10 insider secrets to travel like a frequent flier (even if you aren’t)

We all want to see the world, but travel can be really expensive. When you add up the cost of flights, hotel rooms, restaurants and sight-seeing, the price tag for a vacation can be daunting. But if your wanderlust doesn’t quite match your budget, there are ways to trim the cost of your travels. Here are 10 money-saving travel hacks you should know before booking your next flight.

1. Book Domestic Flights 54 Days In Advance

Traveling within the U.S.? Book your ticket 54 days before your departure for the best-priced flight. While 54 days may seem,  it’s anything but, according to CheapAir.com. In an annual study, the company analyzed 1.3 billion airfares and 3 million trips to arrive at the money-saving magic number.

2. Remember The 24-Hour Window

Everyone has that moment of panic right before pushing “confirm purchase.” “What if I selected July 30 instead of June 30? What if a cheaper flight pops up tomorrow?” However, people forget most airlines have a 24-hour window during which you can cancel without paying a fee. Book your flight, continue to monitor prices, and simply cancel if a better rate comes onto your radar.

searching for flight photo
Getty Images | Daniel Berehulak

3. Subscribe To Scott’s Cheap Flights

PSA: Sign up for emails from Scott’s Cheap Flights as soon as possible! According to the website, “Scott searches for cheap flights all day every day because he has no life.” Once he stumbles upon a mistake fare or a great sale for international flights, he immediately emails out the tip. This past fall, I booked a roundtrip flight to Copenhagen for $406. On previous trips to the same destination, I paid $800 or more. Thank you, Scott!

4. Clear Your Cookies

We’re not talking about actual cookies, but side note: Anybody else obsessed with the Biscoff cookies on Delta flights? Free snacks aside, make sure to clear your cookies and search history after every session of scouring the internet for flights. If you don’t, your searches may actually return higher fares because prices change based on demand.

5. Follow Airlines On Social Media

Airlines often post discounts and promo codes on their Facebook and Twitter pages. You may not get a follow back, but your feed will fill with deals. JetBlue even has an entire Twitter feed devoted to cheap fares.

10 Money Saving Travel Hacks JetBlue Cheeps

6. Get Off Your Flight Mid-Trip

You can get back on, of course, but first, sneak in a bonus vacation with a free stopover. If you’re flying through an airline’s hub city, the airline will often offer deals allowing passengers to stay for a few extra days before jetting off to their final destination. Stop in Reykjavik with Icelandair, Tokyo with Japan Airlines, Helsinki with FinnAir or Bangkok with Thai Airways.

blue lagoon photo
Getty Images | Matt Cardy

7.  Book A Ticket Through A Foreign Airline’s Home-Country Website

Since a ticket’s point-of-a-sale location can affect price, booking a flight on an airline’s home-country website often leads to the cheapest options. Instead of searching on AirFrance.us, switch your location to AirFrance.fr. Just be prepared to do a little math when fare prices appear in the local currency.

8. Wear A “Luggage” Jacket To Beat Baggage Fees

Baggage fees are, in a word, rough. Instead of checking a bag, wear a “luggage” jacket in addition to toting your carry-on and personal item. The Stuffa One has two external zip pockets and 12 stuffable pockets concealed with lining capable of holding up to 11 pounds of clothing. Although not as aesthetically pleasing, Jaktogo is designed to be used as a bag in the airport and on your trip but converts into a jacket for boarding.

10 Money Saving Travel Hacks Stuffa One
Stuffa One

9. Book Airport Parking In Advance

If you plan on parking at the airport, then also plan on booking your parking ahead of time. You don’t want to be stuck paying the day-of cost, which can comes at a premium. Download AirportParkingReservations.com, an app that promises up to 70 perfect off compared to the cost of on-airport parking.

10. Get Into The Airport Lounge Even If Your Ticket Says Otherwise

Economy schonomy. Just because you’re not flying first or business class doesn’t mean the airport lounges are off limits. First, check your credit card perks. For example, American Express Platinum grants access into the Delta and Centurion lounges. Or, unbeknownst to many, airport lounges sell day passes. Purchase a pass online prior to your trip to knock off dollars from the normally steep price. Last but not least, gain access to over 1,000 airport lounges by snagging a Priority Pass ($99-$399).

airport lounge photo
Getty Images | Alexander Hassenstein