If you really want a good deal, here's what you have to do.

Cailey Rizzo
December 19, 2017

Although there are lots of tips and tricks for saving on airfare, there is no money-saver quite like flexibility.

Travelers who are locked into rigid plans will almost always have to shell out more money than their freewheeling counterparts.

Related: Why You Should Only Ever Book a Flight for the Early Morning

As you consider your next destination, here are five ways that being flexibility can help you travel on a budget.

Time of year

Don’t take vacation when everybody else is taking vacation. The day before Thanksgiving, the days before Christmas, and spring break around Easter are often the most expensive times of year to book a flight.

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Flexible travelers should try to book flights in early November or early December, and January or February to save on airfare. Those looking to save on a getaway in the summer should aim to travel in early June or the middle of August.

Day of the week

Fridays and Sundays are among the most expensive days to fly, according to FareCompare. Those who can arrange plans to fly in the middle of the week will likely find lower airfares.

When searching for flights, you can also see which days are cheaper using tools like the fare calendar in Google Flights.

Time of day

Passengers who don’t mind sacrificing a few hours of sleep can often find the lowest prices of the day on red-eye flights. (Bonus: Airports are generally less crowded in the mornings, so security lines are faster.)

Routes

Making a detour instead of taking a direct route is often the cheapest option for passengers traveling through smaller airports. Because airlines operate on a spoke-and-hub model, flying to an out-of-the-way hub (and sacrificing a few hours) can result in less expensive airfare.

Loyalty

Price is a deciding factor for most airline passengers — except those with brand loyalty. Even though you may be trying to rack up frequent flier miles with a particular airline, shopping around may reveal that fares are low enough on another airline that the rewards for a single flight aren't worth the price difference.

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