Thanks to baggage fees, food, blankets, and even a window seat, flying can be nearly impossible to afford these days. But don't give up, just get smarter.
I have some tools to help you save on your next trip. Whether it's Hawaii, Miami, or New York City, I'd take a vacation every month if my wallet would allow it. Well, don't just fantasize about taking a dream vacation because I've done the research to make it a reality.
The first step is to figure out the average cost to get to your destination. You can't get the best price if you don't know what's considered good.
Bing.com/travel and Hotwire.com/Trip-Watcher will help you figure out when to buy your airline tickets. Once you have established that, now it's time to actually search for the deals. I use Kayak.com to find the deals and set price alerts to get notified when those deals happen.
Kayak.com is an excellent tool in helping find deals on flights and hotels, too. You can set your alerts by price point and have Kayak email or text you on your smartphone when the rates change or meet your price point. You can set Kayak.com to notify you daily or weekly. Remember, the more flexible your dates, the better your chance of finding a screaming deal.
Now head over to coupon code sites like Retailmenot.com and do a search on the airline you are traveling on. I actually found a coupon code from Hawaiian Airlines for 5-percent off the fare that I used on one of my round trip tickets to Hawaii last year.
My next step to saving is to check out smaller airlines like Allegiant and Jet Blue. Also check out Southwest Airlines' website, Kayak.com does not have them as a listed airline, so you could be missing out on a great deal.
If you have credit cards, you may as well reap the benefits. A few years ago I received 35,000 reward points and 25-percent off two tickets just for signing up for the Bank of America Hawaiian Visa.
Last but not least, if you find an airline ticket that is a good price before purchasing it see what the baggage fees are. Often those fees can turn a deal into a dud.
Either way, using technology and the apps or websites I mentioned really help me to find the best deals.