Avoid Sky-High Rates When You Take Flight

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Surviving in a tough economy takes discipline and forethought, and it pushes entrepreneurs to find creative ways to cut expenses even as they work to grow their business. For example, cutting back on business travel just makes sense. Why spend all that money when e-mail, Skype and even instant messages can get the job done?

Still, for those times when you can’t avoid business travel, it pays to apply these tips when looking for the most favorable airfares.

A mix of long-range planning and last-minute flexibility can pay big dividends. Going to a conference? Buying a ticket six to eight weeks ahead can save you up to 50% off the fare compared with buying a ticket one week before you leave town.

But what happens if you need to fly at the last minute? You can still get deals because airlines hate to lose money when they fly with empty seats. This translates into last-minute bargains for travel-savvy entrepreneurs. Most major airlines have last-minute airfare and travel-deal pages on their websites. Be sure to check them before you pay full freight.

Also, check your destination city for alternate airports. Larger cities often have more than one airport, and the savings can be significant. Finally, it costs less to fly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and you’ll also save some bucks by flying midday instead of booking the first — or last — plane of the day.

Adapted from “Air Travel Tips for the Small Business Budget” by Pedro Hernandez at Small Business Computing.