Avoid This Expensive Traveling Mistake This Summer

Why buy tickets now? So you can afford them. So you can get them. Here’s a true story of an anonymous friend who waited too long.

By the way, this friend is no dummy when it comes to air travel. She’s no Rick Seaney of course but she usually knows what she’s talking about. Usually. We all make mistakes – but no reason for you to make this one.

LISTEN: Can Rick Seaney rescue this clueless traveler? Of course!

Forget your mistakes at these 7 relaxing destinations

When Shoppers Wait Too Long

This friend and spouse had a few days off and planned to fly from the West Coast to a city in the Rocky Mountains then ramble around by car from there. Unfortunately it did not occur to them to  even think about airline tickets until less than seven days before departure. Bad mistake. The airfare which would normally cost about $170 round-trip had suddenly ballooned to more than $400 and flying no longer seemed like the ideal option.

What to do?  They decided to get in the car, foregoing the roughly hour-and-a-half flight in favor of a 690-mile drive. “It’s not the dumbest thing I’ve ever done,” the anonymous friend said cheerfully, “but it’s up there.”

When to Buy

Normally at FareCompare, we say purchase tickets at least a month ahead of time because after that, prices generally begin to rise (and often keep rising right on up until the day of departure). But because summer is such a popular season to fly, you can shop even earlier (but no earlier than about three months before departure for domestic flights).

If you are flexible on your travel dates, consider putting off your trip until Aug. 25 which is when the airline’s fall season kicks in and many prices drop by 10 to 20 percent or more.

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Published: June 18, 2014