From Bob Irish, retirement expert, Palm Beach Research Group: Yippee! The kids are back in school. The peak summer travel season is over. Fewer families are traveling. That’s good news for retirees…

Until mid-December (except over Thanksgiving), demand for travel drops. To fill empty seats, the airlines lower their fares. But it’s still easy to be overcharged. To get the most value for your travel dollar, it helps to know the “hacks”…

  • The Best Days to Fly

Fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. According to Rick Seaney, the founder of, you can save 10 to 40 percent compared to flying on Sunday, Monday, or Friday when more people are flying.

Google Flights allows you to search multiple airlines and has an easy-to-use calendar to determine whether flying a day or two earlier or later will save you money.

  • The Best Time to Book Your Flight

Airfare prices follow a typical pattern. Flight prices generally start off high when first offered for sale. They come down slowly. And a few weeks before departure, the fares start to increase. Once you’re inside two weeks to flight time, the prices start to really jump. looked at just under 3 million itineraries last year in its annual airfare study. Fifty-four days in advance was the average best time to buy a ticket. But that’s just an average. It’s a rule of thumb. Not a magic number.

Don’t want to spend your days checking prices? Download the Hopper app to your smartphone. Hopper analyzes big data to predict and analyze airfares. The app will notify you when airfares are at their predicted lowest points. (Neither American nor Southwest share data with Hopper, so you’ll have to check those yourself.)

  • The Worst Day to Buy a Ticket

Is there a best day to buy a ticket? Yes and no. There are just too many variables to conclude that there’s one best day to buy. But there is a worst day—Friday. Travelers paid on average 11% more when they bought on a Friday. One reason is business travelers tend to book on Fridays.

  • Let the Deals Come to You

You can let someone else do the work. Sign up for email alerts from your favorite airlines. You’ll be notified of special sales from your selected airport. Or sign up for alerts from It searches thousands of airfares (and hotels) for bargains. You’ll be notified when there’s a sale from your home airport. offers a similar service.

  • After You Buy

It’s not over until the day of departure. Register your flight details with Yapta. Its Fare IQ algorithm will continue to search airfares until you leave. You’ll be notified if it finds savings that make it worthwhile to pay the change fee and re-ticket. Its Room IQ does the same for hotel rates.

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