How to Save Money on Airfare Home

How to Save Money on Airfare Home
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    If you go to college far from home, the only way to get back home is to fly.

    Driving is out of the question unless you have plenty of time to spare, something that is sorely lacking when your trip is over a short break such as Thanksgiving.


Airfare can certainly be expensive, but if you’re flexible and creative, then there are bargains available – you just need to know where to look and how to find deals.

Fly Thanksgiving Morning – In 2011, the busiest days to fly will be Friday, November 18 and the Monday and Tuesday following the holiday, Nov. 29 and 30. The slowest day will be on the holiday itself, therefore if you can get a flight before the crack of dawn, you can arrive home just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Plan your flight back early Sunday morning and you’ll avoid the worst crowds, giving you 2-3 days to spend with family and friends.

Travel Light – If you can’t carry it on, then don’t bring it with you. Most airlines allow for one carry-on plus a laptop or purse. That means you must stuff whatever you have in these two bags or risk paying $25 or more each way per bag, killer fees for the budget-minded traveler.

Check Website Specials – Travel consolidators such as may offer the lowest rates, but those rates are often just as low right on the airline’s website. If you need to fly from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Chicago and can leave the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving, you can fly for as little as $99 one way, plus fees. Return the following Tuesday and you can pay as little as $69, plus fees. Your total cost for this round-trip visit home is $207.

Research the Consolidators – Just in case, keep an eye on the consolidator websites to keep tabs of fairs. If a flight isn’t full at a very much off-peak hour, the airline may be willing to reduce the price of its open seats to fill capacity. Last minute booking may work to your advantage here.

Cash in Those Points – Not every credit card or miles club will black out important holidays. If your parents have the points, you may be able to snag a free ride home for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas break. Contact your airline for restrictions.

If you’re flying coast-to-coast, your best bet could be a red-eye flight that takes you from the west coast to the east coast overnight. Those flights often have seats available, with discounting possible even during major travel periods.

See Search for the Lowest Fares

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