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Tourism

Flights Are More Expensive Than Ever in 2024; Experts Share Tips To Save

According to a trend report from FCM Travel, the cost of a plane ticket is expected to rise 3 to 7% in 2024. That increase continues the year-over-year lift in airfare consumers have grown accustomed to since 2020.

However, the International Air Transport Association predicts a cooling down of fares in its December 2023 report. The report notes while passenger revenue is expected to rise this year, 2024 will, “mark the end of the dramatic year-on-year increases that have been characteristic of the recovery in 2021-2023.”

While relief is on the horizon, travelers will still feel the pinch on their wallets as they take to the skies. Airfare is one of the most significant ticket items in any travel budget. The cost makes the difference between which vacation a family takes in a given year. Experts point out, however, that it does not have to be this way.

Tried-and-true strategies like maintaining flexible travel dates and redeeming reward points will quickly decrease the cost of flights. These put more money back in travelers’ pockets to use as they see fit.

Have Flexible Travel Dates

The first line of defense to save on flights is flexible travel dates. For a weeklong vacation, many travelers start their search by looking at flights on Saturdays and Sundays. That can be a costly move.

Gavin Doyle, founder of Mickey Visit and bestselling author of Disneyland Secrets, warns travelers flights are generally more expensive on weekends, regardless of the time of year. “If you are able to add a day to your trip to leave on a Monday rather than a Sunday, for instance, or arrive on a Wednesday rather than a Thursday, you’ll be far better off avoiding the peak weekend travel fares.”

Experienced travelers know that the holiday season is an expensive time to fly. Families often have no choice but to vacation when kids are out of school, and parents can more easily take time off from work. Doyle urges passengers to avoid the busiest holiday periods but recognizes that it is unavoidable for some. In those instances, “the more flexible that your travel dates can be, the better off you’ll be,” he adds.

Once travel dates are in mind, tracking tools like Google Flights will locate the best deals, says Mikkel Woodruff, editor of Sometimes Home. Marjolein Dilven, founder of Spark Nomad, endorses flight comparison sites like Kayak and Skyscanner for reduced airfare costs.

Use Points and Rewards

One of the most valuable strategies to save on airfare is to redeem points earned through airline programs and credit cards. It’s how Alex Caspero, a freelance travel and food writer at Delish Knowledge, almost exclusively flies. Caspero provides one example: “When you qualify on Southwest, you designate someone to fly alongside you free for a minimum of a year, depending on when your program starts. My husband and I have each of our kids as companions, allowing us to fly to Orlando and the Los Angeles area to visit Disney for half the price.”

Credit cards offer similar benefits. Caspero continues, “If you plan on traveling often, check out the credit cards that offer a companion pass if you meet various spending minimums.” Travelers who sign up for travel credit cards or programs for an airline with a major hub at their home airport stand an easier chance of earning rewards.

Watch Out for Hidden Costs

When traveling during the holiday season or booking last-minute accommodations, expensive flights are unavoidable, travelers must consider other items in their vacation budget to trim the trip’s overall cost. Even within the flight itself, travelers save extra money by avoiding being nickel-and-diming by the airline.

Sarah Gilliland, founder of On The Road With Sarah and travel editor for Wealth of Geeks, urges families to consider the must-haves versus things to let go of without much grief. According to Gilliland, families must ask, “Do you really need to check a bag? Is it that important to have an assigned seat? Can you be flexible with your travel dates?”

Weighing the pros and cons is essential before booking a cheaper flight. Gilliland notes, “Saving money on flights sounds great until you consider that you occasionally have to give up something that is important to you, like having a free checked bag or having a seat assignment.” Gilliland also reminds travelers to factor in other intangible costs, like time, and hidden fees, like fuel, when considering cheaper airports further from home. These additional charges often eclipse the money saved on flights. In those instances, paying more for the original flight will cost less.


Carly Neil | Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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