Last-Chance Summer Vacations

My, that was fast. Summer is zipping along, isn’t it?  If you haven’t planned your vacation yet, time’s almost up. But not quite. Not if you start now. We can help.

And here’s a way to save another fifty bucks.

LISTEN: It’s not too late, but hurry!

4 Ways to Nail Down a Last-Chance Vacation Deal

Not all of these will work for everyone but you won’t know until you compare airfares.

1. Start shopping now

This one will work for everyone. Once you peruse the other tips, start shopping and buy your airline tickets. Prices are only going up.

  • Good time to buy: 30 days or more before departure. Your best chance of finding the best deals.
  • Deals get harder to find: 14 to 30 days before departure. Beginning on day 29, prices are on the rise.
  • Danger zone: 7 to 14 days before departure. Prices have now risen dramatically.
  • Meltdown: 0 to 7 days before departure. You’ll pay the same outrageous prices business travelers do.

If you can shop 30 days in advance, your airfare will be a deal compared to what you’ll pay two weeks later.

2. Compare connecting flights and non-stops

On some routes – maybe yours – you can save as much as 50 percent on airfare by adding a stop (or even two). We all prefer direct flights, but a little extra time and trouble getting to your destination may be worth it in savings.

3. Fly and drive

Sometimes, it pays to drive to a bigger airport than the one in your backyard. Here’s an example of prices for a couple of round-trip flights in August:

  • Pocatello, Idaho to Seattle: $644 (1 stop)
  • Salt Lake City to Seattle: $370 (non-stop)

The driving distance between Pocatello and Salt Lake is about 165 miles. Only you can say if that inconvenience is worth $274.

4. Wait until the end of the month

As far as the airlines are concerned, the pricy summer season ends on Aug. 24 (and this is mainly due to the fact that so many kids are going back to school). Starting Aug. 25, most domestic fares drop. If you can squeeze in a vacation in late August, you can get the best of both worlds: A summer vacation for a fall fare.

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Published: July 16, 2014