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5 Ways to Cut Travel Costs

Some examples of ways to save a little or a lot. How much you save will depend on many factors, including the days and time of year you fly and the route. Use these airfares as general guides only.

1. Save $50 on baggage. Most airlines charge $25 each-way to check a big bag but a smaller carry-on is free. Use a carry-on and save, and this video shows you how to pack light.

  • No free bags: Airlines like Frontier and Spirit charge for all bags including carry-ons while Europe discounters EasyJet and Ryanair have no carry-on fee. These rules change without notice so read up on them before you fly.
  • Free bags: Southwest Airlines offers two free checked-bags on domestic and international flights.

2. Save $75 by comparing airfares

Bet this seems like a no-brainer: Always use an airfare comparison search site when shopping for tickets. If you just go to a favorite airline site you could pay too much because no single airline always has the best deal.

  • Example : If you were shopping for an October flight for Cleveland-Denver and only checked Spirit’s site, you’d get a flight for $223. Not bad, but if you’d compared fares you would have found a deal on Frontier for $75 less.

3. Save nearly $80 (or more) flying cheaper days

On U.S. domestic flights, the cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and the cheapest for international flights are typically midweek dates. The most expensive travel days for domestic flights are usually Friday and Sunday and weekends tend to be higher for international as well.

Example: Round-trip fares for Los Angeles to New York in October.

  • Tuesday to Tuesday flights: $264
  • Friday to Sunday flights: $342

Savings: $78. You may save more or less depending on the route and other variables.

4. Save $120 (or more) by flying from cheaper airports

Here’s an example of cheapest available airfares from two airports serving greater Los Angeles, mighty LAX and smaller Burbank. These are round-trip fares for flights in October.

  • Burbank to Boston, from $437
  • Los Angeles to Boston, from $309

Savings: $128. Cheaper airports are usually the bigger airports.

5. Save $300 (or more) by adding a stop to the flight

We’ve seen $300+ savings on domestic flights in summer, but here’s a transatlantic example for fall – Dallas to London.

  • Non-stop from $1,275
  • Two stops from $934

Savings: $341. If you’re a family of three, you’ve just saved over $1,000.