Smart Spending: How to Grab Cheap Airfare

FILE - This Dec. 21, 2012 file photo shows travelers walking to a ticketing desk at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. For many passengers, air travel is only about finding the cheapest fare. But as airlines offer a proliferating list of add-on services, from early boarding to premium seating and baggage fees, the ability to comparison-shop for the lowest total fare is eroding. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
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RENO, Nev. -- Spring break may be a couple of months a way, but now is a good time to start planning a trip. According to Cheap Air Flights, booking 49 days before your departure for domestic flights and 80 days for international flights are the best times. There are a few ways to help you grab the best deals.

Economic conditions are improving according to AAA, which means more people are putting aside time and money for leisure.

"We definitely have noticed more and more people are willing to travel whether it's for spring break or this summer or in the fall," Barbara Gardner, Quail Travel (formerly Travel at Caughlin Ranch) Travel Consultant said.

Spring break is during a peak traveling time, which means parents have time off and kids are out of school, so there is a higher demand for these flights.

The question on every traveler's mind is: when is the best time to get the best value on airfare?

"Waiting til the last minute is the best way to get the best deal is not always the case," Gardner. "Sometimes there may be specials that do occur on certain days of the week, but generally during the peak travel times, it's a high demand time so the flights tend to be pretty booked."

Students in traditional schools have the the week of April 8 off for Easter, so people tend to want travel the weekend before and the weekend after.

Airfares are driven by seat availability during peak traveling times so the best way to get low fares is to be flexible. Departing and arriving on a weekday is usually cheaper than on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

"You can always book early and then get an adjustment if the rates decrease," Gardner said.

Your best bet? Travel during the shoulder season.

"There are other times of the year where you can almost anticipate lower airfares and that just generally when the kids are in school," she said.

Travel experts also suggest research baggage fees and to check fares several times a day because airlines are unpredictable.