5 Ways to Cut Travel Costs by $50 to $400 and More

Money in a wallet

Maybe you think there’s nothing you can do to save on the cost of travel. After all, airlines set the price of tickets and we pay or stay home. But there are other things you can do including these 5 ways to cut travel costs by $50 to $400 or more.

NOTE: Some of the airfare examples may change by the time you read this, but the concept remains the same; these tips can help you save. Oh, maybe not $400 because the amount you can save depends on many factors like where you live, where you’re going, your route and flexibility. But most of us can save something.

1. Save $50 on bags

Most airlines charge $50 roundtrip to check a big bag but a carry-on is free on many airlines. This video shows you how to pack a carry-on so it holds everything you need.

  • 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 flying cheap days

    On U.S. flights, the cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; cheaper international flights are usually on midweek dates. The most expensive travel days for domestic flights are usually Friday and Sunday. Here’s an example for roundtrip fares for Los Angeles to New York in October.
    Example: Round-trip fares for Los Angeles to New York in October.

  • Fly Tuesday to Tuesday, $299
  • Fly Friday to Sunday, $377
  • 3. Save $150+ if you compare fares

    Always use an airfare comparison search site when shopping for tickets. If you only visit a single, favorite airline site, you could pay too much. The reason: No airline always has the best deal. Here’s an example for flights from Cleveland to Dallas in the fall.

  • Found on discount airline’s site: $362
  • Found on FareCompare: $200
  • 4. Save $200+ by flying from cheap airports

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

  • Burbank to Ft. Lauderdale, $502
  • Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale, $295
  • Tip: In many cases, the bigger the airport, the cheaper the airfare.

    5. Save $400 (or more) – just add a stop to the flight

    Adding a stop to a long flight doesn’t always save on airfare, but it often does and it can be a lot. Here are comparisons of flights from Dallas to London in October.

  • Non-stop, $1094
  • One stop, $644
  • One More Thing

    You may not save $50 or $400 or more, but you might. It depends on several factors including where you fly from and your destination, when you buy tickets, what route you take. Bottom line: Follow these tips and chances are good you will save something. And why pay a penny more than you have to?

    Rick Seaney
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