Airfare can be a major drain on your wallet, especially if you’re traveling around the holidays with the family in tow.
Even as fuel prices surge and it becomes more expensive to fly, there are ways to save. Here are a few tips to help you find affordable airfare as you start planning your winter getaway.
Flight prices can be unpredictable. The same flight pattern might cost $200 more if you book your return on a Saturday rather than a Friday.
That variability can be mind-boggling. But instead of constantly checking prices for your desired flights, try using online tools that search across multiple airlines for the best deals.
Set price alerts with a flight price tracker like Google Flights, Kayak, or another search engine. Price alerts allow you to monitor prices for flights on specific dates. You can also set alerts for flexible dates to receive notifications whenever flights to your desired destination are cheaper than usual.
Keep in mind that flights from Southwest Airlines, a popular airline with travelers on a budget, don’t appear in flight search engines such as Google Flights. You will need to check directly on Southwest’s website to find the best deals for your dates and destinations.
If your travel dates or destinations are flexible, you can subscribe to services that scour the internet for the cheapest airfare. Subscriptions like Scott’s Cheap Flights and Dollar Flight Club send email alerts any time a hot flight deal becomes available from your home airport.
Many of these services charge a subscription fee; some offer a free version that provides fewer features and deals.
Before you purchase an airfare subscription, shop around to compare features and decide if it’s worth the premium price tag. If you travel often, the cost of a yearly subscription could be worth it if it helps you save hundreds of dollars on airfare. If you’re only planning a single, domestic flight, you might not get as much value from a paid airfare deal subscription.
Flexibility pays when it comes to booking affordable airfare—especially around the holidays. If you’re willing to travel on the holiday (for example, booking a flight on Thanksgiving Day), you’ll likely find cheaper airfare than you will on the days immediately before or after.
If your schedule allows, you can also sometimes save by booking last-minute flights. You can also potentially save money by flying out of a different airport—for example, booking flights out of Chicago or Madison instead of Milwaukee. Just remember to factor in the cost of transportation if you decide to book from a different airport.
If your travel destination requires the use of foreign currency*, make WaterStone Bank your one stop shop. Visit our Franklin/Hales Corners, Oak Creek/27th Street, Wauwatosa/State Street, or Waukesha branches to take advantage of this service. Best of all, we’ll accept exchanges of unused foreign currency for United States dollars. Contact Customer Service at 414.761.1000 (toll-free at 888.686.7272) for more information and to learn about the 50-plus currencies we offer for exchange.
*WaterStone Bank (WSB) offers foreign currency exchange services of more than 50 currencies at four WSB locations: Franklin/Hales Corners, Oak Creek/27th Street, Wauwatosa/State Street, and Waukesha. Fees will be waived for Student, MVP and HERO program customers up to two times annually. The currency exchange rate used at WSB may differ than the daily rate of exchange and are subject to daily fluctuations. A $20.00 fee is assessed for orders and return orders; fee is subject to change at any time. Currency orders placed and not picked up within 10 business days are subject to a return fee and any depreciation. Please see a WSB banker for more details.
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