Use one of these money-saving tips to keep more money in your wallet when you fly

Airfare. It's one big cost that every vacationer wants to save on... but how? Finding flight deals is a combination of luck and timing; the airline industry's sales offerings can be frustrating to navigate but a few specific considerations can make a big difference.

If you’re looking to save on airfare while booking your next flight, here are seven tips that will help...

1. Be flexible with your travel dates

Flight prices generally go up during spring break, summer and winter holidays—as well as long weekends—because those are popular vacation periods. If you can be flexible with your travel dates and fly outside of peak seasons, you will see a much more affordable selection of flight options. Similarly, flying in the middle of the week, say on a Tuesday or Wednesday, tends to be more wallet-friendly than weekend journeys.

2. Monitor your flight prices

Hopper is an excellent app to help monitor and predict flight prices based on historical data. Within the app, you input your travel parameters and the app alerts you whether you should book now or wait for a better price. In my experience, flight prices seem to consistently rise as you get closer to your flight date. If you know exactly where and when you want to fly, and have little flexibility, book sooner rather than later.

3. Use incognito mode when searching for deals

Most airline and third-party booking websites monitor your web activity and try to adapt their prices to what they think you are willing to pay. To avoid fare hikes based on your personal search history, turn your web browser privacy settings to “incognito mode” while doing your research.

4. Consider flying in or out of a nearby airport

Can you fly into a neighbouring city or country and then commute by other means to your final destination? For us in B.C., we can consider hopping over the border to fly in and out of Bellingham or Seattle if there are cheaper flights to be found. However, remember to factor in transportation costs—or parking if you are leaving your vehicle behind—if you plan on flying in or out of a less central airport or different city.

5. Beware of baggage fees and other charges

I’ve been caught off guard by unexpected baggage fees. (The charge for my checked baggage on a flight from Toronto to Portugal was almost half the cost of the flight!)

As airline companies continue to cut costs to keep their prices competitive, many “free” amenities travellers often take for granted have been axed. It is very likely that checked bags, seat selection, and onboard meals may all come at a cost on your next flight. Be sure to factor in these additional costs when booking your trip. Sometimes, it’s a better deal to book a more expensive ticket... which includes these perks, rather than booking a cheaper seat and meeting with extra charges or up-sells.

6. Book a multi-day layover

If you can afford a longer vacation or want to break up a lengthy journey with an additional destination, consider booking a multi-day layover and visit two destinations for the price of one. When conducting your airfare search, use the “multi-city” search parameter and adjust your dates accordingly. If you’re lucky, the price to include a multi-day layover on your trip should not cost much more than your original plan.

For example, when flying from Vancouver, stop in Los Angeles en route to Sydney, or in South Korea on the way to Bangkok.

7. Use your points

We often hoard our loyalty points without ever using them. What are you waiting for? If you don’t think you have enough points for a round-trip journey, try spending on a one-way flight instead. However, beware of taxes! Many loyalty point redemptions are not completely free and come complete with extra fees. Always make sure the full cost is reasonable enough to warrant the use of your points.

Once your flight is booked (at a big savings hopefully), your vacation becomes a reality and you can start getting excited about your upcoming trip. Bon voyage!