Air travel is close to being cheaper than it’s ever been…
Despite increases in fees (like bag checking)… reductions in services (like in-flight meals)… and long security lines (thanks, TSA)… economist Mark Perry shows the inflation-adjusted (i.e., “real”) cost per mile has been in a long-term downtrend for decades.
So if you’re considering taking advantage of the low flight costs, follow the suggestions below to stretch your travel dollars even further. They come from PBRG’s resident retirement expert, Bob Irish…
Travel off peak. This may seem obvious, but very few people actually factor this into their travel decision-making. If you don’t have to go to Europe in summer, when flights are twice or three times as expensive, don’t do it! Find out about your desired destination’s “seasons” and work around the high season. Some places have two or more high and low seasons a year.
Kayak is a great price-comparison tool when looking for airfare. But once you find a flight you like, you should still check the rate on the airline’s site. Inexplicably, sometimes the airlines offer prices that don’t show up anywhere else.
Many airlines, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, Frontier, and United, guarantee their low prices. This means that if you buy a ticket through them and then find a cheaper flight somewhere else, they will compensate the difference. Sometimes, they will even add a travel voucher as well! Expedia and Priceline do the same for all their travel products if you find a better price within 24 hours.
CheapAir.com analyzed 1.5 billion fares and discovered that the cheapest time to buy flights is 47 days prior to departure. For international travel, the site indicates that timing depends on the destination. Visit the site to calculate the specific number of days for each region.