Airfare is often the most expensive thing when planning a budget for traveling, but it doesn’t have to be. What if you could get cheaper flights and have more to spend on other parts of your trip? Here’s five mistakes to avoid so you can get the cheapest airfare possible the next time you travel.

Mistake: Set a Budget Without Researching Airfare

Setting a budget for your trip that includes airfare is like going to a restaurant with cash and not looking at their price range. How do you know you brought enough? This practice is very restricting.

It’s ok to set an overall budget, but you shouldn’t allocate a specific amount of funds to airfare before researching airfare trends to that location. You may say “I’m only going to spend $300 on airfare” then learn that’s practically impossible.

Here’s an example for you. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world, and domestic flights from ATL average about $339. That’s the type of information that helps you create your budget to make sure you don’t allot an amount that’s too small.

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Mistake: Must Travel on Certain Dates

Another restriction you may place on yourself that lessens the chance of getting a lower airfare is not being flexible with your travel dates. It is cheaper to fly on certain days during the week than others. Some search engines will alert you to cheaper airfare if you switch your travel dates and show you how much you’ll save.

In general, it’s cheaper to fly on a weekday rather than a weekend. If you can afford to extend or shorten your trip by a day or two, it could save some big bucks.

Also, consider being open to traveling during off-peak season. Peak season for most destinations tends to be more expensive that traveling there during off-peak season. Research when tourism is at its highest where you want to go and plan your trip another part of the year.

Mistake: Must Travel on a Certain Airline

Good experiences can make us loyal to certain brands, including airlines, but if you’re more worried about saving money on airfare, it’s good to take a look at the competition.

One trick to cheap flight airfares is comparing multiple airfares by doing a search that compares several airlines. You might even find a new airline that you like better.

Mistake: Must Depart from a Certain Airport

This may seem weird, but you can save big time if a larger airport is the origin for your round-trip airfare. The closest airport near you may not be the most cost effective for getting to your final destination.

For example, round trip flights from Phoenix to Rome are more expensive than round trip flights from Los Angeles to Rome. You can literally save hundreds of dollars by flying to Rome out of Los Angeles instead of Phoenix. The amount you save from that one switch easily pays for a quick flight to Los Angeles and gives you extra spending money on your trip.

The only downside is you’ll likely have multiple bookings on multiple airlines. In the end, you’ll have to decide if the extra travel is worth the savings.

Mistake: Forgetting Add-ons

It’s easy to get wrapped up in choosing the lowest price you see when you’re searching for airfare. Make sure you’re not going to end up paying more for things that aren’t included before purchasing your ticket.

One airline may include a checked bag with your airfare while another requires you to pay extra. You can also save on airlines that don’t automatically include a meal or allow you to pick a seat when booking. All these little costs add up so make sure you’re aware of all of them.

By avoiding mistakes, you can save quite a bit on airfare and spend it on something to make your trip more memorable. Chances are you’ll spend more time at your destination than in the air getting there, so why spend the majority of your trip budget before you even arrive?

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