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Travel experts have tips for booking summer travel:
1. Sign up for fare alerts from the airlines and fare-tracking websites. Some of those sales end quickly, so you may have to act fast.
2. Use flexible-date searches available on many airline websites including those of United, Delta, Southwest and JetBlue.
3. Look at one-way fares. Most airlines now sell those at half the price of a round trip. Because of the quirks of pricing and scheduling, you might save money or get a more convenient itinerary by flying one airline out and another one on the return leg.
4. Consider the budget carriers such as Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. American, United and sometimes Delta often match the discounters’ fares but without extra fees for things like carry-on bags. Flying overseas, check carriers like Norwegian Air Shuttle, Aer Lingus, Icelandair, Wow Air and XL Airways France.
5. But when booking on a budget airline, consider all of your needs. A cheaper fare might cost more in the long run if you pile up extra fees or have an overnight layover on an international trip.
6. Run the numbers on packages; you might save money booking a hotel and flight at the same time.
7. There is no automatic best day to buy airline tickets, but it helps to fly on a less-busy day. For many vacation destinations, it’s cheaper to fly on Tuesday and Wednesday than on the weekends. It could be the other way around on business routes.
8. Break up the band? Airlines typically offer a limited number of seats at the lowest price, and if you’re buying four or five seats together you could get quoted a higher fare. If you buy those tickets individually, you might get a few at the cheapest price. But first, check seat availability to make sure there is room on the plane for your whole gang.