If you are looking for a package deal that includes airfare, hotel and transportation you will almost always get a discount by booking them all together. If you are flexible with your travel dates, you will almost always be able to save money. When I search for flights, I always go directly to an airline's website instead of using websites like expedia.com and Travelocity.com. The reason being that you can view a weekly schedule on an airline's webpage. This makes it easy to view which days are cheaper to fly. It is almost always less expensive to travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. When viewing flight schedules, look at the total flying time and amount of time for each layover. If you are flying into a large city such as Atlanta, Los Angeles or Phoenix you will need ample time to get from one terminal to the next. Airlines will offer crazy low prices on flights but they will fool you by being 4 flights and over 24 hours of flying time. You want to select the flights that make the most sense. Some flights may connect through Mexico City before arriving in San Jose Del Cabo. When you are returning back into the United States you will go through customs. Make sure you have at least an hour layover. This process takes time and if you checked baggage, you have to claim it and recheck it after customs.
Set a budget! I have watched flights and know what a "good deal" is when searching for flights. The most I will pay is $500 per person for a round-trip ticket. I am flying from the east coast to the west coast so I may be paying more for tickets than you would (depending on where you are flying from). I am willing to drive up to 2 hours to reach nearby airports so I have a better selection of airlines. I am not loyal to one particular airline. The cheapest flight, may not always be the best! Are you planning on checking a bag? Check the airlines baggage fees on their websites. Some airlines charge $25 for the first checked bag. A flight that may have appeared to be the cheapest, may be the more expensive. For example, USAirways charges $25 per bag on domestic and international flights each way. That would be an additional $50. Delta Airlines does not charge for the first bag on international flights. Look at one-way tickets. Sometimes it may be less expensive to buy a one-way ticket on one airline and purchase a one-way ticket on another airline for your return.
Use the airlines to your advantage! Are you on vacation and want to stay a little bit longer? When I check-in at the airport for a flight, I always ask "Is the flight full? Do you need volunteers?" If an airline has oversold a flight, they will ask for volunteers. You must be flexible in your travel if you decide to volunteer. Doing this does have perks. You may be offered $400 or more towards a future flight on that airline. They may also give you vouchers for food. If there are no later outbound flights, they will pay for your hotel and get you scheduled for the next available flight. My husband and I have volunteered in San Jose Del Cabo and we were able to stay one more night in Cabo. The airline provided us transportation to and from the hotel, we stayed at an all-inclusive resort and we were given $400 credits each to use on a future flight.
Always check the weather. If there is any severe weather such as a snowstorm, hurricane or thunderstorm it will delay or even cancel flights. I always check the weather the day before departure. Recently we were leaving San Jose Del Cabo and traveling to South Carolina. There was a massive snowstorm along the east coast. When I looked online on the airline's website, they had issued a Travel Advisory. I contacted the airline and they were waiving all fees to change flights. We decided to stay a few more days and it cost us nothing to change our flights. Normally, it would have cost us $200 per ticket plus the difference in airfare to make a change.
Will you be flying with children? Rule #1: Always have Tylenol in your purse. Children may not appear sick or have an ear infections before departure. Once you takeoff, they will notice extreme pain in their ears. Cabin pressure and altitude affect your ears. If your child is screaming uncontrollably and embarrassing you, the captain will not land the plane. Rule #2: Bring snacks! Having something to snack on always entertains a child and makes the time pass. Rule #3: Bring a cup that has a lid. When the flight attendants serve drinks, you can ask them to fill your cup. This will help avoid spills. Rule #4: Bring a change of clothes and extra diapers (if needed) just in case! Rule#5: Download movies onto your ipad or iPhone. If you are planning to use Wi-Fi on the airplane, it is not strong enough to stream movies. The movies must have already been downloaded. Bring headphones. All devices can not be played aloud.
Do you pay off your credit cards monthly? You may want to consider applying for a credit card with your favorite airline. Most credit cards will give you 30,000 or more miles just for applying. Miles can be used to purchase round-trip airfare. Beware that these credit cards do charge a fee after the first year. I put a reminder in my calendar to cancel the credit card before 12 months.