Five Tips for Frugal Flying

Most guys about to travel have one goal in mind: get there as cheaply as possible. Enter the art of tracking down the cheapest airline tickets you can get your hands on. There’s no shortage of websites seemingly devoted to helping people accomplish this task, yet simply clicking on the cheapest ticket isn’t always the best way to nab the cheapest fare possible. Indeed, there is an art to frugal flying. Luckily it doesn’t require years of practice to master, just an adherence to the following seven tips:

Make friends

Airlines large and small love repeat customers, just like any other business. Becoming a frequent flier with a particular airline is the best way to generate budget ticket rates. This is ideal for folks who fly a lot – more than three times a year. Rewards are the obvious perk, but you also get early notification for upcoming deals, first choice for available upgrades, and other benefits which make the cost benefit even stronger over time. However, those who tend to only fly once or twice a year probably don’t have much to gain from being friendly with a particular airline.

Find the best day to book the flight

Scores of alleged studies and research constantly point to Tuesdays and Wednesdays being the best time to book flights. The truth of the matter is that picking an optimum day of the week to fly isn’t so cut and dry across the board. Airlines aren’t dumb – they know about this supposed mid-week price drop, and are prepared to use that knowledge to their advantage. The best way to go about finding the cheapest days to fly is to simply analyze an entire month’s worth of price options per day. Most ticket search sites allow for one search to cover the whole month. You’d be surprised as to when the best deals are offered.

Know the “game”

Low-cost airlines pride themselves on providing consumers with a discount means to jetsetting across the map. They don’t get it done simply by swapping meals for peanuts. Budget flying means practically zero “extras” unless passengers are willing to pay extra. Further still, discount airlines do everything they can to get more money out of unsuspecting customers through fine print baggage restrictions and other seemingly shady tactics. Hey, it gets the upfront prices down, and ultimately the burden of due diligence is on the consumer. Learn the ins and outs of budget flying before buying tickets, or else risk paying more.

Loosen the schedule

It’s not exactly a conspiracy – but airlines all have access to reams of data about flier habits and create their flight schedules – and pricing – accordingly. Thus it isn’t always going to be in your financial best interest to book your flights exactly how you want to by the hour. Somewhere out there is an algorithm which already predicted this likely desired itinerary, and the price has increased. If possible, always try and throw the airlines for a loop by flying out a day early to a business convention for example, or flying back on a late Sunday night route after flying in on a Friday afternoon.

Clear your browser history

It might sound a little Orwellian, but the airlines are watching you. Specifically they’re watching which flights and destinations you’re repeatedly searching for and will subsequently raise rates on you the next time they’re accessed. That is, unless they don’t know it’s you through your IP address. Erase your web history after every visit to flight comparison websites. Or better yet, use Google Chrome and do your ticket hunting incognito. Most guys shouldn’t have a problem making this a habit.

Flying luxuriously isn’t in most men’s’ budgets. Even if it is, guys usually just want to get there as cheaply as possible and can skip the perks in exchange for a better deal. With that said, airlines are privy to this market and don’t simply sit back and let themselves be taken for the lowest rate possible. Folks looking to fly frugally have to do some legwork to sacrifice the leg room, but it’s nothing any self-respecting guy can’t handle.

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