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Flying on a Budget

Today marks what would be Amelia Earhart’s 122nd birthday! She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and was a pioneer for aviation and women’s rights. Today, there are more than 7,000 flights in the air at any given time! When Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic, it took 14 hours, 56 minutes. We now travel in half that time! All of these enhancements have made flying better, but it can be expensive at times, especially during the summer and holidays. You don’t want your trip to send you spiraling into credit card debt. Here are some tips and tricks for flying on a budget.

Avoid credit card debt by flying on a budget.

Avoid credit card debt by flying on a budget.

1. Buying Early = Buying Cheap

Flying on a budget means knowing how much you can and should spend on plane tickets. Average plane tickets cost $379.00. Prices increase within the first three weeks before departure. We advise booking your flights within three months to 30 days from departure. We also recommend using different travel sites to find better prices among airlines.

Using Google Flights or Kayak.com provides you with an algorithm that uses historical prices to predict drops or increases in ticket value. They may not be exact, but they are good indicators. The last thing you want to do is spend hundreds of dollars more on a flight that would’ve cost you less a month in advance.

2. Budget, Budget, Budget

This is our most crucial credit counseling tip. If you don’t budget, you are making a recipe for disaster. Budgeting keeps you realistic about what you can and can’t afford. This is important for your ability to navigate airline travel options. You must be able to see what ticket prices you can afford in the first place. If you can’t afford certain airlines prices, find one that will fit your budget. Otherwise, you’ll resort to relying on credit cards.

 3. Travel Light

One of the biggest reasons for the high price of flying is baggage fees. More check-ins and carry-ons mean more charges for them. Using fewer bags means you will save money. Traveling with fewer bags has other benefits. You have less time to wait for your bags, spend less time checking them through security and you lighten the weight you have to carry! If you are truly unable to use less luggage, use airlines that don’t charge for checked luggage.

4. Use Reward Points

ACCC doesn’t recommend using credit cards for your vacation unless of course, you need to reserve a hotel or rent a car. But when flying, we do recommend using your rewards points to cover your costs of the flight. Many companies offer rewards programs where you earn points for purchases you make on your credit card. These points act as cash and can be put towards specific things. The more points you have, the more money you have to put towards your flight. Be patient, because it takes time to build up enough points on your card to use.

Conclusion on Flying on a Budget

Flying on a budget can be as taxing as traveling through the air itself. Booking flights, asking for time off and taking care of your priorities aren’t easy. Following the steps above will definitely make things more manageable. At the end of the day, that is what our goal is. We hope you’ll be better prepared for your travels going forward. Happy flying!

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Sign up for a free credit counseling session today! 


Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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