6 Overlooked Ways to Save on Airline Tickets

No, you don’t have to fly naked (in fact, one should never do this unless part of a nudist charter) but if you fly with the fewest clothes possible, that’s one way to save on travel. In fact, I’ve got six often overlooked ways to save on flights.

LISTEN: Rick Seaney with more good ideas on finding cheaper tickets.

1. Fly nearly naked.

Spirit Airlines got in the spirit of this idea with a pair of racy videos that demonstrate the art of packing light – light enough for a small personal item that fits under the seat in front of you and won’t cost a dime. Some key points to remember to avoid hefty bag fees:

  • Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit charge for carry-on bags
  • Most airlines don’t charge for carry-ons but do charge $50 round-trip for checked-bags
  • Two airlines give you checked-bags for free: JetBlue (1) and Southwest  (2)

2. Don’t hang onto your miles.

If you think it’s hard to amass enough miles or points for a free flight, let me tell you it’s going to get even harder on some airlines (including Delta in 2015). Plus many miles now come with expiration dates.

Suggestion: If you don’t have enough for an entire flight – and your airline program allows this – use miles as partial payment for tickets. But you should still compare airfare prices across the  board since even with the miles, you might find something cheaper.

3. Don’t be a sheep.

Everyone wants to fly Fridays and Sundays which is why those are the most expensive days to travel. There is a little known airfare-geek code that pertain to sales that you should know about: TWO.  It means, Tuesdays and Wednesdays only, and those are the best days to fly as they are usually the cheapest days to fly (and Saturday is another cheap day to fly). Don’t want to fly then?  Exactly! No one does, and that’s why they’re cheap. At worst, fly one of those days – Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday – and you’ll still reap half the savings.

4. Push vacation back.

Check out the Deals Blog and notice how many summer airfare sales say the featured deals aren’t good for travel until Aug. 25. If you can wait, you will save. And the price difference between mid and late August can be pretty amazing.

5. Don’t wait to the very last minute to book flights.

Wait too long and prices will  be sky-high, especially for peak season travel like summer or a major holiday. If you must book at the last minute, look for connecting flights with a stop (or two) as a possible way to save.

6. Sign up for alerts.

This is a very simple thing to do, yet a lot of folks never get around to doing it. Now’s the time to sign up for alerts so you won’t miss those great sales you’re always hearing about

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Published: June 3, 2014