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Be flexible and shift travel dates.
Flexibility is the biggest key to savings. Airfares can vary several hundred dollars by days of the week or weekends within a month. Depart on days when demand is low such as a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Consider alternative airports and connecting flights
For example, if you plan to visit San Francisco, you might save by flying into San Jose or Oakland. Although non-stop is less stressful, it can cost hundreds more than taking a one-stop flight.
Enlist the help of an insured and bonded travel agent, who might be able to find special deals to which you otherwise wouldn’t have access. The general rule is that the more complicated or expensive the itinerary, the better it is to book through an agent.
Pack light when in flight
Nearly all airlines now charge to check in the first bag so make sure you read the fine print and understand the baggage fees before you book. Airlines also have hefty penalties for heavy baggage. Pack lighter – it will help minimize those fees.
Think about packaging your airline tickets with reservations for a hotel and a rental car. It pays to ask – many hotels are struggling right now. Consumers may have more luck this year negotiating better rates and extras.