Travel Talk with Danielle ~ Top 5 Tips for Booking Flights

by Danielle Garrett of PlanIt Travel Designs for The Aha! Connection

Booking flights can be an overwhelming process!  Clients often ask me…when is the best time of year to book flights, are there better days during the week to book, are there cheaper days to fly, how do you know if you are getting a good price?

Below are some tips and tricks to help you get that vacation on the books!

  1. Fall is considered one of the best times of the year to book flights.  Thrifty Traveler recently deemed October and November as “booking season”.  I agree with this notion, as I have consistently seen a jump in flight prices after the holidays.  This is a time when family gathers and typically discusses future travel plans.  The airlines begin to jack up prices in anticipation of Spring Break and summer flight bookings.  Have those conversations now to secure the best prices!
  2. Tuesday has always been considered the cheapest day to book flights (the day when flight prices drop).  My travel DNA is still wired to check flights on Tuesdays, but this long standing tip no longer holds true.  I’ve seen flights drop in price each day of the week. The key is to start watching your flights as soon as possible and do not hesitate when the price drops!   Book it and remember you have until midnight the next day to cancel without penalty.  Don’t wait until the next day only to find the price has increased (I’ve seen it happen a million times).  TIP: Use Google Flights to search your flights. 
  3. Be flexible with your travel dates.  What is still true about days of the week is traveling on Tuesday, Wednesday and sometimes Saturday will typically lower the price.  TIP: most flights to Europe will depart at the end of the day, so consider leaving the day before your ideal day.  The price may be less and you still likely get part of the work day in.
  4. DO NOT book your flights with a 3rd party booking site (i.e. Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity).  Only use Google Flights as a search tool, not to book your flights.  Once you choose your flight, book directly with the airline (the price is almost always the same).  The most important reason to book with the airline is in case there is an issue with your flight (i.e. flight cancellation).  The airline will tell you to contact Expedia, Kayak, etc, but you will receive much better customer service and a more timely solution when you deal directly with the airline.
  5. My best tip relates to what you can do after your trip is booked.  One of the travel-related positives to come out Covid is your ability to request a credit voucher if the price drops after the first 24 hours.  If you catch the price drop in the first 24 hours (or up until midnight the day after booking), the big airlines (i.e. Delta, American, United) will issue you a refund.  After this initial time period those airlines will only issue you a credit voucher.  This is another reason to not wait for a price decrease only to be disappointed with a price spike.  If the price decreases, you can request a credit voucher for the difference.  It’s a great feeling to have a credit voucher when you go book your next flight!  I watch flights for all my client trips and I’ve had at least 10 credit vouchers issued over the last 2 years (some up to $600 per person).  Even better, the vouchers are good for at least one year!  

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