The primary reason travelers adjust their trip dates is to save money. However, most air travelers have little regard for flexible travel date searches because the majority of them must take their trips on fixed dates. Even when this is not the case, many travelers are not aware that flexible travel dates are available. You can, however, save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of flexible travel date options if your arrival and departure dates are not set in stone.
How it works
Taking advantage of this system begins with a flexible travel date search over travel sites on the Internet. Most travel sites offer a 30-day period within which you could take a flight, with options including departure and return flights. However, sites such as Orbitz, Allegiant, Hotwire, Cheaptickets, and Southwest offer options that run longer than 30 days and also include outgoing and returning flights, while Travelocity and Cheapair allow for a 330-day search.
Sites have various ways of processing flexible dates searches. For instance, some sites can guarantee vacant seats, but others cannot. Some conduct only a one-way search, while others will search for departures and returns. Still others show routes from the United States and Canada, while others do not. And finally, some charge a fee while others do not.
When you take advantage of flexible search options you can change your departure and return flight date at any time, although there may be additional charges for doing so. Keep in mind that typically the lowest air fares available charge the highest fees for changing flight dates, although often this is done on a case-by-case basis. Some airlines will take you aboard without a fee, while some airlines sell open-date tickets. Conditions such as routes and market trends may also factor in.
When you are faced with such an issue, it is best to contact your chosen airline. Remember that one-way tickets are more expensive than two-way or round-trip tickets, although these generalizations are subject to factors like which airline you are taking and to which part of the world you are traveling. For instance, short flights generally cost 50% less than the round-trip rate if you fly anywhere from the U.S.A. to Europe, Asia, or the Middle East.
Flexible travel dates aren’t ideal for everyone, especially business people and students who have a specific time frame in which they must travel. Flexible travel options work best for people who have more leeway in their schedules.