Flexibility on travel plans saves you money – Colorado Springs Gazette

8 months ago Comments Off on Flexibility on travel plans saves you money – Colorado Springs Gazette
photo - Jane Young- It's Your Money
Jane Young- It’s Your Money 

The demand for travel in 2016 is strong. This has resulted in fewer deals and the need for extra planning if you want to save money.

Flexibility on when and where you travel can have a huge impact on costs. Try to avoid travel on major U.S. holidays and on major holidays in countries that you will be visiting. If possible, avoid peak season and travel during the shoulder seasons that fall in September, January and April. Generally, you can save money by flying in the middle of the week or on Saturday afternoon. Additionally, it’s usually cheaper to fly very early in the morning or late at night. Prices will vary based on supply and demand.

Booking your flight well in advance of your preferred departure date also can save money. After analyzing more than 3 million airline trips, CheapAir found that the best time to book domestic airfare is 54 days before your departure. Similarly, Expedia’s Air Travel Outlook for 2016 found the best time to buy a domestic ticket is 57 days before departure and the best time to buy a ticket from North America to Europe is 176 days before departure.

To find the most cost-effective combination of date and location, use online sites such as Kayak Explore. It allows you to interactively change the date to see how the airfare changes for cities throughout the United States or the world, all on one screen.

Flexibility with regard to your destination can result in significant savings – costs vary dramatically depending on the country or region you are visiting.

In 2016, some of the most expensive countries to visit include Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan, while some of the least expensive countries include Slovakia, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Morocco.

Information on the comparative travel costs in various countries is available on Numbeo.com/travel-prices and fareness.com. You can reduce travel costs by flying into smaller cities or less-popular cities. When traveling to Europe, consider flying into a less-popular city on a major airline and connect to cities within Europe on small, inexpensive regional carriers.

Once you have decided upon a date and destination, use airfare search sites such as Cheaptickets.com, Cheap Air.com and Expedia.com to shop and compare flights on different airlines. However, keep in mind that several airlines, including Southwest, are not listed on aggregation sites. Do research and check fares on major airlines with service to your destination. Check round-trip and one-way ticket prices. Some airlines have begun offering two one-way segments for less than a round-trip ticket.

Once you have selected a flight, try to book directly with the airline you will be using. The prices are usually comparable, and it will be a lot easier to reschedule if any problems arise.

Jane Young is a fee-only certified financial planner; she can be reached at Gazette@itsnotjustmoney.com.

Flexibility on travel plans saves you money – Colorado Springs Gazette

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