Few things are certain in life other than death and taxes – and ever-rising airfare. When you’re a businessperson working from home who doesn’t necessarily have a company credit card to offset the expenses of flying to meetings and conferences, the increasing cost of flights can be hard to stomach.
With a few tricks and a keen eye on a myriad of websites, you can save some money on that last-minute business trip.
Don’t overpay for business trip airfare.
Airline Frequent Flier Programs and Credit Cards
This one is probably a no-brainer. If you fly a lot, you need to enter your frequent flier number each and every time you book a ticket. If you forget, go back and add it to a reservation.
If you’re a credit card user, make those miles work extra hard for you. Those loyal to a particular airline might benefit from opening a credit card with one company; you typically receive at least one free flight in bonus miles from opening and using the card once. However, if you’re the type who likes to airline hop, look into a bank-owned credit card that offers airline miles as a reward.
Rather than checking the airlines’ websites day in and day out, subscribe to receive emails from your preferred airlines. You’re more likely to find deals and last-minute sales than from any other method.
If you’re a social media maven, follow airlines on Twitter and Facebook, as well. Savvy companies use these outlets for exclusive deals not offered elsewhere.
If you’re traveling to another city or state for a business meeting, you likely need somewhere to sleep. You might even need a mode of transportation, unless the city you’re traveling to has fantastic public options. So if you need all of these things, why not book them all at once and save money in the process? Purchase a flight to La Guardia, and then select one of the cheap hotels in New York to go along with it.
Pick Your Times Wisely
Following the basic laws of supply and demand, there are times when it’s going to be more expensive to fly. The summer can be bad as families go on vacations, and days around holidays are just misery. It’s also less expensive to fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday, followed by a Saturday. Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid peak times, but doing so could help your wallet tremendously.
Take Fees into Account
If airline A offers a fare of $250 and airline B offers a fare of $230, but tacks on $25 per checked suitcase, which is the better deal in the end? Airline A, of course, unless you’re doing carry-on only. The point is, check out the fees for each airline to make sure you’re not being nickel-and-dimed by a seemingly low fare.
Clear Your Browsing History
After you surf a site to check out airfares, your computer stores that information. When you return later that day to make the purchase, the fare seems to have increased drastically – what happened? When the travel website sees that you’re more than interested in purchasing a flight, it will bump up that price. Clear your web cache, or browsing history, and you’re more likely to find the original lower price.
Don’t let travel websites manipulate you into paying more for airfare.
Finding reasonable airfare can sometimes seem like winning the lottery. With a few tips and tricks up your sleeve, though, you just might find that it’s your lucky day a little more often.
Kelsey Castle is a freelance writer and editor who’s constantly looking for good deals on airfare to visit her family across the country. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism.
Photo courtesy of Xlibber, Flickr Creative Commons.