Are you planning to take a flight for your next vacation?

From packing the right outfits to booking accommodation, you probably have a lot on your mind. Besides the normal vacation planning checklist, one thing you need to put extra care into is booking your flight.

There are a lot of mistakes people make when booking flights, and by avoiding these mistakes, you can save both money and time.

Check out this guide to discover the top flight booking mistakes to avoid for first-time flyers

1. Booking at the Wrong Time

One of the biggest mistakes people make when booking their flights is either booking it too early or booking it too late.

Typically, airlines set their initial prices higher, so booking more than 6 months in advance will usually result in you paying more. On the flipside, booking your flight at the last minute can also be costly.

So, what’s the magic number?

In general, you’ll get the best price if you book your flight 3 weeks to a couple of months in advance. However, this can depend on where you’re going and what time of year you’re booking your flights for.

For example, if you’re booking your flights around the holidays, then booking a few months ahead of time is usually best.

To figure out how far in advance you should book for a specific destination to get the price, we suggest heading to a flight booker site such as Google Flights. With Google Flights, you can play around with different booking dates to see which ones offer the best prices.

For example, let’s say you’re planning to fly into Rome, Italy. You can head to Google Flights and see what prices look like if you book that flight that’s three weeks out, three months out, or 6 months out.

Even if you’re not plugging in your exact dates, doing this can give you a better idea of when the best time to book is.

2. Buying Tickets on the Weekend

While you probably have more time to search for flights on the weekend, oftentimes, this is the worst time to book.

Most airlines know that people tend to book their flights over the weekend when they have more planning time. Therefore, they set their prices higher. This is why we suggest waiting to book Monday through Thursday.

In addition to avoiding booking on the weekend, we also suggest you avoid flying on the weekend. Airlines tend to jack up their prices for Friday and Sunday flights as they know that most people need to be back to work Monday morning.

So, if your schedule is flexible, we suggest avoiding flying in or flying back on a Friday or Sunday.

3. Avoiding Early Morning Flights

While waking up super early for a flight can be a bit of a pain, it can save you a ton of money.

According to a study by Skyscanner, flying at 5 am is the best if you want to save money. In addition to saving money, airports are usually calmer during the early morning hours. This means that finding airport transportation, waiting in security lines, and picking up an airport coffee will be a lot less stressful.

Plus, by jumping on an early flight, you’ll have more time to explore your destination.

4. Not Clearing Your Cookies When Searching Flights

While it’s never been officially confirmed, it’s widely believed that travel websites place cookies in your search that enable them to track your activity. When they know your activity, they can then increase airline flight prices every time you come back in to check.

For example, if you’ve been searching for flights from New York to London and you’ve frequently checked the fares over the last several weeks, then the site “knows” that you’re likely planning to book this trip. They then make the guess that you’re willing to pay a little more for them.

To avoid falling victim to these increasing prices, we suggest either clearing your cache before searching or browsing in incognito mode.

5. Plugging in Specific Travel Dates

Unless you have specific travel dates that you need to abide by, it’s a bad idea to search for flights using specific dates.

By being flexible with your departure and return dates, you can save a ton of money. As we mentioned earlier, flying on Fridays and Sundays will usually cost you more money.

So, take some time to play around with the dates before booking. You’ll likely be surprised at how much you can save.

6. Not Checking Alternate Airports

Typically, it’s cheapest and most convenient to fly into a city’s biggest airport. Because of this, most booking engines automatically default to the main airport when you’re searching for flights.

However, this isn’t always the case, which is why it’s important to check out alternate airports when browsing flights. For example, if you’re flying into New York City, you have JFK, La Guardia, and Newark to choose from.

To get these airports into the mix, make sure you select “all airports” when using a flight booker.

But, don’t forget to keep in mind the airport transportation options that are available to and from the airport. You may find that booking a flight to a smaller airport is cheaper. However, it may be that the smaller airport only offers expensive taxis to get into the city, while the main airport offers a very cheap metro line.

7. Not Tracking Flights

Last but not least, don’t forget to track flights. Whether you use Skyscanner, Kayak, or Google Flights to book, you’ll want to sign up for emails that alert you of price drops.

This way, you won’t need to constantly monitor the site to get the best deal.

Flight Booking Mistakes: Are You Ready to Book?

Now that you know about these flight booking mistakes, it’s time to book your flight! By putting these tips into action, you could save hundreds of dollars on your next flight.

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more travel-related tips and hacks.

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