Finding the cheapest flights is easy, if you know how

Kristi King, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Knowing when to fly and when to buy can save big bucks on vacation.

Here’s a tip list of the best to save when booking a flight:

  • Search for your flight on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, these are when the least expensive flights are available. The exact best time is 3 p.m. Tuesday.
  • The cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Less popular flight times, such as 6 a.m. and the redeye, may offer better fares. Flight prices begin to get more expensive within six weeks of travel.
  • When looking for the least expensive flights, beware of added fees. Some airlines charge extra for everything from an aisle seat to a blanket and pillow. Spirit tends to have inexpensive flights, but the airline plans to start charging $100 fee for carry-on bags in early November.
  • Added fees can make it tough to comparison shop. NerdWallet compares fees across all major U.S. airlines. It can help travelers who may, for example, want to fly with a pet, check a bag or choose their own seats.
  • When searching for deals, it helps to know the going rate to avoid unrealistic expectations. Quoting Travelocity, ABC news travel editor Genevieve Shaw Brown says the average cost of a round-trip domestic ticket is $383. International flights average $880.
  • Search engines such as Kayak are helpful for comparison shopping. But Kayak doesn’t include data some airlines, such as Southwest.
  • Some airlines will announce special offers through their Twitter accounts. Other airlines offer discount deals only available at their individual websites.
  • Planning a vacation for the right time of the year can help cut costs. For example, the least expensive time to travel from Washington, D.C. to Sydney is March, June and August, according to Expedia’s Trend Tracker, which compares historical price and weather trends for different destinations.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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