Traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Exploring new cultures, meeting new people, and seeing new places can be life changing. However, the process of planning a trip can be stressful, especially when it comes to booking airfare. With so many options, deals, and hidden fees, it's easy to make mistakes that can cost you time, stress, and money. In this blog post, Virago Journeys presents seven of the most common mistakes travelers make when booking airfare and how to avoid them.
1. Not booking in advance
One of the biggest mistakes travelers make is not booking their flights in advance. Airline ticket prices tend to increase as your travel date gets closer. Booking your tickets at least 2-3 months in advance can save you a lot of money.
Virago Journeys Tip: Aim to book your flight about 6-8 weeks in advance for domestic travel, and 90 days to 6 months for international travel.
And while last-minute deals do happen, unless you’re constantly watching flight pricing and ready to book as soon as you see that great deal, you will miss it and end up paying a premium for last-minute bookings. Another reason to utilize the services of a travel advisor: we constantly monitor flight deals.
2. Not being flexible with travel dates
Being flexible with travel dates can also save you a lot of money. Airlines often have different prices for different days of the week, especially when flying on weekdays or during off-peak seasons. So if you’re able to adjust your travel dates by a few days, you could enjoy significant savings.
Virago Journeys Tip: The least expensive days to fly on a domestic journey are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while flights on the weekend tend to cost more than weekday trips. For most international journeys, your best day to fly is Wednesday afternoons.
3. Not using price comparison websites
It’s important to shop around to find the best deal for you. In today’s booming technology, numerous comparison websites exist to help you compare prices across different airlines and travel dates. These sites allow you to find the best option for your trip. Make sure to use a reputable website, like Skyscanner or Google Flights, for accurate results.
Virago Journeys Tip: Skyscanner’s sole goal is to help you find the best option for your personal travel plans. It allows you to search by date, destination, and budget. Use it to find deals on flights, hotels, and car rentals.
4. Not booking directly with the airline
Another mistake travelers make is not booking directly with the airline. Booking through third-party sites can sometimes be more expensive or result in complications if there are any changes or cancellations. It’s best to book directly with the airline whenever possible. And you’ll often find that’s where the comparison site sends you to book anyway.
Virago Journeys Tip: Most airlines release discounted flights every Monday so your best time to book a flight may be on Tuesdays. Avoid booking flights on Fridays and Sundays and around major holidays because that’s when most passengers fly, and prices are high.
5. Ignoring additional fees
Another mistake travelers make is ignoring additional fees. Many airlines charge extra for baggage, seat selection, and other services. which can significantly increase the cost of your trip. Make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully before booking your flight to avoid any surprises.
Virago Journeys Tip: Also consider the total cost of the trip, including transportation costs to and from airports (as well as hotel accommodations). Don’t focus solely on the price of the flight, as this may not be the most cost-effective option for your trip.
6. Not considering alternative airports
Many travelers automatically book flights to the largest airport in the area without considering alternative options. Smaller airports may offer lower prices and more convenient flight times. Make sure to check all airports in the area before booking your flight.
7. Not signing up for airline rewards programs
If you’re a frequent traveler, signing up for airline rewards programs can save you money in the long run. These programs offer significant savings and perks such as free checked bags, priority boarding, and lounge access. Most airlines offer free membership, and you can earn points or miles for every flight you take. These points can then be redeemed for free flights or upgrades. Make sure to sign up for these programs to take advantage of these benefits.
Booking airfare can be a daunting task, but avoiding these common mistakes can save you time and money. By booking at the right time, being flexible with your travel dates, signing up for airline rewards programs, reading the fine print, using price comparison websites, considering alternative airports, and considering the total cost of the trip, you can find the best deals on airfare and make your trip stress-free.
For a truly stress-free travel experience, let Virago Journeys save you time and money by booking your next flight. Book your free travel consultation today.
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W. Anne Jones
A curious explorer, learning and growing. Join me as I travel the world one day at a time.