How to cut costs on travel including holiday flights

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

(WSPA) – If you’re planning an upcoming trip, right now is the “sweet spot” to take advantage of some hefty deals.

Not all of them apply to the holidays. But there are still ways to save on Thanksgiving and Christmas travel, if you know how the system works.

When you fly a lot like Anne Kayla from Greenville, you learn quickly how to score the low fares.

“I have set up a Google Flight tracker, I love this tool, I use it all the time,” she said.

She never imagined she would get a deal on December flights, but by setting up a Google Flight alert that goes right to her Gmail, she discovered a huge price drop from Atlanta to Chicago for early December.

“81 dollars round trip,” she said.

If that doesn’t make your draw job, checking out the deals this week with Southwest Airlines might. The 72 hour sale that began Tuesday morning only lasts through Thursday. There’s only one flight out of GSP in the sale, to Atlanta. But there are a number of flights out of Charlotte and Atlanta as cheap as $49.

“I have the Southwest app, I’ll go check it out. I have a family of three, that’s amazing,” said frequent flyer Ryan Ray.

We should note, the sale has restrictions.  It covers travel from Oct. 31 through Dec. 19 and from Jan. 3 through Feb. 14, and flights on Fridays and Sundays are excluded.

So to save on Christmas time travel, the airfare tracker app, Hopper, says the best time to buy those tickets is actually right now, early October. For, Thanksgiving, it’s just before Halloween.

Kayla, says, she’s noticed even the day of the week makes a difference.

“I’ve learned that Tuesday’s are a really good day to book. It seems that airlines will increase their prices over the weekend.”

If you just can’t find a good deal, consider flying on the actual holiday, thanksgiving, christmas day or New year’s day. Not only is it a huge savings, but it’s also a lot less chaotic.

Now, don’t forget to research extra costs. Cheap flights may mean large baggage fees.

Reserving economy parking for a small fee, may also pay off.

“So even if you pay the $5 fee, you end up parking for 2 days, it’s still less expensive, including the reservation fee, than it would be for you to go up to the next lot,” said Rosylin Weston with GSP.

You may not be as flexible as Kayla, but you’d be missing out if you took off, without taking a look at price trackers… that can keep your travel cost grounded.