LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The kids are out of school. So you might be looking to get out of town. But before you book a flight for your summer vacation, 13 Action News has 5 tips to help you save money.
"We're really looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the sun," says mom Kim Nelson.
She and her family are heading to St. Martin this summer. It's their first time visiting the Caribbean and the kids can't wait.
"I think they're looking forward to the beach most and snorkeling and parasailing and doing some other activities. They are super excited," says Kim.
What's not exciting is the price tag. The cost of any family vacation adds up quickly. So 13 Action News wants to help you avoid some common mistakes for booking a flight.
Number 1. Don't use major search engines.
"Some of the budget careers, Southwest is considered a budget carrier, they will not show up on certain search engines," says Travel Advisor Abby Lagman with A Destination Travel in Henderson.
She says if you have a favorite budget airline, go directly to their site for airfare information.
Number 2. The cheapest fare isn't always a real bargain.
United, American and Delta Airlines all offer what's called basic economy fare. It's more affordable than standard economy class. But beware!
"Basic economy, what that is, is a non-refundable fare. Non-changeable. Doesn't include any luggage, including carry-on," says Lagman.
She says seat assignments are also not included. So if you're traveling with children, there's no guarantee you'll sit next to each other.
"So if you want to add any of those things to the ticket, there's a fee," says Lagman.
Number 3. Consider flying out from another airport.
McCarran is convenient, but Lagman says traveling to another state may help keep some money in your pocket.
"A lot of flights, if you originated from L.A. which is a big gateway on the west coast, the flights are dramatically less expensive," says Lagman.
Number 4. Consider when to book.
You can buy plane tickets nearly one year in advance. But the initial price can be steep. Lagman suggests booking about six months before departure. The day you buy your ticket is also important.
"Tuesdays, Wednesdays seem to be the best time," says Lagman.
Saturdays and Sundays tend to offer fewer deals.
Number 5. Flight time is key.
Some of the cheapest fares are red eye flights. But you don't have to fly overnight to save. Consider flying between 4 and 8 in the morning.
"Sometimes an extra hour, two hours of leaving earlier, is worth $200-$300 a ticket," says Lagman.
Of course she says travel agents can also save you some cash.
"We have consolidators, we have partners that have fares that aren't available to the public. So a lot of people have this misconception that it's more expensive to go to a travel advisory," says Lagman.
As for Kim, she prefers to fly Southwest and saves as a rewards member.
"If Southwest doesn't go to where we're traveling, I start looking at individual airline sites. So American, United, JetBlue to see what my options are. See which is the least expensive," says Kim.