Saving money when flying has become something of a creed for frequent travelers. For anyone not flying on a weekly basis, however, sometimes we just want to save ourselves a headache and opt for peace of mind wherever available. The balance between trouble-free travel options and money-saving alternatives is one that can take years to perfect. And even then, finding the best ways to save money, time, and your sanity can be unique to the individual traveler. Let’s take a quick look at some of the key ways for you to improve your flying experience.
1 – Get the Best Seat for the Best Price
Airlines have gouged out every little thing they can charge for, including offering the best seating to priority customers. By checking the airline’s website for available seats as much as 72 hours in advance, you can score the best seats for a steal. Seats that had been reserved early in the booking process for ticket holders who have since upgraded or cancelled are now open for reservation by you.
2 – Sign Up for TSA Pre-Check
Offering this service is the Transportation Safety Administration’s best decision in recent memory. At over 180 U.S. airports, you can save loads of time and frustration. At last report, the TSA claims that 95% of Pre-Check passengers waited just five minutes or less! Compare that with your last airport security experience. Some of the ways they cut down on the time and hassle of the full security screening include allowing Pre-Check passengers to leave on their shoes, jacket, and belt. You are also not required to remove laptops or water bottles from carry-on bags, which are required for standard security screenings. Enrollment is easy and costs just $85 for five years – well worth it if you will be frequently flying. To sign up, visit this site.
3 – Make the Most of Downtime
A well-kept secret among frequent fliers is the club lounges. Most airlines will sell a day pass, even if you’re not travelling with them. There are also international clubs such as Plaza Premium Lounge, No. 1 Lounge, and Club Airport Lounge. For usually around $50 or less, according to Consumer Reports, you get exclusive access to these upscale lounges, which provide free food, beverages, internet access, showers, and concierge services to help with travel plans. Another way in is with your airline branded credit card, many of which include club access as a standard benefit. By capitalizing on your down time in the airport, not only will you be able to catch up on work in a private environment, but you will also save your sanity when you relax and de-stress from the hectic atmosphere of the airport.
4 – Cut Out Stress
Anyone who has ever misread their flight details and ended up at the wrong gate, had an airline lose a bag, or had to wait out delays in crowded terminals can tell you about the stress that can come with traveling. Savvy travelers know how to avoid much of the stress that comes inherently with air travel, and how to manage it when it does arise. One thing you can do is to limit the time spent waiting in line to board. By jumping in line as soon as the first section begins boarding, you may actually set yourself up for what feels like an even longer wait. If you can calmly distract yourself with a book or magazine, and then patiently approach the line when your section is called, boarding will feel like a breeze. You’d be surprised what kinds of little tricks you can figure out if you just relax your mind and tell yourself you are going to get through the day.
5 – Purchase Travel Insurance
Travel insurance can be used to cover costs for airfare and hotels in the event of cancellation or postponement of a flight, due to inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances like medical emergencies or accidents. Travel insurance coverage can also apply to costs from lost or stolen items and emergency medical care. Most even provide a death benefit. Like club lounge access, travel insurance is also offered as a credit card perk. As the old adage goes, expect the unexpected. If you want to save your wallet and peace of mind in the event of a disaster or crisis, insure your investment in travel arrangements.