5 Ways to Cut Travel Costs by $50 to $300 (or more)

Planning a trip? Try these simple but effective ways to cut travel costs.

5 Ways to Cut Travel Costs

We show you examples of savings but they are just that, examples; you could save more or less depending on your route and other factors.

1. Save $50 (or more) on bag fees

  • Use the right bag: A checked-bag on most U.S. airlines costs a fee of $25 each-way; use a carry-on and save $50. This Sit & Zip video will show you how to pack a carry-on with everything you need. And here’s what you don’t need to pack.
  • Know your airline’s policy: Airlines in the U.S. and around the world have a confusing mish-mash of baggage policies and fees can change with little notice. For example, some ultra-discounters like Frontier and Spirit charge for all bags including carry-ons while Europe discounters EasyJet and Ryanair have no carry-on fee.
  • Airlines with free checked-bags: Southwest offers free checked-bags on domestic and international flights and most major carriers offer free checked-bags on transatlantic flights, but again, check the airline’s policy to be certain.

2. Save $75 (or more) by comparing airfares

Bet this seems like a no-brainer but not everyone uses an airfare comparison search site when shopping for tickets and that’s a mistake – because no airline always has the best deals.

  • Example #1: If you were shopping for an October flight between Cleveland and 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.
  • Example #2: If you were shopping for an October flight between Atlanta and Chicago you could have found a great deal on Spirit for just $86 round-trip. However, if you had compared fares, you would have found a flight on American for just a dollar more, and American does not charge for carry-ons while Spirit charges for all bags. Compare and save.

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 $248
  • Los Angeles to Boston, from $372

Savings: $124. 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.

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Updated: September 15, 2016