Contrary to popular belief, traveling doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, there’s more you can do to save yourself money other than waiting around for an airfare or hotel deal to come around.
Travelers make several mistakes when booking flights, according to airfare forecasting service Hopper, but there are easy ways to avoid them.
The biggest mistake? Booking too late. And, alternatively, booking too early.
“Don't expect to catch deals more than 150 days prior to takeoff,” writes Hopper’s Chief Data Scientist Patrick Surry. That said, it's even worse to wait too late. On average, booking too late can cost a consumer $139 on domestic trips and $529 on international trips, according to Hopper.
So how do you know when to book? Your best bet is using the best tools available to you. That includes Hopper (which has a 4.8 user rating in the App Store and a 4.4 user rating in Google Play), which offers push alerts when an airfare you're interested in drops in price.
And there are many other services that offer fare tracking, like Google Flights and KAYAK, so there's no excuse not to set an alert right now for the next trip — or trips — you plan to (or just dream about) taking in the next year.
Other mistakes Hopper highlights include not considering alternative airports or destinations, not being flexible on your dates, and being an impulse buyer. Hopper also suggests booking your hotel before your flight.
“Hotels tend to have very different revenue management strategies and systems, and this assumes that all hotels aren't great at managing their inventory, which isn't the case,” Surry wrote. “We found that on average, the best rates can be found 2-3 months in advance of your trip.”