There are so many places to travel and see in our world. If you like to travel, your email inbox is probably flooded with flight sales, discounts, and urgent emails listing ‘Book Now’. You may also have some Google retargeting going on from your computer’s search results. The messages may have the description of “Book your trip to Ireland now”, or other areas you have used your browser to search.
Whether it’s our children’s school schedule, or maybe you work retail and have to alternate your holidays and busy times during the year where you manage in-store promotion, or perhaps you’re just juggling other co-workers schedules; many of us have certain schedules we need to accommodate for vacations during the year.
Here are some top questions you may ask before planning a trip to consider when taking that special time for a vacation.
When is the best time to book a flight throughout the year?
Tuesdays seem to be the best day of the week to book your travel for the best deal. Some websites also have the inside travel scoop, targeting Tuesdays around 3 p.m eastern time as the best time to buy.
Book the flight 4 – 7 weeks in advance for the best deal. This will vary depending on the website you are booking through. This brings up another point: check out low-cost airline prices separately.
How do I build a relationship with an airline for discounts on flights?
There are a few ways to build a relationship with an airline. Most airlines have credit cards that will accumulate points with purchases. They often have a few flight tickets (decided by a point system) tied to the sign-up. However, the catch here is there is probably a yearly fee, interest is high on the card, and you may have to spend a certain amount on the card before you actually get to use the credits, points or miles.
Remember, there are member points that you can sign up for without strings attached. You basically sign on to be a value member. For example, Southwest has the Rapids Rewards Membership.
Should I sign up for the flight price alerts?
This is always a good idea if you like to travel. That way you’re notified right away if there is a sale, promotion, or your particular destination is running a flight special.
Another tip to consider is jumping on an early or late-night flight, possibly even a red-eye. These are usually the most conservative for price options.
Is it better to book through an actual airline or through a travel site like Expedia or Orbiz’s?
This is a tricky question as there are pros and cons with both.
The pros using a booking site include:
- Booking with a travel site, you’re able to have multiple options for flights using different airlines. This might be resourceful if you have not signed up for any loyalty member points, or your loyalty member points are through that particular travel site.
- You will also have more options to choose a non-stop flight versus having to deal with layovers.
- The prices are also grouped together with discounts on hotels and rental cars.
The cons of using a booking site include:
- There might be fees associated with changing booking if needed
- The insurance for options such as flights and rental cars is cheaper but usually includes a third-party agency that might be more difficult to get answers when you need them.
- You will have to research an additional step for the luggage requirements on the airlines that you’ve decided to book. There may be additional fees associated.
Using an actual airline to book your trip includes some pros and cons too. Some of the pros include:
- You’re probably a loyalty member and will receive points with your travel purchase. If you are a member of some airlines you may even receive discounts on checked baggage, or better seat options to choose from.
- You may choose to fly a certain airline because your carryon item is free and doesn’t result in extra fees.
- You may like doing multi-city planning when it comes to your trip. This is easier through an actually airline website.
- Most airlines also have the option to include hotels or adding a rental car to your trip.
- Most airlines offer Flight Insurance, which is most likely third-party, but the airline will know more information and give you more direction if you need to use it.
Some of the cons:
- You might pay a little more going through the airline.
- You will probably have less options for times to fly.
Overall, there is a lot to consider when planning your trip. Most importantly, you will want to look at the ease of booking and your customer service experience. You will find your favorite way to book and probably won’t stray too far from it for future vacations and bookings.