If I had a $1 for every time I was asked this question, I swear, I would be writing this blog from my beach house in the Caribbean instead of Minnesota, sipping sumatra coffee trying to keep warm on this dreary November day! Somewhere along the line some travel guru or website made us believe that there was a magical formula to booking tickets. I’m not sure when or where it started but to be honest, I followed the sage advice of these gurus as if they would take me to the Promised Land. That was before travel was my career. Now that I’ve been in the business almost 10 years, day in and day out creating memorable vacation packages for people around the globe, I can tell you what I have learned. The magic formula is, well, bullshit.
Fact or Crap? Tuesday is the best day to buy airline tickets.
Crap. Last week as a recent example, I quoted a client a package on Monday and they had to talk it over before making a decision. I offered to lock in the rate for 24 hours while they consulted their calendars, babysitters and bank account, however, they declined. The next day (Tuesday) I received the email they were ready to book! Yay! Except, now the price had increased over $75/ticket. What the? “I thought Tuesdays were cheaper days to book”, questioned my client. Yeah, you and the rest of the world apparently.
Fact or Crap? You need a Saturday night stay in order to find the cheapest tickets.
Crap. Even if you do manage to lock in a cheaper fare, here’s the part most people never consider: Saturday nights are the most expensive nights to stay in a hotel, go to dinner and simply do anything out on the town. So the few bucks you may have saved on your airfare has been quickly washed away to finance your most expensive evening on your itinerary.
Fact or Crap? Nonstop flights are the most expensive.
Crap. Did you know it actually costs the airlines more money to run more than one flight to a destination? Imagine if you only had to employ one crew, one plane, one tank of gas, one stocked beverage cart. Behind the scenes what you don’t see is the taxes that are on a typical plane ticket. There is a departure tax and a landing tax built into each ticket. Now if it takes you two or three stops to get to your destination, that’s two or three more sets of taxes added to your ticket alone not to mention all the other expenses the airline incurs with the multiple segments, planes, crew, etc.
Of course there is an exception to every rule but for the most part, what I’ve learned is that there is no magical formula to getting the best airfare. It’s a matter of supply and demand. If everyone is online searching and booking airfare on Saturday morning and the planes begin to fill up, the price goes up. Not because it’s Saturday but because of the supply and demand. If you wait until the last minute to book your airfare, generally speaking, you will pay more than the one who planned a little further than a week in advance. By booking early you will get the best itinerary, seats and hopefully price. Most planes are overbooked these days so it’s foolish in my opinion to play Russian Roulette with the most important piece of your vacation - the one that determines IF you go at all! Bowing out of a trip because you couldn’t find good airfare is the lamest excuse. It just means you were too darn lazy to look sooner or enlist the help of a travel pro!
Here are a few of my favorite go tos to watch for or search for best days to travel ~ download them, save your preferred gateways and get ready for your next Divine Destination!