We’re a family of 7, so finding deals is a must for us! We are huge at last minute traveling, too. See below how our family saves! ✈️
WHERE TO BEGIN YOUR AIRFARE SEARCH?
Google is a great way to search for airfare sales. Just type in the location and date you’re looking to fly and google will give you a list of flights.
SIGN UP FOR AIRFARE DROP ALERTS
As soon as you’ve established a date, sign up for sites like Airfarewatchdog or Hopper. You will get notifications of price drops on flights you’ve requested.
BEST AIRLINE TO FLY
The one with the best price! 😁
I will choose the airline offering the best rates, but I prefer Southwest, because they allow cancellation within a 24 hour window without penalty. Moreover, they allow you to cancel or change reservations anytime before the flight time and get credit (points) for the full amount of the fare. You can use these points on future travel within a year of the original reservation. So, if I book with Southwest and my traveling dates change, or I find a lower rate with them, then I’m A-OKAY👌🏻
Read Southwest Airline’s refund policy HERE
BEST TIME TO PURCHASE AIRLINE TICKETS
Purchasing economy tickets 30 day ahead of departure is usually best. Try to purchase tickets between Monday-Wednesday. Airfare sales display on Mondays and by Tuesday other airlines are matching those prices. However, purchase deals that catch your attention by Wednesday night, because by Thursday they will vanish.
PURCHASE FLIGHTS 30-60 EARLY OR LAST MINUTE FOR DEALS
I found that the best fares for US economy flights are usually 30-60 days out, and if you’re a risk taker like me, purchasing last minute airfare (week-days prior) can find you even better deals.
Last minute savings? Really??
YES! Over 50% of the flights I’ve purchased have been purchased days prior to my trip. By using this method I was able to book fares at under $300 round trip per person, and some as low as $150.00 round trip! HOWEVER, be cautious with this. This can be risky! You’ll have to be patient enough to keep a watchful eye.
Some airlines will drop their prices week- days prior to a flight, if they are not booked. I’ve always had luck finding cheaper fares last minute, but don’t push your limits. Have a back up flight in mind in case the last minute method option starts to falls through. There’s been times I’ve booked a flight with Southwest at my desired price range then continued searching for better deals, if I was too weary of increasing airfare. If airfares remains steady, and flights are still pretty open, I usually wait for the price drops the week of departure.
The key: Search with 1-2 passengers first, as sometimes only a few seats will be listed with lower fares. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by using this method. I once snagged 2/5 seats for half the price of the other 3 on the same flight!
Prices usually peak the week of the flight, so be patient and wait for it to drop, don’t panic and click the buy button when you see prices peak, if you decide to go the risky route.
The key is to check the flights to make certain they are still wide open. If the flight still shows plenty of seats open near it’s flight date, chances are that prices will drop the week of the flight.
ARE YOU FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR DATES?
If so, play around with the departure and returning dates. This method can also save you a substantial amount of money. Thursday- Friday departure dates are usually better options.
ARE YOU RENTING A CAR?
Check airports in near by locations ( 1-2 hrs of your destination location). We planned a Disney vacation last year and airfare was running $600- $800’s round trip in Orlando FL and $300’s round trip in Jacksonville FL. That was only 2 hrs away. This was huge savings for a family of 7!
SO WHAT ABOUT ACCOMMODATIONS?
With accommodation booking as soon as possible is best. If you’re a risk taker then booking the very last minute can save you big, too!
The key: Book of OFF- PEAK! If you plan trips off-peak your airfare will be much lower as well. For example, we usually take our summer trips the week prior to school, because airfare and accommodations are usually much MUCH cheaper.
We booked a Disney Trip during off peak season in 2017 and snagged a 2 story House (sleeps 10) with a pool for less than $200 a night. Disney was only a 15 minute drive!
SAVING ALERT: If you intend on visiting the popular T-Rex in Disney Spring, get Laundry’s Select Club Card. It’s $25, but you’ll get that credit back on your 1st dine in. If you’re a member, you’ll have seating priority. Our 1hr wait turned into 15 min ! JOIN HERE
The year prior we did the same thing for our week in Destin 😍
I reserved a spacious home (sleeps 8) that had private access to the beach, included a golf cart, and was less than 20 minutes away from the popular Crab Island. The rental also included coupons for fun activities, such as free snorkeling for one, free boat tour for one, and kayaking discounts. All this for less than $200 a night ( it averages $350+ peak season).
BOOKING OFF-PEAK IS TRULLY A MONEY SAVER! Go to Colorado when it’s getting warmer or book condos on the beach in the winter! My family just returned from a weeks getaway this Christmas using this method.
-We booked a condo on the beach in Atlantic City for half their usual rates.
-Booked a 4 star hotel on Time Square 3 days prior to our departure for nearly half their usual rates
– Booked a vehicle the week of our trip for $400 less than the rates I had been seeing months prior. Then RETAILMENOT put the cherry on top 😍 I found a 20% off coupon for our weeks rental there! This helped offset the cost of the fee charged for dropping off the rental at a different airport location than pickup. SCORE!!
-We flew into Philadelphia (one way fares were less than $100 there) drove to Atlantic City (1hr drive) enjoyed 4 days there
-Drove to NYC (2hrs) for the rest of the week and flew out of NYC (one way fare was less than $140).
*We planned sight seeing stops along the way.
So we booked accommodations for 1/2 the price, got a great deal on a car rental, and our combined fare (round trip) for NYC was approximately $250 each! They were running $400-$600!