportation and more.

Book your flight and hotel together to save

CheapTickets offers deep discounts when you book your flight and hotel together. In fact, you can save up to 42% on your hotel when you book it with your flight!

Tagged: Cheap Tips, Flights, Tips & advice

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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