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5 Ways to Save on Airfare for Your Family Vacation

by Susan Finch

Apr 20, 2018

Parinya Feungchan | Dreamstime.com


Figuring out how to take a family vacation is complicated enough without stalking the rise and fall of airfare. According to CheapAir.com’s 2017 Annual Airfare Study, the lowest fare for a given trip changed on average 71 times. So unless you have the time and resources to eyeball your coveted airfare some 71 times, you likely need a better strategy to save on airfare for your family vacation. Here’s how to do it without losing your mind.


Look at Nearby Airports

There’s no need to fly into the major hub at your destination if there’s another option within reasonable driving distance. For example, if you’re willing to fly into Seattle (SEA), you may find cheaper airfare and more flight options than flying into the airport in Portland, Ore. (PDX). Your family can either make a day of Seattle and drive to Portland the next day, or make the two-hour and 37-minute journey by rental car or Greyhound and save. And, in areas of the Midwest, small regional airports within an hour or two of Chicago could prove cheaper and offer free parking than tackling Chicago O’Hare International Airport.


Research Codeshares

Have you ever been on a flight and they reference two different airlines during the in-flight announcements? That’s because two airlines share the exact same flight. Aeromexico and Delta Air Lines are codeshare partners and sometimes partner up on the same flights to Mexico and beyond. Do a little research and you could find one option is significantly less expensive than the other, even though it’s the exact same airplane vessel. Then pat yourself on the back and try to figure out who bought the higher priced tickets on your flight.


Find Regional Carriers

Regional airlines generally house less than 100 seats and operate across regional areas. You might even find your big carrier like Delta actually outsources a flight to a smaller regional airline, but does not pass on the potential savings to you. Go straight to the source and look up regional airlines in your area to start cost comparing.

Father holding his baby daughter during flight on airplane going on vacations

© Romrodinka | Dreamstime.com


Choose Flexible Search Options

Flexible search options should always be part of your airfare pricing strategy, though it often goes overlooked in favor of sticking to a set schedule. If there’s any breathing room in your schedule or your child’s school will look the other way for a day or two, choose flexible search options when booking flights online so you can see how much less expensive it would be if you just left a day early or late.


Go Crazy with Reward Miles

Reward miles are out there and up for grabs if you just go and get them. Research travel credit card options that provide 40,000 to 50,000 miles and apply for a few on the same day. Once you go through the required spending to earn those points, put the credit cards aside and get your spouse or travel partner going on the same strategy. You’ll be surprised how many points you can rack up and cover your family’s entire airfare.


There’s more ways to travel than dropping a bundle on airfare, but it takes some time and patience to figure it out. Get your kids involved in the process and arm them with a mission to start saving.


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