Average airline ticket prices rose about 5 percent in 2018, and when you factor in the cost of a hotel, car rental and other expenses, trips in 2019 (like your coveted honeymoon!) could become even more expensive. Now more than ever it's important to be smart and utilize a range of ways to save when making travel decisions. Savvy travelers learn what travel experts have discovered: How and when you book can make a big difference.
The Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) and Expedia Group collaborated for the fifth consecutive year to analyze a vast amount of data to evaluate trends in travel pricing worldwide, providing helpful tips for air travel and lodging savings in their 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook.
Here are valuable insights that will get you the best deal for your next trip.
1. Plan ahead. Booking your flight at least three weeks ahead can help you save a lot of money. Contrary to popular belief, economy fares tend to increase rather than decrease as the departure date gets closer.
2. Get the timing right. Surprisingly, which day you actually book a flight or hotel matters. According to the ARC report, you should wait until the weekend to book flights to save around 20 percent (or more), with the cheapest fares for domestic economy flights being booked on a Sunday to save as much as 36 percent. Interestingly, the best hotel prices were snapped up on Fridays. Once you're ready to book, make sure your trip starts on a Thursday or Friday.
3. Bundle up. One underrated way to save is to combine your bookings. For savings on all your travel costs, book your flight and hotel together, or your car rental and hotel at the same time. On many online travel sites, you can save an average of up to $600 by bundling. Or, lock in your flight a few months ahead and come back later to book the room along with it. With Expedia's flexible booking options, you can save on average around 43 percent off the hotel cost just by adding on to an existing reservation.
4. Go basic. Using the "basic economy fare" (which means you're just purchasing the seat, with no checked bags and potentially other limitations) can save you money, but be sure that's what you really want. If you later add a checked bag to your basic economy fare, the total cost of travel will likely exceed traditional economy fares (which may include checked bags in the price).
5. Go direct - when that serves your needs. The myth that non-stop flights cost more simply isn't true. Direct flights can actually save money. However, other factors may matter more to you, such as the timing of the flights and where the layover will be. Some travelers make the most of long layovers in a desired destination to add an interesting stop to their trip.
6. Use the app. You may find the most deeply discounted deals on big online travel sites by using their mobile app. Booking through the app can also win you extra perks like double the rewards points.
7. Let sites find the deals for you. Bookmarking the Deals page on travel sites like Expedia is key to planning ahead. Use these sites to stay on top of the best deals on flights, hotels, cruises and travel packages to save even more.
Traveling can be affordable and accessible, if you use the right tools. Knowing how to find and book the best flights and hotels can save not only money, but all that time researching the best deals. Have confidence that you're getting the best prices so you can actually sit back and enjoy your long-awaited honeymoon!