Unless you're lucky enough to have a family member who's a pilot or otherwise employed by an airline, chances are you're resigned to spending a mint anytime you have to fly with your family. Steadily rising fuel prices have put airlines in a tough corner in recent years, causing ticket prices to fluctuate wildly. Charges for checking baggage and other fees have some travelers wondering how long it'll be until the on-board bathrooms become coin-operated (don't get any ideas, major airlines)!
Fortunately for budget-weary travelers, there are a few handy tricks that savvy airfare connoisseurs employ to avoid paying top dollar for flights. A few of the most commonly known tidbits include booking fares between seven and 21 days prior to your trip, when they're often the cheapest. Also, flying on Wednesdays is a popular way to save because it's typically the least-traveled day of the week, so ticket prices are usually slightly lower. Saving cash can also be as simple as being flexible in your travel dates. For example, when possible, search for alternate itineraries that have you in the air on days other than Friday, Sunday or Monday, which tend to be the most expensive. In addition, if you're looking for a last-minute weekend getaway, be sure to check prices on the Tuesday prior, because that's when many airlines announce sales for later the same week or weekend. If holiday travel is a particular concern, try to fly on the day itself. Flights are substantially cheaper on Thanksgiving and Christmas, for example, than the weeks beforehand.
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to save, most of which only take some time and patience. Read on for more information about how to bring air travel more in line with your family's budgetary constraints.