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Finding Cheaper Airline Tickets

Air tickets, passports, money and toy plane on table. High quality photo

Finding Cheaper Airline Tickets

As you can imagine, we spend a lot of time researching flight options, spanning international journeys from Reno to short-haul trips within both the U.S. and Europe. Through this experience, we’ve learned that there are many alternatives to use to get cheaper flights. Flexibility remains the linchpin for unlocking these savings. Below are some of the tricks we’ve discovered. We’re eager to hear your additions to this list!

  • Be flexible with dates: If you have some wiggle room with your travel plans, you’re already ahead of the game. Use flight search engines that offer a “flexible dates” feature, and you could save hundreds. Try flying mid-week, when fares are typically cheaper, or even on a holiday, when most people have already arrived at their destinations.
  • Consider alternate airports: Take a look at smaller airports in the area. You might find significantly cheaper flights, even when you factor in the cost of a bus or train ticket to your final destination. And you get the extra adventure!
  • Get alerts and use points: Sign up for fare alerts from various travel websites or apps. They’ll notify you when there’s a price drop for flights to your desired destination. We also recommend diving into the world of credit card points and frequent flyer miles. It’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you figure it out, you can save money on flights or other trip expenses. We’ve been able to get some free domestic flights by using our credit cards for Airbnbs. 
  • Be wary of budget airlines: Budget airlines can offer some jaw-droppingly low prices, but they usually make up for those low ticket costs with a ton of hidden fees — baggage, seat selection, even fees for printing your boarding pass at the airport. If you decide to go this route, read the fine print, pack light, and be prepared for a no-frills experience.
  • Book in incognito mode: Ever notice how flight prices seem to magically go up after you’ve searched the same route a couple of times? It’s not your imagination. Some travel websites track your visits and may increase prices based on your search history. A simple trick is to browse in incognito or private mode to keep those cookies from giving you away.
  • Use a professional: In an age when DIY seems to be the norm, the expertise of travel agents remains invaluable. They have privileged access to industry information, and since they earn commissions from airlines or hotels, their services usually come at no extra cost to you. When we started our adventure, we ran into some complications, so we reached out to Mandi Mendez of Business Leisure Travel Solutions and she booked our trips for us. She has also been a great resource since then, and incredibly patient with our questions.

We hope you find these tips useful, and we’d love to learn from your experience as well!

Jackie Shelton, APR, is a strategic communications veteran who, after 30 years still has a hard time focusing on one particular aspect, so she has stopped trying.

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