Summer travel season is almost here. Even with our current economic challenges, vacation getaways still rank at the top of our “most wanted” list. But with less discretionary income for vacation travel, most people are looking for ways to cut costs.

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Some airlines offer last-minute travel deals when booking 3 to 14 days before departure. These deals can be a great bargain, but you are also risking that no last-minute seats will be available.

Booking at least 21 days in advance of your departure date is one way to save. Usually, the more available seats on the flight the cheaper the ticket will be. Fares increase steadily as you get closer to your departure date.  This is illustrated in the chart below, with data provided by Orbitz.com, for the average airfare price based on advance purchase.

Advance Airfare Purchase Comparison Chart - RushMyPassport.com

You can always save on travel agent commissions by booking the trip yourself. Major airline ticket resellers offer discount fares. Booking and traveling on the right days can make a major difference in the cost of fares.  Here are some details to keep in mind when booking your own travel:

  • Book your flight on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday – the best fares are usually available at the beginning of the week.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates and you will find the cheapest available flights.
  • The cheapest days of the week to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Search for flights three days before and three days after your targeted travel dates and choose the travel dates that offer the best deals.

So if you’re planning a summer vacation, remember to plan ahead and book your air travel well in advance. And if this is your summer for international travel, make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row. More international travelers could mean longer delays in getting your passport and other necessary travel documents.