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Cheap flights: Best day to book, top sites and insider secrets

Cheap flights: Best day to book, top sites and insider secrets
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

There are plenty of ideas out there to make long-range travel cheaper and faster, such as Elon Musk's Hyperloop and supersonic airliners. Until those actually arrive, however, we're still stuck with regular air travel, which can take all day and put a serious dent in your bank account. I can't do anything about the former, but I can let you in on some tricks to get cheaper airfare on your next trip.

1. Buy on the right day

You've probably heard that the day of the week and time of day you buy tickets can make a difference. Well, you heard right, although no one can seem to agree on the day or time. That's why I have an entire article untangling the mystery. Click here to read it before you even think of pressing the "Check Out" button.

However, the short version is that if you see one airline offering a deal on Monday, make plans to buy your tickets on Tuesday. If there are no deals going on, buy on the weekend. Don't buy midweek if you can help it.

You can also head over to Kayak. When you run a search for tickets, you'll see a Price Trend box in the left-hand column. It tells you whether to buy or wait, and Kayak's confidence level in the forecast. If you want more information about how Kayak made its decision, you can click the box with the lowercase "i."

Just because you got a low ticket price doesn't mean it won't go lower. The good news is many airlines will refund you the difference if the price drops a certain amount after you buy. But who has time to look up ticket prices every day?

That's where Yapta can help. It keeps an eye on your tickets and alerts you when the price drops. Yapta claims annual savings of $334 per user, which means you can put that money toward a better hotel, a few nice dinners or just put it back in your bank account for life after your trip.

2. Fly on the right day

If you were to guess that most people going on a trip fly on Friday or Sunday, you'd be right. And, not surprisingly, those are the most expensive days to fly. Studies show that if you want to save, and your schedule is flexible enough, flying on Tuesday is going to net you the biggest savings, with the other days in the middle of the week offering savings as well.

The time of day you travel is also important. No one wants to fly at 4 a.m., but you can shave off big bucks from your ticket price if you do. The first flight of the day, red-eye flights or any flight that coincides with lunchtime or dinner are the best times to fly if you want to pay less.

Next page: Use the right sites

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