No Summer Airline Tickets Yet? It’s Not Too Late

By the time July 4 rolls around, most of us have our travel plans etched in stone with summer airline tickets in hand, right? Uh, no. Most buy within 30 days of take-off, even though that can mean paying more.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to save. Check out these ideas and other useful travel tips.

LISTEN: Never too late, says Rick Seaney. But don’t just sit there!

Find Cheap Airline Tickets for Summer

Two airlines are offering Fourth of July weekend deals. Book by Friday, July 3 and depart that day or July 4, then return Monday or Tuesday. Click the name of the airline to see specific destinations and prices:

  • American: July 4 Weekend Deals from $220 round-trip
  • United: July 4 Weekend Deals from $168 round-trip

Tip: Hurry. Weekend specials tend to sell out quickly.

Find Cheap Flights for Summer

Ways to cut airfare costs.

  • Compare fares: Shop an airfare search site (like FareCompare). You must compare fares because no single airline always has the best deals.
  • Book soon: Buy tickets at least 30 days before departure. If that’s not possible, try to buy at least 14 days in advance.
  • Fly later: A Deal Zone gets underway around Aug. 24. Begin your trip on or around that date to save 15 to 20% off peak summer fares.
  • Fly cheap days: If possible, fly Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays, usually the cheapest days to fly.
  • Compare connections with non-stops: You can sometimes save as much as 50% off a flight by adding a stop to your  route.
  • Set airfare alerts: If the prices drops on a flight you set an alert for, FareCompare will let you know immediately.

Summer Travel Tips

These tips can save you aggravation; the last one can also save you money.

  • No fireworks: People try to fly with fireworks all the time. It is not legal, not in carry-ons or checked-bags.
  • Get to the airport early: Fourth of July is not the busiest air travel holiday but airports in popular tourist cities will be crowded; a good example is Orlando.
  • Use a carry-on: Carry-on bags are still free on most airlines; exceptions include Allegiant, Frontier and Spirt. As for checked-bags, all airlines charge a fee (even JetBlue) with the lone exception of Southwest.

Tip: Using a carry-on means your bag stays with you in case of delays and cancellations whereas a checked-bag might not make it on the plane in the case of tight connections. Plus a carry-on means a quicker escape from the airport and a quicker start to vacation.

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Updated: July 3, 2015