How do You Get the Cheapest Airfare for Spring Break?
Each day we get requests for 5 night packages to the Caribbean or Mexico for under $1,000. There are 2 main components that impact pricing for Spring Break packages, your flight and your hotel. If you know your exact travel dates, you can focus on your airfare and book your hotel later once you find your best flight. So how do you find the cheapest airfare for Spring Break?
For most travelers, the two most important factors for booking airfare are flight times and cost. Determine your priorities, is it finding the cheapest flight or finding the best flight time. Time is money. Sometimes for an extra $40 you can travel non-stop spend your time on the beach instead of cramped up in multiple flights. If price is your priority, use the following tips to find the cheapest airfare for your Spring Break.
#1 Tip – For leisure travel, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the peak dates. Avoid these and you will save.
#2 Tip – Flights usually are not scheduled and made public until 8 months prior to your trip. Booking this far in advance requires paying in full for your airfare and does not always guarantee the best pricing. Over the last few years, we have learned the sweet spot for booking flights is between 4 and 5 months prior to your travel dates. For Spring Break this is typically October – early December. You can save hundreds of dollars for your travel package, simply be booking your flights during this period. You will be required to pay in full at the time of booking. Hotels also tend to offer early booking specials that expire at the end of October.
#3 Tip – For groups of 10 or more looking to travel together the booking options are different. In many cases the airfares will be slightly higher; however, airlines do not require payment in full at the time of booking and tend to be more flexible with name changes or substitutions. If you notice a drop in airfares, contact your booking agent, as sometimes airlines will reprice groups to a lower fare.
#4 Tip – Take advantage of the online booking engines. STSTravel.com booking engine provides the option of booking into group air blocks or scheduled flights. If there are group air options, there will be displayed first followed by the cheapest available scheduled flights. Be certain to check the flight schedules as the cheapest flights may involve lengthy connections with late arrivals or early departures to your vacation destination. For a little extra, you can gain the much desired extra time on the beach.
#5 Tip – Avoid costly change fees. Additionally, with the exception of Southwest, which I will explain later, airlines have increased their fees for changes of cancellations. With most airlines, you can use flight credit for up to 1 year subject to change fees. Purchasing a trip cancellation plan will help protect your travel investment. See my tips to avoiding airline change fees.
#6 Tip – Pay attention to extra charges. Spirit Airlines provides extremely low airfares, however, once you add in the fees for checked and carry-on luggage, you will find you are paying more. Southwest on the other hand, does not have baggage fees, so the airfare you see is what your total cost will be.
In conclusion, to get the best airfare, book your flights to travel Monday – Thursday, book in 90-120 days advance. Use online search engines or a travel agent. As a safe guard, purchasing trip cancellation insurance will protect your investment.