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

Money in a wallet

Think there’s nothing you can do to save on the cost of travel? Wrong. Please look at these 5 ways to cut travel costs by $50 to $400 or more. Maybe they won’t all work for you, but we’re betting you’ll save something.

NOTE: Some airfares may have changed by the time you read this, but the concept remains the same, these are tips that can save you money. The amount will vary depending on where you live, where you go, your route and your ability to be flexible.

1. Save $50 on bags

Some airlines charge from $50 to $60 roundtrip to check a big bag while a carry-on is free. 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 European discounters EasyJet and Ryanair have no carry-on fee. Note: These rules change without notice so check 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. For U.S. domestic flights, the most expensive travel days are usually Friday and Sunday.

Example: Round-trip fares for Los Angeles-New York in October, on Alaska Airlines (found on FareCompare). Fly cheaper days and save $107.

  • Fly Tuesday to Tuesday, $263
  • Fly Friday to Sunday, $370

3. Save $130+ if you compare fares

Always use an airfare comparison search site when shopping for tickets. If you only visit your favorite airline site (because you “know” it’s always cheapest) 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; in this case, shopping FareCompare will save $135.

  • Found on a discount airline’s site: $325
  • Found on FareCompare: $190

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 September show you how to save more than $250 per passenger.

  • Burbank to Cancun, $577
  • Los Angeles to Cancun, $323

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 Vancouver to Sydney in September. Fly the connecting route and save more than $600.

  • Non-stop, $1327
  • One stop, $703

One More Thing

You may not save $50 or $400 (or more!) but you might. Again, it all depends on several factors including where you fly from, where you’re heading, when you buy tickets, what route you take, and more. Bottom line: Follow these tips and you’ll probably pass less. And as we always say, why pay a penny more than you have to?

Rick Seaney
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