How to Shop for 4th of July and other Summer Holiday Flights

Some of the most popular times to fly in the summer occur during holiday periods, but there are pitfalls. Let me guide you through them.

When are these holidays I should be concerned about?

This year’s summer holidays are as follows:

  • Memorial Day – Monday, May 28
  • Independence Day – Wednesday, July 4
  • Labor Day – Monday, Sept. 3

Should I avoid these days?

No. Usually flying on the big day itself is one of the cheaper times to fly during a holiday period and a good example is flying on Thanksgiving Day instead of the dates immediately before and after. Use a flexible search calendar like the one we have here at FareCompare and you’ll immediately see the difference in airfare pricing and can find the cheapest date to fly.

How else can I save on summer holiday flights?

Here are four good tips:

Shop Tuesdays: The best way to save – for summer or anytime – is to always shop on Tuesdays at about 3 p.m. Eastern time. That way, you get the most airline sale prices to choose from.

Fly into Hubs: A good rule of thumb is, the bigger the airport the cheaper the fare. This is not always true so you must compare prices not just to the airport closest to your destination but to nearby cities – especially, big cities.

Look for Special Discounts: LivingSocial recently offered a nice discount on JetBlue flights, and I checked with an airline spokesperson who told me, yes, the discount could be applied to sale fares. Another example: As a bit of a goof, a colleague of mine recently voted for a new Frontier Airlines tail animal; shortly after that, she was delighted to find a 10 percent discount in her email as a thank you for voting.

Pack Light: On most airlines, using a carry-on will save you money – but this is no longer true on Allegiant which has just added a carry-on bag fee.

What are some good summer holiday destinations?

There are plenty of them – but here are a couple of favorites:

Boston. Lots of low-cost carrier competition makes this city one of the cheaper U.S. destinations. Find flights on Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country and Virgin America. So much to see and do, like the Boston Pops and the spectacular fireworks.

Washington D.C. What’s interesting here is the number of discount airlines that have applied to fly into city-close Reagan National Airport including Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America. All hope to be flying into the nation’s capital this summer on select routes. And few cities have as many fascinating historical attractions as Washington.

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Published: April 5, 2012