By Samantha Errico
If you're looking to escape the cold this spring, Hopper has good news. The booking platform's Spring Break 2019 index reveals that flight prices are down 2.4 percent compared to last year.
However, when it comes to booking travel, there are lots of misconceptions about when to fly, what to buy, and where to go to get the best deals. Liana Corwin, Hopper's consumer travel expert, broke down the best booking strategies for consumers' spring travel and debunked some common myths:
*Non-stop flights are not always more expensive: Some bargain-hunting travelers will set their default booking filters to find one-stop flights in order to get a cheaper deal. However, adding a stop to your flight does not always lower the price. "One in every three searches will actually yield a price that is cheaper for non-stop than a one-stop," Corwin said.
Only the longest layovers may be worth the hassle: Compared to short layovers of less than two hours, booking a flight with a very long layover can save you some money. But more moderate layovers are rarely worth the extra time in the airport. "If you want to layover about 12 hours somewhere, that's going to save you 6 percent," Corwin explained. "But otherwise, the savings are so incremental ー 1 percent, 2 percent ー that it typically tends to not be worth it for people."
Basic economy may not be the best deal: Though flying basic economy may save you 5 percent on the cost of your ticket, that low price comes with a wide range of ever-changing restrictions. Be aware that for the lower cost of your flight, you may be charged extra for perks like carry-on bags and flexible seat assignments. The cost of those add-ons can get expensive ー especially for families who often need extra gear and flexibility. According to Corwin, those additions could easily end up costing more than the 5 percent you saved on the basic economy ticket.
A Saturday night stay could save you money: Pricing corresponds with demand, and travel demand is highest on the weekend as people look to leave for trips Friday after work and return Sunday afternoon. However, including a Saturday night stay in your trip can actually save you money in some regions. "If you are flying to Europe, for instance, if you include a Saturday night stay, you could save up to 40 percent on that ticket," Corwin explained.
Early bird doesn't always get the worm: Everyone knows that last-minute flights are more expensive, but it's also possible to book too early. Airlines post their flight options very "conservatively," according to Hopper. So, airline flights could be most expensive when they are first added to travel platforms about a year in advance. "Price volatility usually doesn't usually kick in until about at least five months before departure," Corwin said. "So if you book any time before then, you're likely to be paying a premium for being too early to the game."
For full interview click here.